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Optic-Kleer Franchisee Case Study Feed

Last updated: 02-July-2022

Q&A with Mike Cruz – Optic-Kleer Franchisee since 2012 -


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Mike has been a franchisee with Optic-Kleer since 2012. He operates his franchise in Lincolnshire, in and around the areas of Boston, Spalding, Sleaford and Skegness.

Mike has had many years of experience repairing windscreens, as previously he worked for another windscreen repair company.

How did you hear about Optic-Kleer?

I heard about Optic-Kleer, whilst working for another windscreen repair company. I knew David as one of my competitors. He approached me with an opportunity to start as a franchisee and I jumped at the opportunity to be with a better company.

What was the joining process like?

I had an interview and David spoke to me about the ins and outs, the admin side and the accounting side, and we took it from there.

How did you find setting up the company and what support did you get?

One of the biggest advantages with Optic-Kleer is that I got fantastic support, which I am still getting. This is totally different from the other company I worked for.

Did Optic-Kleer help you set up the accounting and legal side of your business?

Yes, as part of the training, I was taken through step by step from setting up my registered limited company to VAT registration.

What was the training like?

The training lasted 5 days. I gathered all the knowledge, not only to carry out a professional repair but also how to run a successful business with all the support I need.

What experience do you think you need?

I don't believe you really need any experience. To become a franchisee, you don't have to already be in the trade as Optic-Kleer will give you that training. However, I think it's useful to have good face-to-face communication skills. Motivation is also important, because you are running your own business.

What do you know about the British Franchise Association?

I think it's good that Optic-Kleer is a member of this association. It shows quality and assurance of being with a bonafide company.

What do you do day-to-day?

The way I run my franchise, it is quite varied. Not only do I see customers on supermarket car parks, I work for farmers and commercial sectors. I work on fleets of lorries, which makes the business different. I also do house calls, as well as going to a fixed site. I set up all my equipment in a supermarket car park and just wait for the customers to arrive. My day is very diverse, you can have two or three customers in one go or they can be more spread out. Not everyday is the same.

What is Head Office like?

It is a pleasant experience working for Optic-Kleer. We know that they are always on the end of phone. You can call David and he is very helpful and he always has time for you. We have a fully staffed office who are there to support us, which is a minimal cost but very beneficial.

Do you think it’s value for money?

With Optic-Kleer we have very low overheads, which is great when you are self-employed. The management fees are very low and the software we use to order our solutions is straightforward.

Do you have to hold much stock?

The good thing about this franchise is that the overheads are not a big expense. The stock we hold, that is, consumables, canopy and signs, is minimal.

Where do you get your business from?

The way the Optic-Kleer franchise works is, we turn up at a supermarket and set up our equipment. Having a canopy, signs and a vehicle draws in the customers. There is no cold calling or leaflet drops. There are no pressure sales, you just wait for the customer to come to you. We also have the Optic-Kleer website, which lets customers know where we are working.

Do you feel satisfied in your work?

I have worked in this field before and obviously it is important to keep customers happy. I like to be professional and treat people how I would like to be treated. You are representing Optic-Kleer as well as your own business. I feel very satisfied in my work as people are very nice and it is rewarding to be appreciated after completing a successful repair.

How long have you been with Optic-Kleer?

I have been with Optic-Kleer since early 2012 and it has gone very quickly. I am looking forward to the future with all the new developments coming along digitally, and I think it can only get better. After 4 years I have re-branded and bought a new van, ready for the next few years.

Are you excited about the future of Optic-Kleer?

What I have seen in what David and Sarah Overton have planned for the future, by developing the digital software, looks great.


An optimistic Optic-Kleer future -


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Julian Rolfe is no stranger to running his own business. The avid sports fan and savvy businessman, who sold his share of a previous business two years ago, acquired the Oxfordshire Optic-Kleer territory in early 2021. As someone who has real passion for business, but equally loves spending time with his family, the work-life balance available with the Optic-Kleer franchise was exactly what Julian had been looking for.

“I went straight into employment out of school. Working my way up, I was with the same contract packing services company for just shy of 30 years. I started out as a warehouse operative, was promoted to a machine operator and after four years I moved out of the warehouse and into the office. It was great to have experience from both sides of the company. After some time, I was promoted to commercial manager which was a great achievement.

“I ended up becoming general manager for the site in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. In 2007, the business was destroyed by a fire and I was made redundant in the aftermath. Another director at the company and I decided we would set up our own business offering the same services, continuing to do what we loved. For over a decade, we successfully ran that business and were very proud of what we managed to achieve after such terrible circumstances.”

In 2019, Julian decided he wanted some time out of the business and sold his shares. For a few months he focused on himself and his family, playing golf and spending precious time with his grandchildren. However, he was eager to make use of his business experience once again as he certainly wasn’t ready to retire.

“I decided to opt for franchising because there is a readymade business model there for you. When I decided to run my own business after being made redundant from my previous job, I’d been in the industry for many years so there was no real gamble. However, to set up and start a fresh business now, especially as I’m older, I’d have felt like I was taking a huge risk. I wanted the freedom of running my own business, but without any of the major stress that comes with establishing a new company, brand and reputation.”

Julian wanted to hit the ground running and knew he could do that by partnering with Optic-Kleer, the UK’s leading car windscreen repair franchise. Julian was drawn to the fact that purchasing an Optic-Kleer franchise would mean limited upfront financial exposure because he wouldn’t have to take out a lease on a business premise or buy lots of new equipment.

“I had researched similar companies but what attracted me to Optic-Kleer was that I could almost immediately earn an income. From day one you are set up in a supermarket car park, with potential customers in plentiful supply. With a lot of other franchises, the initial months of setting up your business would be eating up your savings as you wait for sales to complete, but that’s not the case with Optic-Kleer.”

Julian had two full days for initial training at Optic-Kleer’s head office which includes an introduction to the bespoke operating and technology systems plus practical windscreen repair techniques. Having met the team who support the admin and finance processing for your business, the following two days concentrate on in-the-field mentoring with an experienced franchisee.

“The training with Optic-Kleer was amazing. It couldn’t have gone better, and it made me realise that I had definitely made the right decision. The moment I met John, a franchisee himself since 2011, who delivered the training, things began to click into place. And in case I ever need a refresher, I have a training manual to refer back to.

“The real bonus of the training was the third and fourth days. I was working in a live environment with John, which was just invaluable. I got to see how he sets up his pitch and interacts with the general public. Most importantly, I got to see how John carried out his repairs. It gave me a real flavour of what running my own franchise was going to be like.”

As Julian launched his Optic-Kleer business in January 2021, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and a national lockdown, he also followed all the guidance needed to operate his essential repair business safely for himself and his customers.

“From step one of greeting a customer to the final step of taking payment, it’s an easy experience for the customer. Despite the timing, I have felt completely at ease right from the get-go with daily coronavirus testing in the run up and duration of training. I now know I have a great support team behind me.

“Working with the public is second nature to me, but in my first year I’d like to gain repairing experience and really get myself settled into the business. My main focus at the moment is improving my knowledge and experience of the technical side of the repair process.

“Between now and year three, I’d like to see if there was room to take on another technician employed by me. I wouldn’t want to miss out on a second territory if it became available. I’d like to get to a level where I can secure trade vehicle repairs as part of my regular schedule. I feel optimistic and ambitious about my future with Optic-Kleer. I’m hopeful I can get to a point where my income from this franchise is on par with what I was earning previously.”

Julian lives with his wife, Maria, has two children grown up with three grandchildren. He is vice chairman of his local cricket club and loves watching any sport.

“The major appeal with the Optic-Kleer franchise is that I’m in control of the days I work and the time out I wish to take. I will happily work seven days a week for a while, but that’s my choice. The intention is to work hard so I can afford to take time out when necessary to spend time with family. That’s the beauty of an Optic-Kleer franchise – it’s up to you!

“Having run my own business before, there are many pros and cons to consider before investing in a franchise. I decided Optic-Kleer was perfect for me and I would very much encourage people to have a conversation with David Overton their Managing Director – he used to be a franchisee himself and is so open about what Optic-Kleer has to offer.”


 


A Kleerly successful start -


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Laurence has been a franchisee with Optic-Kleer since 2015. He operates his franchise in around the areas of Swindon, Newbury, Marlborough and Oxford.

Previously, Laurence worked for many years as a parts manager for a well- known German car manufacturer.

How did you first hear about Optic-Kleer?

I first heard about Optic-Kleer when I bumped into an ex-manager of mine who I used to work with years ago. He was actually working in a carpark, at a store just down the road from where I was working. Someone told me he was down there, so I went down there and had a little chat, hung around with him for a few hours and found out about the Optic-Kleer brand. It wasn’t until things progressed where I was working, I thought to myself its time for a change. I then went back and had another chat with my ex-manager. Things escalated quite quickly.

How did Optic-Kleer get you up and running?

Basically I made initial contact through the website. David Overton then got in contact with me. We had a few chats, and I chatted to my ex-manager some more. I came and did a visit and spent a few hours with David, going through how the brand works, basically how we get up and running. Going self-employed was a big step and he explained how being self-employed with Optic-Kleer works and the freedom you get with it.

Did you come and visit?

We came up for our first visit with David on the Sunday and spent three or four hours with him. He showed us what he did, what the operators do and how it all works. He told us about the potential money you could earn from doing it and the freedom you get with it.

How was your training?

The training was very enjoyable. I came up and spent four days here. We went over the aspects of the paperwork and the actual training, where we cracked lots of screens and repaired them. The whole team made me feel very welcome and it was very easy.

How did you find setting up your business for the first time?

Setting up my own business was actually quite straightforward. I found it fairly easy and I had the backing of Optic-Kleer. The accountants that Optic-Kleer recommended to me came down and did a visit. We went through everything. The accountant talked me through my whole financial situation and how it was going to work. He went through a step-by-step process of how to set up, what to expect and what are the stages of setting up the VAT side of it. It was all quite straightforward and very easy.

Did you earn from day one?

My first day out, I was actually quite surprised. I actually phoned David on my way home and asked him, ‘what have you done to me?’. I remember those words clearly. It was supposed to be a relaxed, easy job and I had an absolute ballistic day. Non-stop enquiries, did repairs galore and came away and couldn’t believe the amount of money I had earned on my first day. It really was a case of jumping in at the deep end, but I just enjoyed the day, out there. It was nice to be my own free man. You turn up at the site, set up your canopy, chat to people and be friendly with people. And it was a nice not to have to be stuck to a clock.

Are your family involved?

My wife is also a director of the company. She does some of the emailing for me. She works in the background and does a little bit of the admin work for me. My kids are quite involved, they want to get more involved but obviously I can’t let them. My eldest children will sometimes come out with me during the day and do a bit of paperwork for me, which is nice.

Have you had a return on your investment?

My initial investment I made by buying into the Optic-Kleer franchise. I have already had that money back within my first year, which I didn’t actually expect so I am very happy about that. Optic-Kleer as a franchise gives you a lot of backup. They are very friendly and are always on the end of a phone.

Do you have to hold a high value of stock?

The stock I have to hold is next to nothing. The stock that I need I can order and have within a few days from Optic-Kleer. It’s a nice easy ordering process. If there are any issues, I get contacted and told if there are any issues with stock at the time. We get good backup and feedback from that. What I actually hold is only a few bottles of resin and tools. You don’t actually need a lot to go out and do a repair on a windscreen. You can put the bits and pieces and tools you need in your pocket.

Is everyday different?

A typical day in my week with Optic-Kleer. I arrive on-site, not too early, between 9 and 9:30 in the morning. I get my canopy out, get my signs out, get myself ready with my toolbox ready to go. I have come from a customer service background, where everything was about customer service which I have brought over to Optic-Kleer. When I deal with customers, I try and bring that customer service background, that has been drilled into me for the last 25 years. When I talk to customers I talk to them properly. I think I come across quite well. I get good feedback from my customers and told I do a very professional job with a friendly service.

It’s amazing the diverse people you can meet in a car park. A lot of people ask me about the franchise, the branding and how long I have been doing it. In turn I talk to customers about what they do for a living. And it’s just amazing the amount of people you meet out there and their background. There are some amazing, interesting people out there and you get to meet them just sitting in a carpark earning money. And it is good fun.

Are people interested in what you do?

A lot of people will stand and watch you while you repair their windscreen. They are very interested in how you actually go about doing it. It’s like you perform magic on their windscreen. The repair you do, they can’t believe it! Most of them will hang around rather than go shopping. A lot of people are interested in you, I suppose it’s because you look right, you come across right and you are friendly.

How was it making the move to being self-employed?

Being self employed for the first time, it was scary. A lot of people said to me before I left my previous employment, you are taking a big step, good luck, all the best, do you know what you’re doing?, do you realise what you’re doing?, if you are not working you don’t earn. All these big scary phrases were being thrown at me. It’s been easy and straightforward. I think it’s the best move I’ve made. I like the freedom, okay if I don’t work I don’t get paid. But when I do work, I get paid a decent amount of money. It’s fantastic. I don’t have to worry about who else is on holiday, I can take time off when I like and I can work when I like. If you put the time and the effort in you get rewarded.

What is the invoicing process like?

With Optic-Kleer the invoicing is easy, you literally write out an invoice and the customer signs it, we send it off to Optic-Kleer and they do the rest. They basically make it easy for us to be self-employed.

Do Optic-Kleer bring work to you?

I am finding with the Optic-Kleer Franchise, I do not have to go around knocking on people’s doors, or making cold calls, or placing newspaper adverts. I do not have to do the hard sell. We’re set up and we are known. People get to know you are established in your area. People come and find us. We get loads of repeat customers because of the way we deal with customers and the repairs we do. The quality of the repair is way above anybody else. We don’t have to go out there and advertise like mad, people drive into the car park, and the branding that we have stands out. People see us. We don’t scare people away, the branding draws people in and when they start talking to us they see how it works. It’s just money in the bank.

What do you need to be an Optic-Kleer franchisee?

To be an Optic-Kleer franchisee, I think you’ve got to come across well. You have got to be friendly and approachable as you are dealing with people’s insurance companies. They have got to put their trust in you. You gain all that trust because the branding is right, the way you look is right, everything is right. It draws people in and they will put their trust in you and they are going to be quite happy for you to contact their insurance company on their behalf. You don’t need a huge skill set, you don’t need to be a salesman, all you need is to just be able to talk to people, because people are quite friendly out there and the repairs look after themselves.

Do you need any qualifications?

To be an Optic-Kleer franchisee, you don’t really need to be that skilled and have loads of qualifications. You just need to know how to talk to people and deal with people. At the training they show you how to repair a windscreen. It is fairly straightforward. Every chip is different. You have to think about every chip and what the outcome of it may end up being.

You do need to be fairly disciplined. You need to get up in the morning even when it’s cold, wet and horrible. You do need to get yourself up and jump in to your van and get to your site and set all your stuff up, and be there with a friendly face.


Optic-Kleer ticks all the right boxes! - 18-May-2018


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Name: Laurence Lagden
Location: Swindon
Franchise: Optic-Kleer
Date launched the franchise: 2015

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying your Optic-Kleer franchise business?
I worked for many years as a parts manager for a well-known German car manufacturer.

Can you also tell us about Optic-Kleer franchise?
Optic-Kleer is an established franchise that specialises in repairing chipped windscreens.

Why did you go down the franchise route? What made you choose you’re the windscreen industry? And why did you choose an Optic-Kleer franchise?
I first heard about Optic-Kleer when I bumped into my ex-manager. He was working as an Optic-Kleer franchisee in the carpark of a store near to where I was working.  I stayed and watched him go about his business and he told me more about the Optic-Kleer brand.  When things progressed at work, I decided it was the right time for a change.  Still impressed with what I had heard and saw that day about Optic-Kleer, I decided I wanted to know more. 

From there, things escalated quite quickly.  We met with the franchisor who told us more about the business and how it worked, as well as the financial site of it.  It ticked all the right boxes for us.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
The training was enjoyable and worthwhile. I spent four days at Head Office. As well learning how to fix the windscreens, we cracked lots of windscreens and then repaired them, we also covered the day-to-day running of the business and the regular paperwork I needed to do. The whole team made me feel very welcome.

How would you describe your day-to-day role as a franchisee?
A typical day with Optic-Kleer is: I arrive on-site, not too early, between 9 and 9:30 in the morning. I put my canopy and signs up, and my toolbox out and ready to go. I come from a customer service background, where everything was about providing excellent service. I have brought this with me to Optic-Kleer, so when I talk to customers, I talk to them properly. I think I come across quite well. I get good feedback from my customers and told I do a very professional job with a friendly service.

It’s amazing the diverse range of people you can meet in a carpark! A lot of people ask me about the franchise, the branding and how long I have been doing it. I enjoy this aspect of the business, meeting new people and learning more about them.

What challenges have you faced?
Being self-employed for the first time was scary. A lot of people asked me before I left my previous employment, do you know what you’re doing? And, reminded me that, if you are not working you don’t earn. All these big scary phrases were being thrown at me, but I can honestly say, it has been the best move I’ve made. I like the freedom to choose when I work. Okay if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. But when I do work, I get paid a decent amount of money. It’s fantastic. I don’t have to worry about who else is on holiday and I can take time off and I can work when I like. If you put the time and the effort in, you will be rewarded.

What are some of the USPs of the Optic-Kleer business?
With the Optic-Kleer Franchise, you don’t need to go knocking on people’s doors, or make cold calls, or place newspaper adverts. There is no hard sell. We are an established business and people get to know you quickly in your local area. People come and find us. We get loads of repeat customers because of the way we deal with customers and the repairs we do. The quality of the repair is way above anybody else. We don’t have to go out there and advertise, people drive into the car park, and the branding that we have stands out. People see us. We don’t scare people away, the branding draws people in and when they start talking to us they see how it works. It’s just money in the bank.

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?
To be an Optic-Kleer franchisee you don’t need previous experience or qualifications what you do need to be is friendly and approachable. 

And as you are dealing with people’s insurance companies, you need them to know that they can put their trust in you. You gain all that trust because the branding is right, the way you look is right, everything is right. When people trust you, they are happy for you to contact their insurance company on their behalf. You don’t need a huge skill set, you don’t need to be a salesman, all you need is to just be able to talk to people and the repairs will look after themselves.

You also need to be disciplined and self-motivated as you need to get up in the morning even when it’s cold, wet and horrible.


Enjoying life as an Optic-Kleer franchisee -


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Name: John Speare
Location: Suffolk
Franchise: Optic-Kleer
Date launched the franchise: 2011

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying your Optic-Kleer franchise business?
I am the franchisee for Optic-Kleer Suffolk. Before joining Optic-Kleer, I had a long career in retail.  Unhappy with what I was doing, I knew I wanted a change of career and had always been interested in running my own business.  A chance encounter with Optic-Kleer came at the right time for me.

Can you also tell us about Optic-Kleer franchise
Optic-Kleer specialises in windscreen repair.  It is a van-based franchise that is located in supermarket and DIY store car parks. One of the key benefits for me was that customers come to us; our distinctive branding attracts them as well as our convenient locations mean that it is a hassle-free service for our customers.

Why did you go down the franchise route? What made you choose the automotive industry? And why did you choose an Optic-Kleer franchise?
I had been unhappy in my job and for a long time I had thought about running my own business. I liked the idea of franchising as it allowed me to have my own business whilst working under the safety umbrella of an organisation.

It was by chance that my brother-in-law had his windscreen repaired by an Optic-Kleer technician.  Impressed by the service he received and the nature of the business, we decided to investigate the opportunity for ourselves. After meeting with the franchisor, David Overton, we were further impressed and decided it was the right business opportunity for us.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
The training was thorough and very enjoyable.  Through David and his team, we learned all we needed to know about windscreen repair as well as the day-to-day running of the business. I loved learning about the business and was extremely keen to get started. 

Hearing from David was very insightful as he had started off as a franchisee himself before working his work up to become Director and owner. His knowledge of the business has been invaluable to us. David was with me on my first day supporting me with my first customers.

The day-to-day support I receive from the girls in the office is second to none. They process all our transactions for us and are always available if I have any queries.

Also, other franchisees.  I have always made a point of speaking to other local franchisees.  It is great to be able to share best practice and bounce ideas off each other.  It is a great support network for me.

What are the key USPs of the Optic-Kleer business?
Branding! Once you’re set up with the marketing materials provided with the franchise, you really do attract a lot of customers and you don’t have the hard sell at all. People will come to me to make an enquiry and so you don’t have to really push for a sale.

Another is our high standard of repair. Even if I say so myself, it is excellent.  Customers may come to me thinking they need a new windscreen and then I’ve fixed it for them at a fraction of the cost.  It gives me a real buzz to see their satisfaction.

How would you describe your role as a franchisee?
Although each day is essentially getting up and going to fix customers windscreens, it can be quite different. You get to meet and chat to people from all walks of life; I enjoy speaking to people so it is never a chore. The process of fixing the windscreen becomes secondary. To get people to get involved with your business and to agree to have their windscreen fixed by you because of what you said and the way you are, is great. It gives you a buzz. And on the back of that you are earning a living which is what we are all in it for.

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?
You don’t need any previous experience or qualifications, just the ability to talk to people, be able to negotiate and sell a little, whilst providing an excellent level of customer service.  As it is your own business, you need to be self-motivated to go out do the job each day and enthusiastic about it

What are your plans for the future?
Since David took over the business it has gone from strength to strength. The direction the business is moving forward in is very exciting. And I am really, really encouraged about the future.