Last Updated: 12-July-2018

Driving Miss Daisy’s new franchisees are raring to go!

Name:  Sarah Webb
Location:  Bath
Franchise: Driving Miss Daisy
Date launched the franchise: 2018

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying your Driving Miss Daisy franchise business?
I have been working as a self-employed Forest School Leader for the last 9 years and my husband has a bathroom design and installation business.

Can you also tell us about Driving Miss Daisy?
Driving Miss Daisy offers safe, friendly and reliable driving and companion service for children, the elderly and anyone who is unable to drive but wishes to remain independent.  The service is tailored to the individuals’ needs and covers a vast range of possibilities including medical appointments, shopping trips and social outings.

Why did you go down the franchise route? What made you choose the transportation/companionship industry? And why did you choose a Driving Miss Daisy franchise?
We were initially interested in the concept of the business, introduced to us by a friend.  It sounded like a good opportunity and I wanted any future business ventures that we were involved in to have a heart with benefit to our community as well as provide financial gain.  That was the first hook; the second was the attraction of franchising and the wealth of back up support that comes with it.  We were not ‘going it alone’, and that somehow felt like less of a risk. 

How did you raise the finance?
We had to buy the franchise and also purchase the vehicle.  We took out two loans and used some money from an endowment that had matured.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
We are fortunate to live in the same city as the chief executive of Driving Miss Daisy UK and have benefited from his support throughout the entire set up process.  We also participated in several days training at our head office in Portsmouth with other new franchisees.  This included Dementia Friends training, business planning, first aid, operational know-how and how to ‘sell the sizzle’. In addition, we had to obtain our private hire license and DBS checks.

We went to the annual conference in January which provided the opportunity to meet other franchisees and learn from their experience.

The team at head office have provided consistent support, responding quickly and clearly with any queries – that has been invaluable.  They have also set up a Franchise Development Group which represents franchisees queries and concerns from across the country.  This group meets regularly and disseminates minutes to all franchisees.  Senior leaders from DMD UK also attend and they have been responsive and open to all suggestions for improvements across the board. The communication is cooperative and transparent.

How would you describe your day-to-day role as a franchisee?
I would describe my day-to-day role as a franchisee as many and various!  With particular reference to the work of Driving Miss Daisy, I also would describe it as a privilege.  I do all the admin and marketing and my husband and I both do the driving and companion work.

What challenges have you faced?
The greatest challenge we continue to face is to try and build the franchise business alongside our other work.  We are looking for part-time staff to become drivers/companions.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
We are still at the beginning of the process, but we are encouraged by early interest and really appreciate the safety blanket of being part of a larger organisation.  We are confident that the business is meaningful and viable.  What has changed our life the most is connecting with our amazing, appreciative clients.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise? 
Speak to a range of other people who have established their franchises and ask them the very same question!

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?  
What makes a successful franchisee is someone who is 100% committed to the ethos of the business and is willing to put 100% into it.  It is taking every opportunity to sell the service, talking to a vast range of people in a vast range of circumstances on an on-going basis in the hopes that your brand will become a household name.  It is delivering a quality service and always striving to be innovative and make improvements.  It is listening to constructive feedback and celebrating the positives.

What are your plans for the future?
We have a 5-year business plan that sustainably grows the business, expanding our fleet and our driver/companions.

If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?
I would launch the franchise without any other work commitments.

Visit Driving Miss Daisy Franchise page

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