Last Updated: 13-January-2021
Paul is a local ambassador for Driving Miss Daisy in Wiltshire
Name: Paul Dyer
Franchise: Driving Miss Daisy
Location: Devizes, Wiltshire
Date franchise launched: October 2016
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying your Driving Miss Daisy franchise business?
For most of my working life specialised in software development, specifically the application of semiconductor technology and embedded software into high-volume electronics markets. For over three decades I enjoyed a variety of globe-trotting roles across the whole product creation value chain, in enterprises ranging from embryonic start-ups creating and building new markets, to established MNCs with multi $B revenues. I am privileged and honoured to have proactively contributed to some of the most exciting and key technological developments of the last half century which have changed all our lives in so many ways. It was professional, hectic, rewarding and tremendously exciting work.
Why did you go down the franchise route?
I wanted to do something in my later years that has tangible impact on the local community. I liked the idea of embracing and growing a “template business” rather than starting from scratch. I selected 10 different franchises to assess and gradually whittled the list down. Driving Miss Daisy® appeals to the heart and satisfies a growing need in society as people live longer.
How did you raise the finance? What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
I financed the investment myself. There were formal training days, given before I opened for business. Subsequent learning has been very much on-the-job and by sharing experiences with fellow franchisees.
How would you describe your day-to-day role as a Driving Miss Daisy franchisee? What challenges have you faced?
So many words are applicable; diverse, demanding, challenging, fulfilling, learning, fun, sometimes sad. This is a challenging service to market against other local services that people perceive to be our competitors, though in truth some of our services are completely unique and are not available from other providers.
Starting and running your own business after a lifetime of paid employment is itself a challenge, regardless of how much experience you have.
Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how? What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise?
Becoming a franchisee per se has not changed my life but starting and running this franchise in the local community has. I have transitioned from a globetrotting unknown resident with a sleepover home in the town, to a known and respected business owner in the community who provides a valuable service to people in need. To be recognised by strangers in the street and told you are doing a great job is an amazing experience!
My advice; aim for a short list of 3 franchises that interest you and do an objective assessment of all of them. A SWOT analysis is a great help. As you whittle down to your number one choice, you must be thorough in your due diligence. Analyse and if necessary, question and verify everything you are told; make sure everything is supported by facts. Use Companies House and other information resources in the Public Domain to research the backgrounds and previous history for organisations and even individuals. Reach out and talk to as many existing franchisees of your prospective target as you can, ideally those who have been running their franchise for at least 2 years.
In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?
The biggest benefit of buying into a franchise is being part of a brand which represents a bigger entity than your own business. It is important to both use and support the brand correctly. A successful franchisee will be both proud and supportive of the bigger entity and fellow franchisees. Other criteria for success:
- Hardworking, conscientious, determined, tenacious
- Open, in terms of gaining knowledge and learning new skills
- Confident, in own ability and service delivery
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