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Securing a Future with Drain Doctor

Tommy Meade
Drain Doctor Plumbing
Glasgow North

Why I chose franchising

I was a plumbing contractor in my own right for 30 years. I even worked as a plumber in Los Angeles for a time. However, I am now 61 and I chose a Drain Doctor Plumbing franchise so that my son, who is 21, would have a more secure future.

What I did before taking up a franchise

Although I had decades of experience as a contract plumber, adopting the Drain Doctor Plumbing business systems was a new experience for me.

How I raised the finance

With a long-standing existing business, I raised the finance without resorting to a bank loan.

The training and support I receive from my franchisor

Drain Doctor Plumbing provides a comprehensive one-week's training course at head office and detailed operating manuals setting out the company's business systems, technical, marketing and administration procedures. There are regular regional meetings, national weekend meetings and an annual convention, together with professional support from the head office team. We have also received training in drain re-lining techniques, which means we can provide a valuable additional service.

The challenges I have faced

Having been in the plumbing trade all my life I am accustomed to working unsocial hours. The aim of all Drain Doctor franchisees is to build a multi-van operation that a manager can run. At the beginning, however, you must be willing, with the rest of your team, to be on call 24 hours a day 365 days a year. This would not suit a person who dreams of a nine-to-five existence. For example, last Hogmanay night I had a call at 9.45 pm and drove 40 miles to fix what turned out to be a minor fault that was causing distress to an elderly woman. Making that call was part of our service ethic.

My advice to someone thinking of buying their first franchise

Consider all the possibilities and choose a franchise that matches your skills and personal aspirations. Consider how much genuine commitment the franchisor shows to the success of its franchisees. Calculate the full cost of both your investment in the business and the equipment you need to lease or purchase. There's no doubt that franchising is a good business system and the rewards are available to people who are prepared to work.

My plans for the future

We have two liveried vans and a truck for heavy equipment and we anticipate expanding with two more vans within the next year. On a personal level, I plan to have more time for leisure pursuits as my son takes on more responsibility for running the business.