Andrew Padgett – Driver Hire Ashford & Canterbury
Andrew Padgett joined Driver Hire as a franchisee in 1998.
“Before deciding to buy a franchise I worked in retail sales for the local electric company,” says Andrew. “I got fed up with the politics of a large organisation and decided that if the right franchise opportunity came along, I would go for it. Running my Driver Hire franchise is financially rewarding, mentally challenging and its flexibility enables me to have a good work-life balance.”
Andrew’s business is part of the Driver Hire network, the UK’s leading supplier of temporary and permanent staff to the driving and logistics industry. He bought a start-up to cover Ashford and Canterbury and now supplies an average 50 clients, and finds work for around 100 candidates per week.
Why choose Driver Hire?
Even though Andrew had never worked in recruitment he’d recognised that his skill set matched that of a Driver Hire franchisee, in working with and managing people, as well as providing a high level of customer service. He goes on to further explain his reasons for choosing Driver Hire, “I had met other people from different franchise brands, but when I met the franchise sales team from Driver Hire they were really down to earth, honest, grounded and realistic. They were brutally frank about what the business entailed and what would be involved to make it work. This gave me the confidence and a level of trust that other franchise brands hadn’t during initial conversations. Also when I talked to other Driver Hire franchisees they were really positive about the business.”
Typical day as a Driver Hire franchisee
Whilst it’s important to build routine into a working week as a Driver Hire franchisee, you’ll soon find that when dealing with a variety of clients and candidates, every day is different. Andrew structures his working week as much as possible. “Monday and Tuesday are my busiest days for administration. It’s when the invoicing and payroll needs to be done. I choose to get in early, around 7am, and work till about 3-4pm. Wednesday to Friday is filled with more admin such as dealing with HMRC, pensions and VAT returns and catching up with the team. Hayley in the team – she’s been with us for 11 years and is now a co-director – carries out the majority of client visits and candidate interviews, leaving me to concentrate on the strategic side of the business.” Andrew goes on to say, “You always find something to do: Ways to improve how we currently operate, how to manage and motivate the team; how to improve our advertising and business performance analysis.”
In order to grow the business, you also need to invest in the right team. Andrew’s advice when looking to recruit new team members is to “be brutal and uncompromising” and thinks it’s wrong to take on someone just because they are available and you’re short staffed, “sometimes taking no-one is better than taking the wrong one” he adds.
Andrew believes that one benefit of being your own boss means that if you are successful in hiring the right team, you can allocate responsibility which empowers them to make decisions within the parameters you set. This, in turn, provides him with the “freedom to manage his own week and the opportunity to be flexible and spend more time with the family”.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying their first franchise?
Andrew’s advice is apt for anyone looking to buy a business – franchise or otherwise – and comes down to some key basic points, “Like any big decision, loads and loads of research and be honest with yourself. Ask yourself if you’re prepared to put the hard work in at the start, get your hands dirty and build the business over time whilst you foster a team who share your values and philosophy. I bought a start-up opportunity, but even resales, (with existing business) are hard work and have their own challenges.”
Plans for the future
According to Andrew, he has no plans to retire before 2035, though he may look to later reduce his days in the office. “I still love what I do, so the plan is to continue. Retiring is not on my horizon at the moment. I’d certainly buy a Driver Hire franchise again knowing what I know now. One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most is building a team of people I can rely on and trust.”