Manjit Singh – Enfield Franchise
How long have you been running your franchise?
I’ve been running my Driver Hire franchise for over 7 years having bought the Enfield territory in April in 2007. It was an area that had been split from the original East London franchise and had very little business operating in the area at the time. In my first year and a half of trading the growth we achieved was more than I could have initially imagined – going from a turnover of £0 to £450k in just year one.
What were you doing prior to franchising?
I’d always wanted to work for myself and had previously owned and run an independent wine shop. It was a successful business but I felt I could achieve more so decided to sell up and look at franchising as a way to do this. My initial route into franchising was with parcel delivery company UK Mail. They franchise their depots, so I joined the business to learn how to be a transport manager. This was my first introduction to driver recruitment agencies – and Driver Hire.
What attracted you to Driver Hire?
I knew I wanted a B2B management business and one which had the potential to reap great rewards. I’d used Driver Hire during my time at UK Mail to hire temporary drivers and was impressed with the professionalism and the quality of service they provided. Ready to make the move, and after some initial research, I could see they were an established and award-winning brand. So I felt confident I was investing in a solid venture with a proven business model.
How have you found the training and support?
The training and support from Driver Hire has been second to none. The initial two-week foundation training helped me to kick-start the business and learn the ropes as it were. When the recession hit my business in April 2009, the support I received from the head office team and the network of Driver Hire franchisees really helped me to pull through. I could see that whilst some offices had seen revenues fall there were many offices that – even through the recession – were in fact growing their business. This was a turning point for me; proof that Driver Hire’s core business was sound and that there would always be a demand from transport and logistics related businesses for its services.
How is business going so far? What obstacles have you encountered, if any?
Since beating the recession when it hit us hardest in May 2009, business is now booming for us in Enfield. In 2013/14 we broke the £2 million turnover mark and we’re on track to surpass the £3 million turnover mark in the 2014/15 financial year. My initial investment is certainly paying off, with interest. Over the years I’ve also collected a number of Driver Hire awards for our achievements and was a bfa ‘Franchisee of the Year’ award finalist in 2011 and 2013.
What are the benefits of working the business-to-business sector?
There are a number of benefits in owning a B2B franchise. For some like Driver Hire it’s easier to scale your overheads as you grow the business.
With Driver Hire you’re building a database of business clients with a fleet of vehicles and a database of drivers looking for work – it’s a simple model where you’re basically looking to match the two. As with any B2B business it’s also a case of providing a high level of customer service and relationship building, something I enjoy and gain a lot of job satisfaction from. Another benefit I find with Driver Hire is that every day is different, whilst you may structure your week with business processes and planning, working with ‘people’ means there’s lots of variety to be had on a day to day basis.
What are your future plans for the business?
I’m looking to grow the business further so that when I’m ready for a change I can sell it on, realise my investment and either look to retire or move on to another exciting project. Either way I’d certainly recommend Driver Hire to anyone looking at B2B opportunities.