It was a rainy autumn day when a call came in that wouldn’t normally be taken. It was a call from an employment agency seeing if we were interested in hiring a detailer. Car Care is a franchised business where, generally, the man in the van is the owner of the business so employing detailers is not something we would normally look at.
The call was taken because we had just had someone who was interested fall through due to finance and we had a van sitting there doing nothing, so I thought it doesn’t hurt to listen. I was given the details of the person looking for work (Darren) and once off the phone from the employment agency he was duly contacted.
Darren was keen so he came in the next day for an interview, and it was apparent straight away that he had a great attitude although he had no experience of any kind. He was up for the challenge and the day after started training.
I was responsible for Darren’s training and over that week I became happier that the Car Care brand was in safe hands. Darren came from a retail back ground (ex Produce Manager) and understood the need for fantastic customer service, which is at the core of our ethos. Now you may ask yourself why someone with experience such as that would come to work in this type of position, I did.
Have you ever met someone who has had a bad run (you may have had times like that yourself -most of us have at some point in our lives)? Maybe its due to some poor decision making, maybe it’s due to some influences outside your control, generally it’s probably a combination of the two. Anyway this was the type of position he found himself in, a good bloke that needed a break his way.
Once Darren’s training was complete he started work for Car Care on a casual basis just over the award rate, he could not believe the amount of work he was able to pick by offering good customer service, performing the detailing tasks on a consistent basis, and delivering the promised outcome. Darren was soon very busy and generating, in a very short time frame, a loyal customer base.
All was going well and about three weeks later I received a call from Darren saying he needed to talk. I asked him what the problem was and he said that he was really busy and wanted to know if their was another way, instead of being an employee to become a Car Care franchisee and what did he need to do to achieve that. We discussed this for a while and I said I would get back to him with a few ideas. Now I could tell even at such an early stage that Darren would indeed make a great franchisee. He met all the necessary criteria except one -he wasn’t in a financial position to be able to raise the capital necessary to start.
Where too from here? I felt I had come to know Darren well enough in this period and decided he was worth a risk and we came to an agreement that suited both parties, we added a great ambassador for the business and Darren got to run his own business and have a higher level of independence. In a further three weeks after going through the necessary disclosure processes, Darren was a Car Care Franchise Owner.
Now it is still early days (it has been 6 months) but Darren has not looked back and has quickly learnt that “you reap what you sow” and he is consistently busy, even though he has just come through winter, traditionally our quieter time.
What was achieved? Darren has managed to start his own business with the support of a large group that has been going now for almost 25 years, so he knows assistance is always just phone call away. He now has greater control of his financial future and also, just as importantly, his time. If he wants to spend time with his kids he can do it when it suits him and he can adjust his schedule as he sees fit.
This has also given Car Care a stable franchisee who is another great ambassador for our brand and the service that we provide. Personally it gave me a great feeling to be able to help someone and then to be able to see them achieve. This also restores your faith in people as well which is immeasurable.
What was learnt? It is the old saying “where there is a will there is a way”. From first glance it appeared that Darren would be unable to become a franchise owner, but with a willingness from both parties we found a way for everyone to achieve what they wanted.
Mark Lyons – State Franchisor – WA
An interview with Darren
So Darren we are just after your perspective of where you have come from to where you are now.
What were you doing prior to starting at Car Care?
I had a stable job as a duty manager for IGA as my last permanent position, but for the 3 months prior I had a multitude of different jobs, all casual. I managed a pizza shop for a while did some security guard detail at hospitals along with general labouring setting up stages for rock concerts I was willing to give anything a go but was unable to find that stable job and an employer that would show some faith.
How did this affect you in this period?
This was an extremely tough period of my life on a personal level and a work level, I was down on myself and if I am honest at that point had lost sense of self worth, because no one would give me a sustained go at anything.
How did you end up with an interview at Car Care?
I had been into an employment agency and had an interview with them. I got an interview with a different detailing company and as it turned out they offered me a position but it was under the award! I then had you call (Car Care) and I went in for an interview the next day and started my training the day after that.
What were you thoughts and impressions at that point?
Out on my first day I was both excited and extremely nervous. The reason was that it felt right but I also wondered once I finished my training if I could be out there doing it by myself as where I had worked in the past I always had other people around me.
Ok, so once you finished your training was it any better?
It was definitely better but I was still nervous (just not as much) although I felt I had gained enough knowledge to go ahead with a degree of confidence. After about 3 weeks I was much more confident in both my ability to do the work but also in my customer service skills as you are meeting people all the time.
It was at about this time you called and said you needed to come in for a talk, why was that?
I could see the potential in this business already and to be honest knowing the money that was flowing back to Car Care that if it was my business would be flowing into my account. There is a big difference in doing the work for someone else compared to doing the same work whent it is your business as well as the money it gives you a great sense of ownership.
So what happened after our talk?
Well we found a way that I could become a franchisee and we went though the process that anyone has to go through to become a franchisee, it seemed to take forever but it was more like about 3 weeks .I admit that when signing all the documents and committing to it I was a little nervous.
Well it has been over 6 months now, what are you thinking now?
Best thing I have ever done (aside from my boys) I can honestly say that I wish I had seen this opportunity earlier. I am looking to expand because have way more work than I can handle, if I can just find the right person…I see a bright future.
Thanks Darren, lets see if we can!