Taking The High Road To Business Success
Richard Good and Donald McClymont are the owners of Driver Hire Ayrshire and Dumfries. They bought their franchise in April 2005 and opened an office in Irvine.
The business grew quickly and this, along with the fact that their territory covers over 3,700 square miles, led them to open a second office in Dumfries in August the same year. They recruited Gordon Hyslop, now a co-director of the business, to run their second branch.
Driver Hire is the UK’s largest specialist provider of recruitment services to the logistics sector, and has a thriving nationwide network of almost 100 offices. Richard, Donald and Gordon’s business is one of several franchises that have successfully diversified and now find high quality temporary and permanent staff for customers across a range of sectors.
The Secret Of Success
So what is the secret of their success? As with any strong franchise, it’s a combination of the inherent strength of the Driver Hire model, combined with the talents, energy and dedication of the franchisees and their staff.
“We focus on our customers first,” explains Richard Good. “We listen to what they ask for, such as a genuine 24-hour service, and make sure we deliver every time. We work with some really high profile customers, such as DHL, Arla Foods, Scottish Water, Milk Link and the local authority, for whom we provide critical staff like gritting teams in winter.”
“Our franchisor provides regular initiatives to help us help our customers, and we have our own innovations too, such as gaining our own Gangmasters licence, which allows us to support the food service industry. We were the first Driver Hire office to do this, and it’s really helped in the last couple of years. In fact, non-driving recruitment work now accounts for almost 50% of our business.”
Donald McClymont adds, “Quality is at the core of what we do, and being part of a network really helps. Our franchisor has the scale and expertise to make dealing with complex road transport or recruitment legislation quite straightforward. It also really helps to be able to share ideas, experiences and so on with your fellow franchisees.”
In business for yourself, but never by yourself
The 50-strong head office team provides a vast range of support functions including: invoicing, payroll and other admin; a bespoke IT operations system, which also helps to ensure legislative compliance; a National Accounts team, which delivers centrally-won business opportunities; a Marketing team providing a steady stream of professional marketing resources; and a dedicated Area Development Manager. Follow the system and work hard, and a franchisee can build significant capital value in their business whilst taking home 10-12% of turnover.
Setting New Records
Given this powerful combination, it’s maybe no surprise to learn that this is a business that has bucked the economic trend of the last few years, and been setting new records on a regular basis. 2010/11 saw the franchise’s best year to date, 60% up on the previous year, with sales totalling over £1.5m. Their turnover is twice the already impressive £735k average annual turnover among Driver Hire franchisees, and more than four times the UK national average for a franchised business (£353k according to the latest NatWest/bfa survey). 2011/12 is on track to be another strong year.
Thanks to this, and to the overall quality of their operation, Driver Hire Ayrshire & Dumfries was named Driver Hire Franchisee of the Year for 2010/11.
“People stick around in this network,” says Gordon Hyslop. “At my initial training course nearly seven years ago there were two new franchisees, David Quinn of Chelmsford and John Chambers from Nottingham. Both of them are still with Driver Hire, and both are now turning over more than £1m per year.”
“What’s more, Richard’s son Jonathan has now bought his own Driver Hire franchise in Carlisle.”
“If you enjoy dealing with people, and you have the energy to get out there selling, building up a successful business, you should take a close look at Driver Hire.”