Ipswich franchise: “I wanted a recognisable brand”
The Ipswich franchise launched in June 2017. Owner, Nigel Stead shares why he chose Driving Miss Daisy®.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing before buying a franchise business?
Before, I worked across the South East. I led retail and government teams, in organisations like Woolworths, Sainsburys and learndirect.
Why did you choose your franchise?
I enjoy working with people and I deliver great customer service, so I looked for three things. I wanted to have a business with a unique selling proposition and recognisable brand. Then I looked at the industry and its future. With a growing older population, this is a business that will boom in coming years.
Can you tell us about the Ipswich franchise you have bought?
Driving Miss Daisy® has been in the UK for several years now and links in with the famous film of the same name. We help people who are less able, improving their mobility and independence. Our service assists where families or friends are not able to. We carry out our service in a reassuring, engaging and reliable manner.
How would you describe your day-to-day role as a franchisee?
I am naturally hands on as I enjoy dealing with people, so currently I spend a lot of my time driving. When I’m not driving, I work in time for tasks like networking, admin, social media and planning for the future.
What challenges have you faced?
I entered with my eyes open, knowing this was a new brand concept in the Ipswich area. So, my first task was to get as many leaflets circulated as possible to explain our services. Inevitably, the first challenge is, it takes time to spread the word. It takes time to build the bookings and to show value for money. Usually, the first impression is to compare us to traditional taxis – and we are so much more!
Lots of challenges have come our way, but always, our priority is the customer. We face these with a positive approach and find solutions. Occasionally, we need to flex our original business plan!
Has the Ipswich franchise changed your life, if so how?
An initial reason for doing this was to get a work/life balance; i.e. to work locally. Likewise, I wanted to put into practice all my experience gained over the years.
The big surprise is how rewarding it is when customers are so grateful for the service they receive! Many customers suffer with illness, old age, or isolation – and we’ve been able to help put a smile back on their faces. All of which makes you realise the positive impact you can have on others less fortunate.
What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise?
Look into the concept – and ideally its unique selling proposition – and the value you can bring. Ask yourself, ‘why should people come to you?’ Set your goals and persist as YOU can, and will make the difference.
In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?
Passion and persistence, ideally with customers as the priority!
The Ipswich franchise story can also be viewed in the flip-book, ‘Choosing to become a Driving Miss Daisy® Franchisee‘.
Further information can be read on our Business Opportunity page.