Spending long periods of time working for other people can lead many to want to start their own business. Some feel destined to be entrepreneurs, in control of their own workload and driven to achieve success. This is the case for Arran Benstead. Having spent some time working at a brake linings factory following university, he was in no doubt that his future involved working for himself. 20 years later, he’s never looked back.
Pursuing a passion
Having always been interested in working on cars, Arran decided to investigate options outside of traditional employment that would enable him to turn his hobby into a job. He came across ChipsAway and decided to explore the idea of franchising in greater detail.
Arran said: “I felt that franchising would be a safe way of starting a business. I have always been involved with cars and really enjoy maintaining my own, so it seemed a natural choice and pathway to pursue.”
After making an initial investment into his ChipsAway franchise, Arran underwent training and mentoring to upskill him in the trades required to meet customer enquiries and was able to get started with his business quickly.
He said: “It was quite straightforward to get involved with ChipsAway, and when I got started it was both exciting and nerve wracking. ChipsAway is a very professional organisation when it comes to branding and marketing, and we are able to make great use of the internet – having social media and smartphones at my disposal has been integral to helping me build up my customer network.”
After just a few short years with ChipsAway, Arran had scaled his business effectively through word of mouth and recommendations and felt he had sufficient resource to take on additional work. As such, he purchased a second franchise territory to expand his network. However, the success is a result of lots of hard work.
He said: “Starting a new business is not easy – it takes time to build up your reputation and when I started, we didn’t have the digital tools available that we do today. The British weather is also very unpredictable, and it can be a challenge to work outside all the time.
“I did initially find it difficult to switch off from thinking about the business at nights and at weekends – you feel complete responsibility for it – but over time I was able to be more comfortable with that. Golf helps a lot to take my mind off things!”
A better work/life balance
Admitting a 9am-5pm schedule doesn’t suit his personality or working style, Arran sees huge benefit in running a business which enables him to switch off in line with his own priorities.
He said: “Working for ChipsAway benefits my personal life in that I enjoy starting around 8am and finishing once I know the work is done. I enjoy being able to organise my own time so if I have something else that I need to do, I can figure out my work around that and it’s never a problem.”
Having recently celebrated his 20-year anniversary with ChipsAway, Arran has one eye on the future, and is considering the possible next steps he could take with his business.
He said: “I would like to expand my unit in the future. I can certainly see the benefits of having a Car Care Centre so I could juggle more than one job at once, so watch this space.
“Working for ChipsAway is highly satisfying when you see a job well done and know you have a happy customer. I’m always busy because the business has been running so long, and I’m grateful that customers within my network always come back whenever they need a repair.
“People think working for yourself is easy; it isn’t easy at all, there are challenges, but no matter what it beats working for someone else.”