- Automotive Services
ChipsAway are the originators of the SMART (Small to Medium Area Repair Technology) repair process. We are a full BFA member with IMI, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 accreditations and affiliation with 3M and BVRLA. ChipsAway has been established in the UK for over twenty years. We now have the largest network of over 200 repair specialists in the UK, who deliver the highest quality of car body repairs. Our services include car paint scratch repairs, bumper scuff repairs, car dent repairs and alloy wheel repairs, and eliminates the inconvenience and potential expense of using a body shop.
ChipsAway was acquired in 2008 by international multi-brand franchisor Franchise Brands. Franchise Brands is also parent company of established brands Metro Rod, Ovenclean and Barking Mad, which means it has a collective trading history of over 50 years altogether. All Franchise Brand’s child companies are also full members of the BFA. Franchise Brands has notable strengths in areas such as marketing, franchise recruitment and franchise support, and the group’s strategy is to grow organically through expanding their existing brands and through further acquisitions.
No previous experience is required to become a certified ChipsAway Franchisee, as we provide a comprehensive four-week initial training course alongside our specialist training team at our bespoke IMI accredited facility. The accredited course is backed by further advanced training during your first six months, with unlimited ongoing technical support. As a full British Franchise Association (BFA) member with IMI, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 accreditations and affiliation with 3M and BVRLA, you won’t find better quality training, products and ongoing sales and marketing support at any other franchise.
As a ChipsAway business owner, you will visit customers locally in your mobile workshop, offering high quality, value-for-money, everyday car damage repairs, including paintwork scratches, bumper scuffs and minor dents. With ChipsAway’s flexible business plan, some franchisees develop their business further and operate from a Car Care Centre, with or without a mobile workshop, which can increase both the potential number of repairs that can be carried out, and the average repair value.
“I had wanted to start my own business for a long time. I have always had a keen interest in cars, so naturally ChipsAway seemed like a good fit.
“I researched a lot of franchises online, but ChipsAway were the market leaders and by far the best. They had been established for a long time and had a very reputable brand – the training and support was thorough and they would give me all I needed to get started. I would be able to generate cash immediately after the initial investment and training.”
Peter attended an open day at the Head Office in the West Midlands, then visited various ChipsAway franchisees and Car Care Centres around the country. He was immediately very impressed by the professionalism of the company and the expansion opportunities, so he decided to invest in a franchise.
“I received outstanding support from Head Office right from the initial enquiry. They were always on hand to answer any questions or concerns, even before I had fully committed.
“The technical team and training was also excellent. The initial training includes 4 weeks full-time then an additional week after three months. You also receive extensive and ongoing support in anything else you need – everything from marketing to customer support. All you need to do is ask!
Of course, Peter had his reservations about buying a franchise and was initially apprehensive about fully committing: “I actually attended the open day a couple of years before I pulled the trigger.”
But he was eventually swayed by the sound of the business model. “There's always that initial apprehension about going into business for yourself. However, the ChipsAway franchise gives you the best of both worlds - the ongoing support of an established market leading brand plus the autonomy to run your own business and make your own decisions.”
“You have the support and the proven business model to be successful from day one. The marketing clout and the exposure a franchise gives you is unmatched, and is not something you could realistically achieve on your own.”
Overall, Peter’s life has dramatically improved since investing in a franchise, and he would never dream of doing anything else!
“It’s great being in business for yourself, I should have done it years ago! I’m working harder than I ever have, but the rewards are there if you put the effort in. In the future I would love to expand the business into a workshop and a car care centre”.
Keith’s background is in the motoring industry, as he grew up in the body shop industry within a family business. Due to his motoring background, he knew the strength of the brand and was well aware of ChipsAway’s reputation for producing high quality minor paintwork repairs.
“Having grown up in a family business in the body shop industry, I could see that the traditional body shop model was broken and we needed to do something different. I was reading through a Franchise magazine, and happened to come across a ChipsAway advert. The strength of the ChipsAway brand and their high reputation attracted me to find out more information.”
Keith was extremely impressed upon attending an open day at ChipsAway head office, and knew that this was the right franchise for him.
“My business grew very quickly” Keith continues “I started off as a man in a van, then after 6 months I took on my first employee and we opened the workshop, the following January I took on another employee, and the business has snowballed from there.” After a lot of hard work and determination for the last 16 years, Keith now operates the biggest Car Care centre in the UK.
When you own your own business, you need to have a clear vision of who you want to be and where you want to go. I have always had a clear vision of what I wanted my Car Care Centre to look like. When I first opened my car care centre, I didn’t think it was the best that it could be and I wanted to improve the customer experience. With a clear vision, I have been able to achieve my goals.”
We are always looking for more opportunities. For example, if we are working on a car for a company, we want to find out if there are any more cars that we can repair for them.
Keith has recently re-positioned his Car Care Centre so he is in a convenient location for customers. “Location is key – we are now located on a main road, with 3 motorways within half a mile. Although ChipsAway is a strong, trusted brand that people will search out, to put this recognised brand right in front of them has drawn in a huge number of customers. We want to improve customer experience and this makes the ChipsAway process far more convenient for the customer.”
“Having always worked in the automotive sector, I wanted to stick with what I knew and loved. I looked at a range of automotive-related franchises, but ChipsAway stood head and shoulders above the rest!” says David.
David attended an open day at Head Office which confirmed that ChipsAway was the right choice for him. His business got off to a brilliant start where he secured £4,000 worth of bookings during his launch. He puts his initial success down to the support he received from ChipsAway, and the lead generation from the national TV advertising.
“The trainers were spot on – patient, knowledgeable and they made the experience fun and interesting. I also had an existing franchisee mentoring me during my launch which was invaluable.”
“The rest of Head Office team have also done so much to make me successful - the people, the support and the brand are fantastic. They help us secure so many leads, and to be honest the money we pay for the franchise is superb value. Having that support system and specialist advice makes such a difference.”
David tells us a little more about how his business how grown: “In 2012 I opened a small centre, operating with 2 employees. In 2014, we moved to a larger Car Care Centre with 6 people on the team. Every year has given us better results and a higher turnover, and the customer feedback just keeps getting better! I have a fantastic team around me and we still have a long way to go in terms of growth, and I know that ChipsAway will nurture and support me through my journey.
David claims that his life has greatly improved since starting his ChipsAway franchise and his family are much happier.
“I love being my own boss. I can work when it suits me, have time off for holidays and free time with my family when I want it.
“I also have a much deeper sense of accomplishment and satisfaction than in my previous roles, knowing that I have built this fantastic business. I’m proud of the ChipsAway name and all the work we have done to achieve such high regard from our loyal customer base.”
You really do get out what you put in. The harder you work, the luckier you get! Financially, it’s very rewarding and I know that it will be more so in the future. My aim for the future is growth – more space, more team and more repairs.”
Dan and Debra looked at other franchisees but were highly impressed with ChipsAway: “We initially liked the business model of ChipsAway, then we came for an open day and were sold by the friendliness of the staff and the incredible set-up and support they offer. The Chief Executive was very genuine in his belief in the company – ChipsAway don’t hard sell and want the right people to join the network. Even my father in law was impressed, and that doesn’t happen easily!”
Dan and Debra claim that the training and support from Head Office has been fantastic from day one: “We received initial training for 4 weeks at Head Office which not only covered the technical side, but also Sales and Marketing techniques which was very useful. It’s great to have that support network, not just for the practical work but also for the admin, legal, marketing and more.
“There are is so much help that you receive with ChipsAway that you just wouldn’t get by starting out yourself, such as national marketing and TV advertising, a call centre to field leads, brand recognition and a guarantee to customers.”
It turns out that Dan and Debra’s biggest challenge since beginning their ChipsAway has been keeping up with demand!
“Our biggest challenge has been keeping on top of the leads coming in and getting round to everyone. Sometimes it feels like the phone doesn’t stop! There is a lot to fit into the day with jobs, estimates and contacting customers but you get into the swing of it. You just need to find a routine that works for you.”
Overall, Dan and Debra’s lives have greatly improved since investing in ChipsAway.
“It’s fantastic that we can now arrange our work life around family commitments - we are working towards a better future for our family.
They also have ambitious plans for the future: “Next year we are planning to open a Car Care Centre, hire two members of staff and offer a courtesy car, whilst also carrying on the mobile service. The great thing about ChipsAway is there is the option to go as big or as small as you like - you can be one man in a van or have multiple territories, car care centres and vans or anything in between.”
“ChipsAway is not an easy option - there’s lots of hard work involved but we definitely don’t regret joining the ChipsAway family.”
“I’m absolutely thrilled with the way my business is going,” says Andy. “I’d always dreamt of running my own business and the increasingly tough times in the print industry, where I worked previously, encouraged me to take the leap now rather than seek another job and possibly face redundancy yet again.”
Andy had already experienced the unique repair system for himself, so the UK’s leading automotive paintwork repair brand seemed a pretty good place to start. “I wanted something flexible, that was not massively expensive and which had the potential for growth,” he explains. “The ChipsAway model seemed to fit the bill.”
Andy’s investment has already more than paid off, “It has proved to be everything I’d hoped for. ‘It does what it says on the tin’, and if you follow the business model you can’t go wrong! Head office send through a lot of leads and about 30% of my business comes from referrals, repeat business and recommendations, which is great. I earned very good money as a company director, but with ChipsAway I have the potential to earn considerably more.”
Due to Andy’s hard work, growth, customer service and more, Andy was crowned Franchisee of the Year- the most coveted award by all UK-based ChipsAway franchisees. The nominees and winner are meticulously decided by the team at Head Office, based on a wide range of factors. He was also named Business Mentor of the Year for the third year in a row! This award determined by ChipsAway franchisees, where they decide which individual has been most valuable to them in terms of ongoing support and training.
Andy tells us a little more about what it means to him to win these awards: "It was fantastic to be awarded Business Mentor of the Year for the 3rd year running at this year's ChipsAway Conference and Awards dinner.
“It is a great pleasure to help ChipsAway’s new starters and to also help existing franchisees grow, expand their businesses and to see them succeed. I think it is a testament to the brand that so many people develop and build successful new franchises across the country each year.
“To then also win Franchisee of the Year 2016 really was the icing on the cake for me. At ChipsAway Guildford we strive to exceed customer expectations at every stage of our contact with them. I would like to thank my team for all the hard work they put in to help make my business so successful and also thank our customers for their confidence in us.”
Throughout the year, Andy has worked exceptionally hard to manage a Car Care Centre, a team of technicians, multiple vans and to ultimately run a fantastic business in Guildford. He embodies the key values of the ChipsAway brand by delivering exceptional quality repairs, outstanding customer service and offering incredible support to the rest of the network.
CEO of ChipsAway and ChipsAway’s parent company Franchise Brands, Tim Harris, believes that Andy is a worthy winner of both awards: “Andy is a credit to the ChipsAway brand, which is why he was not only named ChipsAway franchisee of the year, but also won Business Mentor of the year for the third year in a row!”
“He is extremely hard working and focused on delivering meticulous car body repairs, which is why his business has flourished over the last 5 years into an extremely successful, multi-van operation.
“As well as operating a fantastic business, Andy also does an incredible job of supporting the business development of his fellow franchise owners and helping them to succeed. This is why Andy is such a worthy winner of the Franchisee of the Year 2016 and is held in such high esteem by Head Office, his employees and his customers.
"My background has been in sales and marketing, but I was looking for a new business opportunity with the potential to grow into a sizeable operation.
“ChipsAway emerged as the clear choice, not only because it offered a saleable business model but also because it had a growing brand presence in the marketplace. The main thing that attracted me to ChipsAway was the brand awareness, and secondly was the fantastic return on investment – you can start making money from day one, yet you have the freedom to grow the business at your own pace. Since I first became a franchisee 6 years, ago, my business has grown hugely, enabling me to employ more people and develop the business.
“We are now a team of 6, we have 3 courtesy cars, a beautiful Car Care Centre, our repeat or referral business is around 60% and we turnover £300k per year. Life is pretty good to say the least!”
On his way to success, Ali received a great deal of support from the ChipsAway Head Office who offer specialist services Franchise Support and Marketing, including extensive national TV advertising.
“Head Office were really helpful in terms of emotional support, practical support and marketing.” Ali continues “Marketing and advertising has been my best tool for growth. ChipsAway is really getting it right with their focus on customer marketing and particularly TV advertising. Brand awareness is growing and so is market share – it’s an exciting time to become part of the ChipsAway success story!
With a clear vision and a lot of hard work, Ali has achieved his goal of opening a successful Car Care Centre in the city. However, Ali isn’t going to stop there. He claims that the growth of his ChipsAway business is only just starting…
“I’d like to enter my centre for longer hours” Ali says. “I’d also like to employ another repair specialist in order to generate a higher turnover, whilst I move more towards business development, sales and marketing.”
When asked if he would do it all again, Ali confirmed “Yes! Why wouldn’t I?! Growing your business is a long term project, and I’ve only really just begun! Like any business it takes time to grow, but with a ChipsAway franchise if you continue to work hard and be patient, then you will be successful.”