We caught up with Graham Duckworth, Franchise Recruitment Manager at Driver Hire, to hear more about why Driver Hire is such a great company to work for.
What makes Driver Hire a unique company to work for?
Driver Hire Group Services in Bradford, West Yorkshire (the franchisor’s head office) provides an enjoyable working environment. The excellent team spirit is reflected in the company’s recent 43rd ranking in the list of Best Medium Size Workplaces in the Great Places to Work® UK survey. This is a move of eight places, up from 51st last year.
There is a strong company ethos to promote staff from within and to help those who want to learn new skills and progress their careers within the business.
Over the years, several Driver Hire Group Services’ colleagues have left senior roles and invested in a Driver Hire franchise, having seen what can be achieved.
Why would you recommend Driver Hire to people wanting to open a franchise?
Driver Hire has a proven franchise model – we’ve been franchising since 1987 and the Driver Hire brand is well-known and respected across its industry.
Franchisees achieve a great return on investment. The ongoing financial returns are above the franchise industry average, with the annual turnover for a single unit exceeding £1.1m, and the average net profit over £130k per annum. There is also high demand for our resale opportunities when they become available.
Driver Hire provides award-winning support, having won the coveted British Franchise Association HSBC ‘Franchisor of the Year’ award five times, as well as an external award for ‘Best Franchisee Marketing Support’.
We also encourage the sharing of best practice amongst our franchisee network through regional meetings, annual conferences and our online forum. Driver Hire has a network of established franchisees (some of whom have been franchisees for over 20 years) who are happy to support new franchisees, offering advice, guidance and time in their office.
What skills and experience do you look for in prospective franchisees?
You don’t need previous experience in the transport or recruitment industry, as our in-depth training and support gives you all the knowledge and skills you require.
The role of the Driver Hire franchisee is to lead and motivate their team, manage the financial aspects of the business and seek out new business. Therefore, it’s important to have experience of working in an office environment as well as in sales, customer service or relationship building, and supervising or managing people.
Our top franchisees are all passionate about their business, highly self-motivated and ambitious, with a positive outlook and a ‘can-do’ attitude.
How do you support your franchisees?
My role as Franchise Sales Director is to fully support both prospective and selling franchisees throughout the entire sale process. Most of our franchisees have never bought or sold a business, so this support is invaluable. We provide a list of all the sale actions and regularly review the progress of all parties.
Once a sale is agreed, our prospective franchisees commence training. This typically involves two weeks in a Driver Hire office and two weeks completing Driver Hire’s Foundation Course. This foundation course is delivered by over 20 different Driver Hire staff members and helps new franchisees learn how to run and grow their Driver Hire business.
Ongoing training is provided by an Area Development Manager who regularly visits your office and the Driver Hire Group Services teams such as marketing, IT, HR, national accounts and compliance. We also run specific dhAcademy training sessions throughout the year.
How do you maintain consistent levels of customer service across the franchise?
The foundation course (two weeks of classroom-based training) provided for new franchisees is available to everyone in the business, including franchisees’ staff. This helps to ensure consistency and best practice across the Driver Hire network. Our Area Development Managers also regularly visit franchisees and their staff at their office to provide sales support, guidance and ad-hoc training.
Driver Hire’s ISO9001 accreditation governs several standard practices across our network, and all offices comply with the same thorough registration and vetting process. To help ensure that our customers and candidates are happy with the service we provide on a national level, every office is audited annually.
Surveys and customer feedback also play a part in listening to what is happening on the ground. Our National Accounts team regularly receive customer feedback, and once a year we carry out a customer and candidate survey.
What are the biggest challenges for your franchisees and how do they overcome them?
According to the REC, the UK recruitment sector has a total revenue of £32.2 billion per annum, and as a result, is an attractive and competitive market. In every Driver Hire territory there are several competitor recruitment companies. However, Driver Hire has been trading for 35 years and has a strong reputation for compliance and quality. As a specialist provider of driving and logistics staff, our offices cover virtually the whole of the UK. Driver Hire is recognised as an expert in its field with a high level of knowledge and experience.
Health and safety are also extremely important considerations in the transport industry and our rigorous systems help our franchisees and their clients stay compliant.
How are you looking to develop the franchise?
Driver Hire is more than a supplier of temporary driving and logistics staff. Working with our franchisees over the years, we have developed new products and services for our customers. In addition to temporary drivers, our franchisees can operate in the temporary supply of non-driving staff and help customers find permanent members of staff.
We’ve also added driver training and an online licence checking service which provide our franchisees with optional additional revenue streams. As a business, we will continue to work with our franchisees and customers to identify opportunities to further develop the franchise.
What is your biggest achievement at Driver Hire so far?
I’ve worked at Driver Hire for 14 years and it’s difficult to single out one achievement in particular (not because there are so many!). I am in the fortunate position of supporting the buyers and sellers for all Driver Hire franchise sales and it’s very satisfying to help complete the sale smoothly and successfully.
One achievement worth noting is that Driver Hire has achieved five consecutive record years of growth and is currently on track for its sixth. Continued growth in a competitive market is certainly success worth celebrating.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Due to the success of the franchise model, we receive high numbers of enquiries every week from people wanting to learn more about Driver Hire. Having been in business for over 35 years means that although Driver Hire has a limited number of start-up opportunities available, our portfolio of resale opportunities changes throughout the year as franchisees hope to realise their investment for new challenges or retirement.
The Editorial Team, Point Franchise ©