Women in franchising

Jan MitmanToday, Drain Doctor franchise director Jan Mitman is attending a British Franchise Association seminar, entitled Women in Franchising.

Jan, along with 94 other ladies from every conceivable branch of the franchise industry, is at Eastwood Hall in Nottingham to enjoy a packed programme of interactive seminars and roundtable discussions on a broad spectrum of business topics including; marketing, social media, personal branding, business building and legal issues.

The event was launched in 2013, during during Jan’s time as chair of the BFA Midlands Forum. It is for all women looking to inspire, network and share experiences about their involvement within the sector. It is a great opportunity to get involved in discussions on how more individuals, organisations and the entire franchise industry can mentor and inspire more women to join a thriving sector.

Jan, who helped establish the Drain Doctor business in the UK with her husband Freddie in 1993, is probably the most influential woman in the UK plumbing and drainage industry.

Drain Doctor has been involved in franchising for 20 years and is a full member of the BFA. Jan understands the franchise business from the viewpoint of both franchisees and franchisors. She says that that events like this help franchise companies to grow their brands and the synergy that can be created gives the women attending greater strength to see, and achieve, their goals.

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Don’t be an ass – Drain Doctor will get you out of clinch

Photo of Nilo

Photo of Nilo which appears in The Daily Mail

This story about a donkey in Switzerland getting stuck in a manhole got us giggling this week.

The Daily Mail reported that 13 year old Nilo the donkey, nicknamed Shrek by the local fire and rescue team, had escaped from a local petting zoo and found himself in a tight spot when he fell into an open manhole in the Swiss town of Pratteln.

It got us thinking about all sorts of other odd things that Drain Doctor technicians find down drains. As far as we know we haven’t found a donkey but we have found a boa constrictor. There was also the case of the prized pet Netherland dwarf rabbit Minni that had climbed into a soil stack pipe in Bristol. Using specialist CCTV equipment the rabbit was found stuck in the drain. The local Drain Doctor had to dig up the patio to reach the rabbit. It was rescued and reunited with its grateful owner while the drain and patio were replaced.

The Drain Doctor franchise covering Suffolk once received a panic phone call at 9.30am from a lady in Stowmarket, Suffolk. She was due to leave home to catch a flight for a family holiday. However, she had just dropped her car keys down the toilet! Recognising the urgency and always ready to display dazzling levels of service, Drain Doctor customer service representative Daisy Simpson immediately diverted a technician who was just 15 minutes away from another job to answer the emergency call.

He arrived within 20 minutes, removed the toilet pan and retrieved the customer’s car keys. The job was completed quickly and efficiently and the customer was able to leave in time to get to the airport and catch her flight.

And talking of dropping things down the toilet, in Glasgow recently one Drain Doctor customer’s special day was saved when her lost engagement ring was found in a blocked drain after being accidently flushed down the toilet. The lady had been told by another drainage firm that the ring was beyond recovery but our technician persevered and the ring was recovered.

We have found some other strange things in drains that have raised eyebrows. One franchisee found a bra and a pair of underpants blocking a drain in a Wetherspoons pub. Another had to rescue a £10,000 diamond necklace.

Whatever the emergency there is nothing too odd for Drain Doctor so don’t be an Ass like Nilo; if you find yourself in a clinch call Drain Doctor and we will pull out all the stops to help save the day.

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Commuters stay dry thanks to Drain Doctor

Hatch_End_stn_buildingPlumbing and drainage specialist Drain Doctor has completed a three month contract – working mostly at night – to replace guttering and drains at the historic Hatch End railway station in Pinner, London.

Now operated by London Overground, the station – which provides services to Euston in one direction and Watford in the other – is being extensively refurbished.

As part of the refurbishment works Drain Doctor was called in to change all of the gutters using materials that were acceptable to the local heritage and enforcement officers. Under a separate contract for Browne’s Engineering, a main contractor to Thames Water, Drain Doctor also excavated and replaced all the main car park drains, many of which had collapsed over the years.

Local Drain Doctor franchisee Yiltan Hurer said: “The main challenge we faced was to carry out this work safely without any risk to other contractors or the public. This meant that a lot of the work had to be carried out overnight so one of our teams was essentially working on this one contract for nearly three months.”

The Drain Doctor contract also included additional works at nearby Bushey and Carpenders Park stations.

The Grade II listed Hatch End station was built in 1911 for the London and North Western Railway to a design by architect Gerald Horsley, son of the painter John Calcott Horsley. It is built in contrasting brick and stone with a Romanesque arched door and a near-pyramidal roof topped by a cupola with a clock and weather vane.

Architectural critic and Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman is said to have described it as “half-way between a bank and a medium sized country house”.

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Franchisee family ensures future expansion of business

david & denise BaddeleyThe future of the Birmingham Central and South franchise business of Drain Doctor is secure. The business will stay in the Baddeley family as Michael (28), son of franchisees David and Denise, comes on board to help with future expansion.

Denise Baddeley said: “Michael has been with us since his uni days when he used to work during the holidays to earn extra money. Now he is with us full time.”

Michael is fulfilling an important role in the business, learning every aspect of running a busy plumbing and drainage franchise. He specialises in undertaking CCTV drain surveys using the Wincan system. However, he also assists the technicians on jobs and works in the office as a customer service represenatitve and is also involved in the accounts and day-to-day running of the business.

Denise continued: “We have found a dual role for Michael and he is really multitasking in order to get a real feel for the whole business.

“David and I run the franchise business as a partnership – David looks after the technicians and the technical side while I look after the office, admin and accounting. The intention is to make Michael a partner, when he will take on responsibility for all that.

“We are slowly reducing our time at work and should take a couple of days off a week but we’re not always able to do that due to pressures of work because we are still very much involved in the business.

“As Michael becomes more experienced our role will diminish until we eventually retire leaving the business in good hands.”

The franchise currently has four technicians. They are now expanding and looking to take on one or two more technicians to cover the south of Birmingham and parts of the Central and West Midlands. Denise said that the area they are in is very competitive but their customers return time and again because of the high levels of service the franchise provides.

Michael is enjoying the challenges of learning the business inside out but he still finds time for sport. He said: “I studied sports science at university and still play hockey at national league level. However busy I get at work I still find time for that.”

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Are you living R.I.C.H.?

You cannot get too much of a good thing!

Dina Dwyer-Owens, executive chairwoman of The Dwyer Group, is speaking at The National Franchise Exhibition 2014 – twice!

On both 3 and 4 October Dina will be asking “Are You Living R.I.C.H.?”.

Dina Dwyer-OwensIn 2005, Dina launched the Live R.I.C.H. campaign to promote The Dwyer Group Code of Values and the themes of Respect, Integrity, Customer focus and Having fun in the process of growing a company. She also released her book, “Live R.I.C.H.: How to build success in your company and your life with a proven Code of Values.”

Dina is an international speaker on how to Live R.I.C.H. and she credits ethics in business and in life as a foundation to true happiness.

She is well known in the USA for her participation in CBS’s Emmy-winning hit reality show “Undercover Boss” and the first-ever special episode “Undercover Boss: Epic Bosses.”

Dwyer Group is the US-based master franchisor for Drain Doctor.

Many of Drain Doctor’s staff and franchisees will be in the audience at The National Franchise Exhibition to hear her speak. Drain Doctor will be exhibiting at the show – please do come and visit us on stand F30.

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Succession planning at Coventry Drain Doctor

Coventry Drain DoctorSince starting his Drain Doctor franchise business back in 1996 it has always been Alan Langford’s intention to retire and hand over the reins to his son Ciaran. Rather than retire and sell the business Alan wanted to create a legacy to pass on for his son to continue to develop and grow.

Alan is one of several Drain Doctor franchisees that have built up a successful business strong enough to pass on to the nex generation. It is a testament to the strength of the Drain Doctor business model that this is a viable goal for anyone considering a Drain Doctor franchise.

Ciaran has been working with dad Alan since the start and is now the firm’s senior technician but ideally Alan would like him to become operations manager. Alan said: “I would like to see Ciaran taking over the day-to-day running of the business, allowing me to take more of a back seat.

“That hasn’t been possible in recent years, particularly now when we are as busy as we have ever been.”

Alan was able to ride out the worst of the recession and now business levels have recovered to what they were before the downturn.

“We have been extremely busy and we are now getting back on top of the workload. Over the next three to five years I would like Ciaran to be less hands on technically and take on a role running and marketing the business,” said Alan.

Alan said that Ciaran is clued up on internet marketing and gets him into the office a couple of times a week to prepare quotes ,follow up leads, undertake internet research and some social media marketing using Twitter and Facebook.

Ciaran has plenty of experience marketing in the digital age. He said: “I run cross fit classes a few evenings a week and I use social media and the internet to market those.”

“I’m not ready to go just yet though”, said Alan. “I still get a buzz out of the business even though I am reaching retirement age.”

Owning a Drain Doctor franchise is a sound investment for the future. It can finance a retirement if your not planning to pass the business on – or your kids want to pursue other opportunities.

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Drain Doctor’s youngest franchisees look to the future

NEW Leicester_7_2_11 - CopyThe youngest franchisees in the Drain Doctor network, Yasser Yusean and Samantha Brain – who are both in their mid-20’s – are showing that age is no barrier to success in franchising.

Yasser (24) and his partner Samantha took on the Leicester franchise business of Drain Doctor Plumbing (www.draindoctor.co.uk) offering emergency plumbing and drain repairs in the city and the surrounding villages back in 2011.

They run the franchise between them. Yasser is responsible for the technical side of the business and marketing activities while Samantha deals with the accounts and day-to-day running of the business.

Taking on a Drain Doctor franchise was the obvious choice for Yasser, who has always worked as a plumber. He started with Drain Doctor as a part-time assistant while he was still at school, coming to work at weekends, before being employed as a technician with the Drain Doctor franchise in Derby.

“Working as a technician I already knew all the Drain Doctor systems. When this franchise became available it made sense to take it on”, said Yasser.

“Drain Doctor has a proven system. It offered a recession-resistant opportunity where I can be an independent operator running my own business but with all the back-up that comes with being part of a large national organisation.

“The last few years have been hard work and we are now in a good position to begin expanding. We are looking to take on a new technician and van in the near future.”

Samantha added: “When Yasser said he wanted to take on the Leicester Drain Doctor business I gave my full support. I thought that it was a perfect opportunity to run our own business and use all the skills I have to provide ‘dazzling’ customer service.”

Yasser enjoys the challenges of the business, particularly the emergency work, and getting to know new people through his ongoing marketing efforts.

“I am regularly out introducing myself to new customers, both commercial and domestic, and I enjoy helping out on national accounts. The Drain Doctor network is a great opportunity for young people with energy and a strong ambition to run their own business.”

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