Friends and business partners Jim Watson and Ben Walker are launching their own new business by taking on the Newcastle franchise of Drain Doctor. The franchise area covers the NE postcode area including Newcastle, Alnwick and Berwick-on-Tweed. In addition the dynamic duo are also looking after the Durham and Sunderland areas.
Experienced plumber and drainage technician Jim previously worked for Drain Doctor in Glasgow. That was how he met his wife, Leigh.
Jim explained: “I used to ring the Drain Doctor call centre, which was based in Newcastle, who handled the Drain Doctor national account calls and I fell in love with the voice at the end of the phone.
“That was Leigh. After striking up a relationship over the phone and many subsequent dates I eventually moved down to Newcastle to be with her and we are now married with one son, Jaden.”
Jim worked with another drainage company for the past 15 years but has decided that the time is right to start his own business. His previous experience with Drain Doctor has now brought him full-circle.
Jim met Ben Walker at his previous company. The pair was one of the firm’s most efficient technical teams and would regularly pull out all the stops to meet their customers’ needs.
“We would regularly get call outs at all times of the day or night,” said Ben. “Unlike some of our colleagues we would answer the emergency calls as quickly as we could. We have both aspired to work for ourselves for a while now and thought that it would be a good idea to put our customer service philosophy to better use.”
Jim and Ben are equal partners in the business. They will start on one van in the first week, then expand to two vans fully equipped to deal with most plumbing and drainage problems in order to service existing and new contracts in the area.
Jim said: “With our mix of skills and our extensive experience in drainage repairs and emergency call-outs we hope to expand steadily, taking on a new technician and van by the end of 2014.
“We fit well with the Drain Doctor ethos, which was the same that made us top engineers at our previous company. Other technicians there didn’t work in the same way and we realised that we had the right outlook but for the wrong company, which is what drew me back to Drain Doctor.”
“Within the next two years we want to expand to become possibly an eight-van operation. Our long-term goal is to be the biggest and best plumbing and drainage company in the country with unrivalled excellence in service,” added Ben.
“Drain Doctor has a proven system, which Jim already knows, that offers a largely recession-proof opportunity where we can still be independent operators running our own business but with all the back-up that comes with being part of a large national organisation.
“We looked at other plumbing/drainage franchise opportunities but you just don’t get the same support that you do with a Drain Doctor franchise.”
They hope the business will help with their work/life balance. They are both family men. Ben has a daughter with his partner Mhairi and they are getting married later in the year. In what spare time they will have Jim and Ben enjoy running and spending time with their families.