The Doctor is in

Van 2As the UK General Election campaign hots up the National Health Service is set to be one of the key areas of debate. The Labour Party has fired the first shot across the Tories’ bows by re-hashing one of its old posters from the 1970s.

Back in the mid-1970s Labour was not working and long queues snaked towards the unemployment office according to a poster campaign. Now, the Conservatives are under fire in Labour’s poster critique of the Tory’s NHS record – The Doctor can’t see you now.

At Drain Doctor the doctor is always in and at your convenience. It’s not just a tagline. The Doctor will see you now!

We are the country’s premier combined emergency plumbing and drain repair service – providing a genuine 24 hour a day, 365 days a year service across the country with fixed prices and no call out charges.


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We’re going for 15 from 15

Drain Doctor's convention was held at the Crowne Plaza in Bruges

Drain Doctor’s convention was held at the Crowne Plaza in Bruges

Drain Doctor Plumbing has voiced its commitment to further expand its business and has set ’15 from 15’ – 15 per cent growth in 2015 – as its target at its twenty first annual franchisee convention.

Everyone at Drain Doctor who attended the great long weekend of business presentations and social events at the Crowne Plaza hotel in the historic Belgian city of Bruges heard a bullish opening presentation from chairman Freddie Mitman, who is optimistic about sustained growth prospects for the company throughout 2015 and beyond.

He said: “Now that we are into our third decade in business it is essential that as a group we are firing on all cylinders in order to make strong progress. The past three years have been great. We established a break-through in acquiring jobs through the internet, national accounts grew by more than 15 per cent and some positive marketing was done in many areas. We need to keep that momentum by going for 15 per cent in 2015.”

Among the speakers at the convention who picked up on the same theme was Mary Kennedy-Thompson, president of Mr Rooter – Drain Doctor’s equivalent in the USA. She stressed the importance of maintaining momentum and the need to have a powerful purpose and a passion for what the business is doing.

She used the analogy of a motorcycle journey to explain. “Business has changed pace. It used to be made up of periods of ‘push’ and periods of rest. Now the need to grow requires more constant ‘push’. We must learn to ‘thrive in the push’, because time won’t stop and wait for us.”

She said that we must keep going – like a motorcycle – because when we stop we fall over.

“A certain speed of forward momentum must be kept up because it is this momentum that makes it easier to circumnavigate the obstacles you will need to go around, and move fast enough to negotiate bad things.

“Life is like riding a motorcycle. Your bike will go where you are looking. So if you’re coming to a corner don’t stare and get fixated on the hedge, look around the bend where you want to go. The bike will be capable of getting you around the corner.”


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Economy on a roll as flush consumers spend on luxury toilet paper

Drain Doctor luxury toilet tissue loo paperIt looks like British consumers are feeling ‘flushed’ now that the economy seems to have turned a corner and zero inflation is making everyone feel as though they have a little more cash in their pockets.

Sales of luxury loo roll – defined as anything quilted and two to four-ply – are up in the UK according to new figures, signalling that the economic downturn is over and good times are on the horizon. Experts say that it’s incontrovertible proof that the economy is growing because people are willing to shell out extra cash to pamper their bums!

A Euromonitor report found that the UK stands out among the European countries as only 5.3 per cent of £1.9billion toilet paper sales were made up from the cheaper brands.

However, the same report found that in Europe our German and Italian cousins are thriftier when it comes to the loo. According to the survey they prefer economy paper to the luxury stuff – – favoured over here according to a report in The Guardian.

The story featured twice on the telly this week. A BBC Breakfast business item on the economy majored on the Euromonitor findings while Matthew Wright took up the topic on his Channel 5 morning magazine show The Wright Stuff in a more lighthearted way by asking viewers if they thought that luxury toilet paper was in fact evil. The show took more calls on this topic than any other during the morning. One of the guests – Christine Hamilton – talked about Izal – that hard, shiny tracing paper often found littering the floor in school loos of a certain vintage. Does anyone remember that? Comments please.

We were reminded of many an uncomfortable visit to an institutional loo – be it at school or elsewhere – when we would have been grateful for a few sheets of two-ply tissue.

Let the good times roll.

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Art going down the drain

drainArt13Is street art going down the drain? It seems so. Artists from across the world have been drawing inspiration from drainage, as this collection of pictures demonstrates.

If you have examples of street art that you’d like to share – whether involving drains or not – do post a link here.

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Bedford Drain Doctor keeps winter fun on track

Thanks to the award-winning Milton Keynes franchise of Drain Doctor Plumbing the Xscape winter sports centre is all set for a bumper winter season.

Thanks to the award-winning Milton Keynes franchise of Drain Doctor Plumbing the Xscape winter sports centre is all set for a bumper winter season.

Snow may have come a little later than usual to some continental ski resorts this season but winter sports enthusiasts need travel no further than Milton Keynes for some winter fun.

Thanks to the award-winning Milton Keynes franchise the Xscape winter sports centre is all set for a bumper winter season.

The Drain Doctor franchise has recently completed its regular overhaul of all the drains, both internal and external, at Xscape. Franchisee Stuart Brock explained:

“We won the contract to maintain all the drains at Xscape. This includes all the external drains as well as the indoor plumbing including all the staff and public toilets around the facility.

“It’s a big site and we are there with at least two technicians for up to a week at a time to complete the work, which includes CCTV surveys to make sure everything is clear and free from damage, as well as any routine work that is required.

“We are of course also on hand in case there are any emergencies that need handling.”

Stuart launched his Drain Doctor franchise in January 2011. He provides a wide range of plumbing and drainage repairs, including high-pressure jetting, ‘no-dig’ drain re-lining and closed circuit camera surveys.

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Drain Doctor to the rescue

Drain Doctor Glasgow engagement ring

The rescued engagement ring

It will be a Merry Christmas for one lucky bride-to-be thanks to a technician at the Glasgow South East franchise of Drain Doctor. Thanks to some luck and perseverance he was able to reunite the ring and its owner in time for the festive season.

Drain Doctor received a call from soon-to-be-married Julie Emerson who was frantic because she had accidentally flushed her precious engagement ring down the toilet. Calls to other drainage companies had proved fruitless and Drain Doctor was her last chance.

Technician William Foster went to look at the job and although he gave Ms Emerson a less than 30 per cent chance of finding the ring he set to work. It is testament to the Drain Doctor ethos of providing ‘dazzling’ customer service that he persevered until the ring was retrieved.

Commenting on the job Julie Emerson said: “I had accidentally flushed my engagement ring down the toilet! I called Drain Doctor in complete desperation – another company had refused to come out as they thought it was a lost cause.

“Drain Doctor came out within a few hours of my call. The technician checked our drains and it turned out that they were blocked. After about an hour of investigation he found my ring! It was unbelievable.”

Drain Doctor franchisee Gary Wroe said: “My technician William Foster did a great job, carefully raking through the muck despite the slim chance of finding the ring.

“We aim to give businesses and householders across our franchise area the same ‘dazzling’ level of service which Drain Doctor provides across the rest of the country. This is just one example of that service.”

Ms Emerson added: “The guy was very professional and friendly and explained what he was doing. I am still in shock that he managed to find my ring.”

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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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