Monthly Archives: April 2010

Former Valley’s cabbie and family take up drain doctoring

Pictured from the left are Cardiff Drain Doctors Robert Clarke, Andrew Hughes and James Jones.

Former Valley’s-based cabbie James Jones, who has run his own taxi firm for the past four years, has  started drain doctoring in partnership with his cousin, part-time fireman Robert Clarke, and Robert’s brother-in-law Andrew Hughes.

The Rhondda-based trio have taken on a franchise business of Drain Doctor Plumbing offering emergency plumbing and drain repairs to commercial and domestic customers throughout Cardiff, the valleys and the surrounding towns and villages. They are also operating the business in Newport on a trial basis. 

James started his career as a team leader for Lloyds TSB before setting up his taxi business so he knows a thing or two about providing good customer service.

Andrew and Robert have both worked in drainage and jetting on civil projects. Robert has worked on drainage and road repair while Andrew has experience in civil engineering work with Welsh Water.

Realising that they had the skills to run their own business they started looking for a drainage repair business. Despite the recession Andrew and Robert felt that the time was right to start a business by sticking to an opportunity based on a tried and tested formula. 

They began by researching franchise businesses and approached James, who already ran his own business, for support. He said: “I looked at the Drain Doctor business and realised it is a great opportunity to develop. Andrew and Robert were already doing a similar job and I was looking to expand my business. When I came across Drain Doctor I realised that it was a national brand that could help us to take our business to the next level.” 

James was impressed by the company’s honesty. He said: “The business is not about sitting in the office waiting for the phone to ring. It is important to market properly. By working hard – and by following the Drain Doctor system that is there to help – success will follow, but it doesn’t happen over night. This was made clear right from the start.”

 The threesome is starting with two vans with Andrew and Robert operating as technicians. James will run the marketing and administration side of the business with the help of his wife Gemma. They are also servicing the Newport franchise area on a trial basis so they recognise that they will need to expand. James hopes that they will be able to add a third van and technician to their business within six months. 

Outlining their plans James said: “We aim to give businesses and householders in Cardiff, Newport and the surrounding area the same ‘dazzling’ level of service in plumbing and drainage which Drain Doctor provides across the rest of the country.

 “Our customers get fixed-price, no obligation quotes, a complete guarantee on all our work, and a full 24 hour per day seven-day per week service with no call out charges – so people pay the same price for work at any time of day or night. What’s more, we turn up at the agreed time!”

Robin Banks, operations manager, Drain Doctor

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Drain Doctor franchisees hear that sustained growth will continue in 2010

We at Drain Doctor  have voiced our commitment to further expand our business at our sixteenth annual franchisee convention.

Staff who attended the long weekend of business presentations and social events in the historic Warwickshire town of Stratford-upon-Avon heard a bullish opening presentation from our chairman Freddie Mitman, who remains optimistic about sustained growth prospects for the company throughout 2010 and beyond. 

He said: “In many ways we are in the finest possible position to grow as the country begins to come out of recession. Shops are suffering, sales of cars are suffering, purchases for the home are suffering, and holiday bookings are suffering but Drain Doctor in comparison is not suffering.”

Senior managers from Drain Doctor’s head office gave presentations on various aspects of franchise management, including marketing. Geoff Burch of the hit TV series ‘All Over the Shop’ was a guest speaker at the event.

The presentations stressed that at Drain Doctor we are in a people business which requires passionate leadership in developing the Drain Doctor business and meeting the demanding standards which the company has set.

Other speakers at the convention picked up on the same theme. Among them was Mary Kennedy-Thompson, president of Mr Rooter – Drain Doctor’s equivalent in the USA. She stressed the importance of great people, customer satisfaction and passionate leadership in developing the Drain Doctor business.

The annual convention is organised by Drain Doctor for its franchisees. A number of franchisees were presented with awards for outstanding business performance.

Robin Banks, operations manager, Drain Doctor

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New van for Wolverhampton

Allan and Craig with the new van.

I set up the Wolverhampton Drain Doctor business in January and we’re already expanding our operations due to increased demand for our brand of excellent customer service. As a result I am recruiting a new fully qualified plumbing and drainage technician to join the team and we’ve added a new van to the fleet. 

I commenced trading with a fully equipped plumbing and drainage service van working alongside one other technician. Since then demand has increased to point where I have had to add an additional van because we were finding that we were missing jobs because our resources were stretched. 

Using the new van I am currently providing cover for  technician Craig Murphy but I am recruiting another technician so that I can devote more time to effectively market the business. We have started a programme with Yell and we are in the Yellow Pages and I am investigating things like Google Ads. With a new technician on the team I will be able to devote more time to this and more proactive marketing activity.

We originally intended to be running three fully equipped vans by the end of 2010 and we are on course to achieve that. Looking ahead we will be moving into an industrial unit and adding further vans to the fleet as we grow.

Allan Scandrett

Drain Doctor; Wolverhampton

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‘Spring clean’ your pipes – and avoid costly repairs

As spring has now arrived it is time to get out the polish and give our homes a good old-fashioned clean.

However, jobs such as ensuring the plumbing and drains have fully survived the winter are often overlooked – but some simple cleaning and maintenance should be done to prevent major and expensive repairs.

Blocked drains and corroded fittings can lead to a multitude of problems, such as water damage from burst pipes, and can prove costly to repair. Dripping taps, toilets that don’t flush properly and water coming out of overflow pipes are sure signs that your plumbing needs an overhaul and should be checked as part of the spring cleaning process.

Drain Doctor has produced a simple check list for homeowners to ensure problems are identified quickly and that major repair work can be avoided:

• Always know where your main stop valve is located and ensure it is labelled. It is on the incoming mains water supply and is often under the kitchen sink.

• Stop valves tend to corrode slightly with time, so check that it’s working by exercising the valve twice from fully open to fully closed and back again (and always close the valve ‘half a turn’ from fully open once you’re done).

• Inspect toilet cisterns both inside and out for operation and wear. If there are any signs of corrosion or leaking, contact a reputable plumber.

• Visually inspect any cold water storage tanks in the attic for leaks, water level, protective lids and thermal insulation. Also, if fitted, check the hot water cylinder in the airing cupboard for signs of damage or leaks, and exercise all available valves.

• Install a strainer in plug holes to catch hair and other objects that could block drains.

If you find a problem, or suspect there may be one, get Drain Doctor to check pipes for leaks, damage and corrosion. By using a CCTV camera in the pipes, we can inspect and pinpoint exactly where drains are cracked, damaged or misaligned.

Robin Banks, Operations Manager, Drain Doctor

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Mary visits Drain Doctor – in UK and Portugal

Mary Kennedy Thompson, president of the Mr. Rooter Corporation of the USA, has been meeting Drain Doctor franchisees and staff in the UK and Portugal.

Mr Rooter is the US equivalent of Drain Doctor Plumbing – the UK’s largest emergency plumbing and drain repair service – and both are part of the Dwyer Group in the USA.

Mary – who was an  officer in the US Marines before embarking upon a highly successful career in commerce – was the guest of Freddie and Jan Mitman, respectively the chairman and franchise sales director of Drain Doctor. Her visit to Europe included attending the Drain Doctor annual convention in Stratford upon Avon, which brought together franchisees from across the UK, and a trip to the recently-opened Drain Doctor operation in Portugal, the British company’s first overseas venture.

She said: “There is a two-way trade in ideas between Drain Doctor and Mr Rooter. Having an opportunity to see first hand some of the things that Drain Doctor is doing has helped to strengthen the links between the two companies.”

Jan Mitman said: “We have learned a lot from Mary and from American franchisees over the years. Mary’s visit gave a real boost to European franchisees as they saw what could be possible for their own businesses.”

Drain Doctor and Mr Rooter both offer guaranteed 24 hours per day 365 days per year service with a fixed price ‘menu’ and no call-out or out-of-hours charges.

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