As men and women leave the forces and return to civilian life one of the first obstacles facing them is finding a new career. Many will join civilian services such as fire and rescue or the police force. However, for many more the path is less clear. Running a franchise business provides one answer. Franchisees have the freedom of running their own business but with all the support of a national organisation. One such is Peterborough franchise company Drain Doctor Plumbing.
Since it launched in the United Kingdom in 1993 Drain Doctor has become the country’s largest emergency plumbing and drain repair service. It now provides a nationwide 24 hour a day, 365 days a year service through a network of independently owned franchise businesses. A number of these businesses are owned by former servicemen, franchisees like Jason Hawkins and Allan Rook.
Jason, a former Royal Navy physical training instructor and a member of the Fleet Air Arm Field Gun Association, purchased the Norwich Drain Doctor business in 2007. In the past four years he has gone from strength to strength. He said: “Before purchasing the Drain Doctor franchise I looked at a number of other franchises in various business areas. However, the customer-focused mentality of Drain Doctor was a key deciding factor for me. “The support is reassuring and with on-going training we continue to expand and grow our business.”
Jason started with two vans, operated by himself and a technician. As the business grew he moved from an outbuilding at his home to a new industrial unit and has added a new fully-equipped van and another technician.
Allan Rook, who owns and runs an award-winning Drain Doctor franchise business, began his career in the Army. He served in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) as an aircraft engineer in Malaya, Singapore and Germany between 1963 and 1979. After the Army, Allan owned and operated a number of businesses at home and abroad prior to purchasing his Drain Doctor franchise in 1996.
Since launching their franchise, Allan and his wife Jacqui have built a team of technicians, a fleet of five fully-equipped vans plus additional vehicles and equipment for specialised work. They expanded their business by acquiring the neighbouring Portsmouth area and there’s plenty more potential for future growth, says Allan. “Much of our growth comes from recommendation. Turnover is currently around £600,000. We expect that to reach £1 million within three years.”
When asked what advice he would give to personnel currently leaving the forces he said: “When you buy a franchise you are buying a system. You need to work with that system and make it work for you. That is what you get with a Drain Doctor franchise.” Franchise businesses like Drain Doctor offer a good opportunity for ex-servicemen like Jason, Allan and others to start their own