Rob (right) and Sam with Freddie Mitman at the awards ceremony in Bruges.
Our decision to launch our Drain Doctor Plumbing business covering Cambridge has proved a double-winner. Last year we were named most progressive new franchise at the annual awards ceremony. This year we scooped a national award for sustained business growth.
Group founder and chairman Freddie Mitman presented myself and Sam with our trophy at a gala awards night at the Crown Plaza Hotel in the historic Belgian city of Bruges.
The larger a franchisee’s turnover becomes the more difficult it is to sustain a high rate of annual growth. The High Base Growth Award recognises this situation. It is presented to franchisees who have achieved growth from a high base.
Mr Mitman said: “These awards all recognise special achievements in the franchise network.
“This year’s High Base Growth award winner takes the Drain Doctor service ethic to new heights and has sometimes amazed his customers with his tenacity in getting the job done.
“A little over three years ago Rob and Sam purchased an already successful area. Driving it forwards they saw a significant increase in growth in 2011. They took on the challenging task of building on the success of what was one of Drain Doctor’s most successful franchises and was the first business in the Drain Doctor network to reach a £1 million annual turnover.”
Drain Doctor’s success in Cambridge has come from offering local businesses and householders ‘dazzling’ levels of service in an industry that is plagued by ‘cowboy’ operators.
We launched our franchise in November 2009 to provide a wide range of plumbing and drainage repairs, including high-pressure jetting, ‘no-dig’ drain re-lining and closed circuit camera surveys. We more than achieved our target turnover during 2011 in spite of the recession and now have plans for further growth in 2012.
Joining Drain Doctor Plumbing was most definitely the best thing I have done. I investigated other franchise options when we decided to launch a new business and was impressed by Drain Doctor Plumbing’s professionalism. I plan to continue to grow the business in a controlled and sustained way but despite the recession I don’t intend to hold back on investment.
Rob and Sam Simpson present a cheque to Domini Pocock, Help for Heroes’ local co-ordinator for Suffolk.
The team at the East Anglia franchise business of Drain Doctor Plumbing and Drainage is spreading Christmas cheer to injured service personnel by contributing to the Help for Heroes Christmas Stocking Appeal.
“As part of our fund-raising for Help for Heroes this year we have decided to email Christmas wishes to our customers instead of sending them Christmas cards. We have used the money we would have spent on cards and postage to contribute to the Help for Heroes Christmas Stocking Appeal.
“We were able to spend around £200 on a couple of ‘stockings’ which include basic necessities like toiletries and shaving gear, fun items including playing cards as well as a couple of luxuries such as a clock radio and an iTunes voucher.”
Help for Heroes is Drain Doctor’s designated charity for 2011/2012. The idea behind the stocking appeal is to help to bring a little Christmas joy to wounded services personnel as they come to terms with their life changing injuries. This year, Help for Heroes is providing Christmas stockings to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Headley Court and the Personnel Recovery Centres.
Rob added: “Earlier this year some friends and I also took part in The Screwball Rally, a race around Europe which involved 50 cars going on a 2,000 mile round trip via Mannheim, Prague, Hanover and Amsterdam, to raise money for Help for Heroes.
“Our theme was Baywatch. Three of us dressed as Pamela Anderson and one as ‘The Hoff’ and we rallied in a bright yellow C class Mercedes estate which we bought for £400.
“I thought we would build on that with something a bit more festive that would provide a tangible treat for some of our heroes.”
Recently three friends and me rallied in support of Help for Heroes.
The four of us took part in an international motor rally with a difference, raising £2,000 for Help for Heroes in the process. Help for Heroes is Drain Doctor’s designated charity for 2011/2012.
We are all business owners who are members of Woodbridge Rugby Club. We decided we wanted to do something daft to raise money for Help for Heroes. After giving the idea some thought we decided to take part in The Screwball Rally. It is a race around Europe which involved 50 cars going on a 2,000 mile round trip via Mannheim, Prague, Hanover and Amsterdam.
Our theme, we decided, would be Baywatch. We bought a C class Mercedes estate for £400 and painted it bright yellow with bathroom emulsion and added Baywatch logos. Three of us dressed as Pamela Anderson and one as ‘The Hoff’.
During the rally, run over five days from Thursday to Monday,we camped out at a different campsite each night along the route and spent the days driving between destinations.
We were lucky to complete even the first stage of the event. Our first night’s destination was Mannheim in Germany and a campsite on the banks of the Rhine. When we arrived at the campsite the police were waiting for us. The rally organisers had failed to register the rally with the German authorities.
The police thought we were racing across Germany. We tried to explain that all 50 cars involved in the rally would be lucky to complete the journey as they cost so little, but I don’t think they believed us. Perhaps it was our costumes that put them off.
The next morning we discovered that there were just three showers for the whole campsite. The queue was huge so the four of us waded into the river for our morning ablutions. Still we got back safely after a lot of laughs and raised some money for Help for Heroes in the process.
The morning after
First night at the campsite
On the way
Pictured are Rob Simpson (Drain Doctor), Alex Brigginshaw (Amarynth Pumps), Richard Shaw (Margolis Business Machines) and Russell Stowe (Woodbridge Violins)
Ready for the off
Got the wheels
Drain Doctor Anglia’s fleet at the firm’s base near Adastral Park, Martlesham Heath.
At Anglia Drain Doctor – which provides plumbing and drainage repair services in Cambridge, Colchester, Chelmsford, Ipswich and Southend – we are targeting large commercial contracts in order to help drive our turnover. The aim is to double turnover to more than £2 million over the next five years.
Currently turning over more than £1 million, our franchise has increased the number of jobs it tackles by 15 per cent over the past year. In order to sustain and build on this growth we are targeting large-scale maintenance contracts in the commercial sector. In order to achieve that we are increasing our marketing activity to create more brand awareness and visibility. As part of our marketing campaign we are tendering for larger commercial and civil contracts.
The move into targeting the commercial sector came when we relocated the business to new premises in converted Royal Air Force barracks at Martlesham Heath just outside Ipswich. The move gave us the scope we needed to run the whole regional operation from a single location. We identified opportunities to tender for planned preventative maintenance (PPM) work on Adastral Park and other commercial estates in the area.
Since the move we have talked regularly with the estate manager who has a budget for planned PPM of the common areas on the estate. We asked if we could submit a tender for the PPM works and secured the contract for this year. It involves jetting and clearing foul and surface water drains in certain communal areas of the estate using a vacuum tanker. We also look after the reactive works throughout the year.
Following on from this the franchise has been awarded the contract for similar works at a smaller estate in Bury St Edmunds which is owned by the same management company.
We have also started working for Inviron, which looks after a number of large shopping centres in the region. In addition, we soon hope to be registered to work at Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station and we are working hard to identify further opportunities.
Drain Doctor Plumbing (www.draindoctor.co.uk) has come to the rescue of a holiday maker who had lost her keys and looked set to miss a flight to the sun.
The Drain Doctor franchise covering Suffolk recently 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, 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.
As a husband and father I can appreciate how stressed our customer must have felt at the time. I am so pleased we were able to help and hope they are now relaxing by a pool somewhere.
The customer was unavailable for comment – she was on holiday with her family!