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Driving success forward

credit: Mike Birdy
Click to enlarge
credit: Mike Birdy
Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space by Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space
Owner/Director - Sharp Minds Communications Ltd

Running a franchise business takes drive – literally and metaphorically in the case of one of our Sittingbourne business centre customers. Tenacity and relationship building are key to Driver Hire’s success, along with a great team of committed employees.

Driver Hire  is a franchise business with some 102 offices across the UK and five in Australia. “We win businesses by going to companies that require drivers; they provide the vehicle and insurance. We can find drivers for everything from 7.5 tonne trucks through to HGVs, and the sort of businesses that require them on a regular basis range from sandwich vans to general haulage,” explains the owner of the Sittingbourne franchise, Peter Pimperton.

Essential reliability

Driver Hire has been going strong for thirty years. “We’re one of the longest-running agencies in the country. We worked through the recession and we’re still going. We’re a respected company, with national accounts, and our HQ is in Bradford.”

So what does Peter think is the secret of Driver Hire’s success? “It makes sense for companies that have national depots to use a national chain, like us, so they only have one company to deal with. Our reputation is why people use us. We have reliable drivers on whom we’ll always do a full licence-check, so that we and our clients can be sure they won’t let anyone down and they’re right for the job required.”

Growing the Sittingbourne franchise

Peter attributes his branch’s success to the staff in the office: “They’re brilliant: if it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have the drivers out on the road. And we all have a flexible attitude – if a job needs doing, from recruitment to sales, I or one of my team is always prepared to do it.

“We win business by going out and about  in the car; if we see a new business that we didn’t know about, we’ll go back and research them and, if we reckon they could use us, we’ll  give them a call, get a meeting in the diary, and hopefully win the business.”

Making the move to St George’s Business Park, Sittingbourne

Peter was previously based in Driver Hire’s Doncaster office , working his way up from sales consultant to branch manager.  “Then the franchise for Maidstone and Medway came up; my wife is from Sittingbourne, so she wanted to move back here. I took the plunge to become a joint director and we moved down in 2017, taking over the office, which was then located in Maidstone, from the previous franchisee.”

Peter says St George’s Business Park appealed because of its central location and easy, free parking. “Our previous space offered neither of these benefits, which is why we looked to move. Here, we also get a lot of leeway to do what we want; we’ve been able to customise our unit with our brand colours, which is great, and – quite simply – it’s a nice space. We have an open-door policy for all our drivers, so when they stop in to drop off a timesheet we make them a cup of tea and have a catch up. Jeanette the centre manager is really helpful, with great IT support and meeting rooms that we can use for staff training.

Surviving the tough times

Peter says there’s no magic bullet for ensuring continued business success in difficult times. “Hard work – that’s really the secret; if you don’t put it in, you won’t get it out. You also need determination to succeed and to have the full team on board – everyone has to be on the same page. We have regular meetings in the morning to look at what we have to do each day, and then we review what’s been achieved at the end of each day.  And we recognise and celebrate success throughout the team.”

Successful national franchises can provide a great umbrella for you to grow your own business – but you have to be prepared to put the work in locally, as Peter is demonstrating.

To find out how  Capital Space  virtual offices or business premises

could benefit your growing business,

call 0800 107 3667