Paul Ward, PW Autocare

Run a van-based franchise distributing Autoglym professional products across the UK & Ireland.
Video

Autoglym

  Opportunities:
In the UK
  Business Type:
Franchise
  Minimum Investment:
£150,000
  Training Provided:
Yes
  Home-based:
  Part time:
  BFA Membership:
Member - Full

Autoglym interviewed franchisee Paul Ward to discuss his experience of working with the Autoglym brand.

AG: Hi Paul, how long have you been involved with Autoglym in Northern Ireland?

PW: In the grand scheme of things I’m probably classed as a newcomer. It’s been 13 years now since I took on the franchise over here. I actually wrote a letter to Autoglym HQ around 30 years ago now to express my interest in a franchise opportunity back then. I’d been thinking about being a part of the Autoglym empire for many years and was happy to finally be gifted with the opportunity back in 2005. When I sent that letter all those years ago, I never imagined that I’d get sent back a video about the business and that some 17 years later I’d be looking after almost all of Northern Ireland.

AG: What is it that you concentrate upon now?

PW: PW Autocare supply both professional and retail Autoglym products to the counties of Donegal, Derry/Londonderry, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Armagh, Down and Antrim with the exception of Greater Belfast, Lisburn and the Ards Peninsula areas.

AG: Wow! That’s a vast area to cover. Who deals with the rest of Ireland?

PW: Greater Belfast, Lisburn and the ARDS peninsula, are taken care of by a fellow Franchisee, Woodstock Autocare.

AG: How many people are part of the team?

PW: There are now three of us running the business. Myself, Cathal Donnelly and my wife Katie Ward. Cathal and I tend to be out running deliveries in our vans, while Katie looks after the phones and mans the office side of the business from our base in Co. Tyrone.

AG: How did the franchise opportunity present itself all those years after first enquiring?

PW: I knew of the previous occupant of the role and he really didn’t enjoy the driving part of the job, so when he started expressing his reservations, I was quick to plant a seed that I might be better suited to the role. I was just lucky really and seemed to be in the right place at the right time – I’ve not looked back since. I was exceptionally fortunate that I knew the chap really, without him passing the baton I don’t know what else I would have done?

AG: How many clients do you have on the books now?

PW: It sounds unbelievable, but we’ve amassed around 600 regular customers now. Some of them only buy a small amount of retail product from us, while others are bulk buyers with huge car wash empires who insist upon 25 – 200 litre containers of the most popular products.

AG: Are you finding there’s a particular trend around N. Ireland? Do you sell to more agricultural sites, or just purely the automotive sector?

PW: Not particularly, while we do sell rather a lot to the farming market nowadays, car valeting and dealerships remain the mainstay of our business. There’s always the chance to broaden your horizons if you can seek out the right clientele.

AG: Do you have any plans to expand and extend your area?

PW: No, not really, we’ve been going comfortably for a number of years now and should continue to do so. I won’t rule out the possibility of expansion one day, but to be honest we’re very happy with how the business is ticking along at the moment. There are certainly no plans to run before we can walk, although after 13 years I think we’ve got the recipe well and truly in hand.

AG: What’s the average day like for PW Autocare?

PW: Well, I tend to start between 7 – 8am most days and will work on through until I’m done. If that means returning home at 8 – 9pm some days, then so be it. Basically, if the customers require our products, we’ll deliver them no matter what. Once I get into an area, I tend to be there all day, so I probably cover around 500 miles a week on average. Our monthly rota means that we can be very predictable with our routes and plan the way points to suit.

AG: What’s the best thing about being associated with Autoglym?

PW: The sense of pride and passion that comes with the logo is incredible. There’s arguably not a person in all of Europe who doesn’t instantly recognise Autoglym as a brand. With such strong lineage and a collective of people who genuinely care about their product, the enthusiasm as a team, even though many of them are across the North Sea, spurs everyone on to do good things.

AG: Has Autoglym always been there if you needed any help?

PW: Most definitely. Whether it’s training based or technical info over the phone, I can’t speak highly enough of Gavin in the office. He’s been absolute class to deal with and is always there at the end of a phone if we need anything, anything at all.

AG: What’s the most popular product for you at the moment?

PW: For us we’ve seen a huge spike in interest for the Polar range. Ongoing though – Radiant Wax and Rubber Care remain excellent sellers for us.

AG: Thanks for your time Paul, long may Northern Ireland continue to adore the Autoglym shine.

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