The Wheel Specialist: Franchisee Interview

Run your own specialist alloy wheel refurbishment centre. Your own stunning workshop, with up to £150k proven annual income potential (per premises!)

The Wheel Specialist

In the UK
  Business Type:
  Minimum Investment:
  Training Provided:
  Part time:
  BFA Membership:
Member - Associate

The Wheel Specialist™ has been catering to a market growing beyond all expectation over the last 30+ years.

In the UK there are now 27 franchised branches of The Wheel Specialist.

We recently interviewed 3 of the Scottish Franchisees, William Forsyth of Aberdeen, Colin Smith of Glasgow South and Scott Christie of Glasgow North, and this is what they had to say about their experience with The Wheel Specialist.

Tell us about your background before you joined The Wheel Specialist?

Willie Forsyth: My background is based in the oil and gas sector in an engineering capacity, both in practical and in operations management, then a brief period in the automotive industry.

Scott Christie: I worked in the packaging industry in sales and senior management positions. This involved mainly B2B relationships, managing major national accounts where supply was from and to multiple sites.

Colin Smith: The 13 years prior to joining TWS were spent in the road haulage Industry. I’ve organised transport for various items such as Coca-Cola to local shops and supermarkets, generators for disaster relief efforts and deliveries of Scottish salmon around the world.

How did you hear about franchising and what due diligence was done?

Scott Christie: My wife is related to Lynda Welsh at TWS Newcastle and they introduced us to the business.

Colin Smith: I’ve always been aware that it was an option, just like I was also aware of the pros and cons.

Willie Forsyth: I was aware of franchising through the major brands. After initial discussions with the TWS franchisor, I carried out due diligence with regards to starting a new standalone company to carry out wheel refurbishments or look go the franchise route, which was the route I chose.

What attracted you to franchising and to The Wheel Specialist franchise model?

Colin Smith: I was looking at getting into the Motor Trade via the franchise route. The Wheel Specialist prospectus was very professional and went into a lot more depth than many of the others. A couple of phone calls and a visit to meet the people behind it sealed the deal.

Willie Forsyth: Wheel refurbishment in our area was available through a mobile service, with no recognised “drive in drive out” facility available. The TWS franchise model appealed as there were instant credit available with suppliers, the best equipment available, access to web generated enquiries and the model and process used was exactly what I was looking for.

Scott Christie: We liked the possibility of starting our own business quickly and with the benefit of high levels of support. We also found that obtaining business funding was easier when lenders could view the performance of other TWS franchises.

Have there been any challenges to being a franchisee?

Scott Christie: Our main challenge initially was raising finance, but as stated above being a franchise was helpful. As our business has matured and grown so too has our knowledge and experience, allowing us to give-back through supporting the wider franchise network on the group forums.
Willie Forsyth: No major challenge but without the backing from the franchisor I believe there would be more challenges going it alone, such as cashflow, suppliers, no instant credit, etc.

Colin Smith: Biggest challenge I faced was opening just after the financial crash of 2008. Funding was proving difficult and many landlords were looking for big rental deposits on premises.

What has been your proudest moment since joining The Wheel Specialist?

Colin Smith: Setting up the Edinburgh branch from scratch. I went to Edinburgh not knowing a single person or having even one wheel to refurbish. Very quickly the branch became successful and on a personal level I was accepted and respected within the Edinburgh Motor Trade. I then sold that business, moved to Glasgow and started another franchise here.

Scott Christie: It was gratifying to see our business success awarded with “Best Overall Performing Franchise” on two occasions, and for our team, it was a proud moment when we first topped the monthly league tables.

Willie Forsyth: For me it was as simple as taking the model, selling, and seeing year on year development in both profitability and customer numbers.

What are your goals for your business?

Willie Forsyth: To continue to develop our client base, profitability and with a view to making my company a sellable asset if I wish to in the future.

Colin Smith: I’m sure I don’t differ from many Small business owners in the current climate. Priority number one is always to keep the business profitable and at the top of the game in its respective sector. I’m doing that. Long term is all about becoming the first name on people’s lips when considering wheel refurbishment in the South Glasgow area.

Scott Christie: Our goal is to continue to manage our business, to meet our performance targets despite variable demands across our customer base and market place. We have a clear goal of developing our staff capabilities to ensure that expertise in all areas of the business remain well established.

And lastly, do you have any advice for someone who is looking into franchising?

Colin Smith: Research. Get to know the people behind the shiny brochure. If possible, speak to franchisees of the business. A franchisor with nothing to hide will be proactive in this. Also, stick to something you have an interest in, it makes things easier all round.

Scott Christie: As with starting any new business, you must be prepared to sacrifice much in your personal life to devote time and energy to whatever requirement the business throws up. You should work out a detailed time-based action plan towards opening the business, and should not be distracted by non-urgent or unproductive initiatives. You should set out a short-term budget (1 year) and be in control of all costs relative to your sales line. You should set yourself longer term goals (5 years) and measure your performance towards these annually

Willie Forsyth: Carry out due diligence on your market place and if there is a niche in your area for the product, have faith in your ability and go for it.

The Wheel Specialist franchise opportunity is your chance to own a business capable of hitting the ground running from the day you start. The Wheel Specialist’s target market is vast, –anyone who owns a vehicle or works in the automotive industry. The online system delivers you hot leads 24/7 to a bespoke customer management system developed solely for your business.

You will have access to a developed and devoted franchise support team that concentrates on you as an individual, delivering bespoke and personalised help, guidance and advice to suit your situation. So much of the hard work is done for you so that you can utilise the documents, systems and tools fast and effectively to help make your business a true success.

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