From day one, Andy could see the enormous potential that exists in the retail mobility sector. For him no day is the same, each one brings new opportunities and challenges in what is an exciting and emerging market. Andy has been running his Ableworld franchise since 2008 and his business has been going from strength to strength.
The day starts with a short journey from his home to his mobility superstore in Birkenhead. The store, which has recently undergone an extensive expansion, really stands out with the distinctive Ableworld branding.
Andy now employs four members of staff to help run the business, including a dedicated engineer who is fully trained to repair, service and maintain the larger items which the store sells such as mobility scooters and riser-recliner chairs. Andy is proud of his innovative ‘scooter surgery’ which allows customers to see their scooters being serviced!
After having a cup of tea with his staff and giving a quick brief, Andy prioritises the day’s tasks. He has a superb team whom he has confidence in to offer customers great customer service and expert product knowledge on everything from wheelchairs to smaller items which help with day to day tasks such as dressing sticks and supports.
Andy loves to get hands on with the stairlift side of the business, and this morning he’s got a straight stairlift installation lined up. As an Ableworld franchisee, Andy received training to cover the whole process from quote to fit, to service to aftercare and consequently can offer customers a first class and fair service. It was the Ableworld ethics which stood out for Andy. No pressure selling salesman, all staff DBS checked and a commitment to providing quality products to suit the customer’s needs. Andy finds that he often beats local competition which are typically ‘one-man bands’ who don’t have the backing of a national brand with the buying power and name recognition this brings.
“With Ableworld you get the expertise and support from people who have ‘been there, done that’. They have systems and processes which have worked in the past and which we have proved can work in the future.”
The customer is very pleased with their new lift which now enables them to enjoy the whole of their house once again. Andy has prioritised his tasks well, and after fitting the lift he’s able to head in the same direction to quote for a new customer who has been recommended Ableworld by a neighbour.
If the morning was about delivering great customer service and building lasting relationships, Andy’s afternoon is focussed on business development. He gets a lot of support from Head Office with this, they run monthly adverts in his area and are constantly analysing marketing efforts to assess what works and what doesn’t. Today Andy’s got a meeting lined up with a group of local Occupational Therapists to see if they can work together. Ableworld are accredited Community Equipment Dispensers and as a trusted retailer are able to provide prescription equipment for customers who are referred to them from health workers.
Following a constructive meeting, Andy gets a phone call from the franchise support manager to discuss the date for his next support visit. Having dedicated franchise support is so important, as occasionally like in all businesses there are blips, but having someone there is very reassuring. With new opportunities and challenges each day, Andy is kept on his toes but is finding being his own boss very rewarding:
“Of course it’s hard work but then so is working for someone else – the difference is that you get to create wealth for yourself and your family rather than someone else.”