Thrifty Car and Van Rental: Brian Richmond

Brian Richmond on driving his way to profit in the car hire business

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Name: Brian Richmond
Franchise: Thrifty Car and Van Rental
Cost of start-up: £10,000

Thanks to mounting frustrations with public transport in the UK, the British love affair with the car doesn’t look like ending any time soon. This is all good news for Brian Richmond, who owns a successful Thrifty Car Rental franchise in Ayr.

The back-story

“From working part time in the Thrifty Aberdeen branch, I saw how much support I could receive being part of a franchise network,” explains Brian. “After witnessing the success of Thrifty Aberdeen, I realised that I could become part of a good thing too!

“Due to the experience that I gained from the part time work in Aberdeen, I knew I had the commitment to run my own business and so the process only took five months from my startup idea to the first day of trading,” he says.

The franchise

Thrifty has certainly exploited the growing popularity of car rentals, and is now the world’s sixth largest company of it’s kind, operating in over 60 countries across the globe. A 90 per cent franchised business, Thrifty launched opened it’s first UK office in 1991 and now has  over 75 branches across the country.

“Being part of a franchise network mean that you have the back up and support of an established business,” says Brian. “Thrifty have offered me a proven business format providing continual support which has been an immense help and made me feel that I am not going it alone.”

Starting up

Although Thrifty was on hand to offer financial advice, Brian had fortunately saved enough money to set up his franchise without assistance. On top of the initial £10,000 franchise fee, Brian has had to stump up for the working capital, payment of stocks, bills and continuing fees – bringing the total cost to £100,000.

Life as a franchisee

Brian now works an average of 65 hours a week to keep the franchise ticking over, but he can rely on the Richmond family to help out – wife Linda is a co-director and son Steven helps run the fleet of cars.

So, apart from sharing the workload with your family, what does Brian think helps when taking on a franchise?

“My top tip is to set yourself small achievable goals,” he advises. “You have to take one step at a time and take professional advice and support from the franchisor.

“Research is a key factor – you have got to assess your own suitability and motivation as well as assessing the suitability of the franchisor.

“Anyone considering running a franchise should be convinced that they themselves are driven, determined and enthusiastic,” Brian says.

However, problems do occur, and in Brian’s case changing regulations and legal requirements have proved to be a slight headache, a situation many entrepreneurs will identify with.

“Issues such as disabled entrances and exits, health and safety, sewerage and planning factors that have a constant need to be updated, can be problematic as they are ongoing,” he explains.

Despite this, Brian is very satisfied with how his franchise has gone from strength to strength and has no real regrets.

“I am happy with the way things have run in the past and I would not change anything.

“Maybe I should have invested in a Thrifty franchise sooner!” he says.

Brian now works an average of 65 hours a week to keep the franchise ticking over.

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