Startups Awards Hall of Fame: Driver Hire

The franchisee winner talks breaking turnover records, hiring staff and how the Startups Awards provides recognition for businesses of all sizes

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Gary Riches from Driver Hire, the UK’s biggest specialist supplier of staff to the transport and logistics industry, won 2013’s Franchisee of the Year Award after he impressed the judges with his ambition, passion, and significant turnover and profit growth.

Driver Hire provide short-term or permanent drivers to private and public organisations and Riches highlights that his branch’s success, which reached a turnover of over £1m this year, is because of his emphasis on helping the local community.

Startups caught up with Riches to hear about what he and his Colchester office have been up to since winning.

What’s happened in the last year since you entered the Startups Awards?

In the last year we have carried on growing and we finished the financial year with a growth of 125% for the 12 months. We have also managed to break two significant records; we turned over more than £1m and we broke the weekly record in week five of this year.

What’s been the single biggest highlight for the business since winning?

Since we won the award, breaking the £1m turnover mark in 12 months has been our biggest achievement. Even back in January I did not think that we would achieve it as January and February are traditionally very quiet months – but this year we did not experience a big downturn in business at all.

What are you hoping to achieve in the next year or so?

I have taken on an apprentice and my office staff are now at a standard that I am very happy with, letting me concentrate on other parts of our business so I can work on growing our training area of the business. This will help the long term growth of our core business. I will also be working on permanent recruitment away from the drivers’ side of the business and this will increase long term net profit.

What did winning at the Startups Awards mean to you?

Winning the awards has been good for me from an external perspective. We have been lucky to win internal awards in the franchise, but to be recognised away from Driver Hire is very satisfying as it gives me confidence that we are doing things the right way for both our clients and drivers.

Would you recommend entering awards like this?

Yes I would recommend entering even if you don’t win because getting to the final round is still a great way to be recognised for the hard work you put in. Also it doesn’t matter what size your businesses is, as at the time we only had four people in the office and we were competing against people with far greater numbers of employees and bigger turnovers.

Stay tuned for more catch-ups from our former Startups Awards winners – and if you think you’ve got what it takes to be a Startups Awards 2014 winner, enter now!  

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