An enterprising Bradford couple who help keep other organisations on the road are in the fast lane to business success after investing in an award-winning franchise operation.
Husband and wife team Tim and Fiona Hennah, franchise owners of driver employment agency, Driver Hire, in Lower Wortley, Leeds, have recorded the highest-ever sales figures for the franchise’s Leeds West division in over 25 years and have turned over £1.2M in just two years since acquiring the franchise.
Tim took on the franchise after over thirty years in the leisure sector, with the last 17 spent as a corporate product and events manager for P&O Ferries. In 2020, just as the Covid 19 pandemic was impacting, Tim was made redundant and, aged 55, was left to ponder his next career move.
After conducting lots of research and realising that he no longer wanted to work directly for anyone, Tim considered a franchise model with Driver Hire, the UK’s largest specialist supplier of transport and logistics staff. It is also one of the UK's most successful and respected franchise brands.
Having decided that this was the right move for him and his family, he persuaded his wife Fiona to leave her career in healthcare at Bradford Royal Infirmary and join him in his business venture.
The couple were advised by Leeds-based chartered accountant Simon Gray, who, in addition to assisting the couple with investing their own money in the venture, helped them to access and secure funding, enabling them to acquire the Driver Hire Leeds West franchise from the previous franchisees.
Since taking over, Tim and Fiona have driven the business forward impressively. The franchise is expanding rapidly and is one of the fastest-growing, most successful Driver Hire franchises in the UK. There are currently over 100 active recruitment franchises nationwide.
Tim commented: “It’s been a whirlwind two years since taking over the franchise in the summer of 2021. The business we acquired had been running successfully for almost 30 years but was beginning to fade. We brought new levels of energy, fresh ideas and real commitment to the venture, and we haven’t looked back since. Many couples struggle to work together successfully, but it’s worked well for us with our particular strengths and skills complementing each other well. I’m focused on the strategic elements of the business, whereas Fiona is more about tactics and day-to-day operations. Working with our accountant, Simon Gray, was integral to getting the business up and running. It’s important to get the best professional advice when starting a business.
“We’re on course for our most successful year to date this year and the strongest ever for the Leeds West franchise. Last month we had a record-breaking month in terms of performance. Although recruitment is a highly competitive sector, the opportunities are massive, and we feel that our team offers a great deal of valuable experience and first-class customer service skills, which have helped us to build up a loyal customer and driver base. By the time we hit our fifth year, we hope to have grown the business to £2M turnover and increased from the current team of four to at least six or seven.”
The business is also exploring local community links and recently became a sponsor of Farsley Celtic FC for the 2023/24 season.
Added Simon Gray: “Tim and Fiona have had an incredible impact since taking on the Driver Hire franchise. They have brought so much in terms of interpersonal skills, customer service and focus to the initiative and have quickly established a very successful operation. Working very closely with the couple at the decision-making stage was key, helping them secure funding from various sources, and presenting accurate cash flow modelling and forecasts, which helped them to move forward with confidence and realise their business dreams. It’s great to see their business motoring on so successfully.”