HiQ Aiming for 275 Locations by 2013
HiQ bosses recently held the retail network’s first National Franchise Conference. The leading fast fit retailer organised a franchise networking event at the impressive Crewe Hall venue in Cheshire, where the company’s recently named new managing director, Juergen Titz, outlined HiQ’s vision to grow in the fast-fit and vehicle servicing market. The event gave HiQ the opportunity to have an open dialogue with its franchisees and inform them of the types of services open to them, such as online ordering technology, marketing support and new corporate identity graphics.
Despite trading in an unprecedented economic downturn, the company remained extremely upbeat about its future, mainly because of its National Franchise Programme. HiQ’s franchise structure is the only one of its kind in the fast fit industry, with 130 sites now run by 41 franchisees. By the end of February, this figure will rise to 138 sites and by the end of 2009, it is hoped that 170 centres will be franchised.
Franchise manager Peter Tye underlined HiQ’s ambitious plans for the long term as well, declaring that by 2013, there will be 275 locations dotted around Britain. Company managers had previously stated that they were aiming for 250 locations by 2010.
Goodyear Dunlop managing director Mark Brickhill told franchisees that recession must not be accepted, and declared that a partnership led structure will be fruitful in the long term: “We all know how tough times are, but so many of our franchisees are boasting some fantastic trading results. There are certainly opportunities to grow in a difficult environment. Successful businesses are all about leadership and those people who are innovative and determined to win will be successful.”
Marketing manager Geraldine McGovern said: “After rolling out our national franchise programme, it was important to get existing and new franchisees together, to tell them our vision for the future, and how important they are to the company. They were also introduced to a range of contacts, who will be available to them as they strive to make their businesses successful. A number of services were also underlined for them, which we want them to utilise in the future.” cja
HiQ Director Predicts ‘Bright New Dawn’
HiQ Retail Director Andy Morris has already set a bold New Year’s resolution for the fast fit company in response to “one of the busiest years imaginable.” HiQ, which has over 120 centres nationwide, announced a national franchise programme designed to speed up the transfer of Goodyear Dunlop owned stores long-term franchise agreements. If that wasn’t enough to keep them busy, the company also embarked on the first year of a three-year sponsorship of the British Touring Car Championship.
Looking forward to 2009 Morris is optimistic: “Our company New Year Resolution is to offer ‘fast fit you can be sure of’ and that is our new company message that you will be hearing more of. It will be relevant to every single one of our centres. It has certainly been a hectic year, but one which has put us in a far stronger position now than we were 12 months ago.
“We are unique in becoming the only national fast fit chain to unveil a radical franchise programme, and the results already show us that we are an attractive proposition to so many franchise partners, in spite of the economic climate we find ourselves in. Far from ‘selling off’ our centres, we are making a bold, sustained commitment to our network, and see this model of partnership as the best way to achieve success. With the franchisees we already have on board, and the new additions to be announced shortly, we are proving that partnership brings greater knowledge, meaning we can out perform company owned equity solutions.”
To coincide with HiQ’s national franchise programme, the company is significantly investing into its systems and online services to attract more customers and position the company as leaders in online fast fit technology. Each franchisee will be given greater exposure on the website, allowing every business manager to communicate directly to his or her customers, through interactive podcasts and blogs.
“While the New Year will present its share of challenges and opportunities, we feel that we have never been better prepared to deal with them,” Morris concluded.
Preston HiQ ‘bucking credit crunch trend’
Meanwhile managers at HiQ, Blackpool Road, Preston claim business has “never been better” with an average of 1,000 tyres a month being sold at the site. Corporate communications manager, James Bailey reportedly told the Lancashire Evening Post: “Even though we are in the midst of a credit crunch, people are not buying new cars like they used to and are instead turning to reputable centres like ourselves.”
Kisby’s Easy Autocentres Acquires 27 HiQ Outlets
A number of HiQ fast fit premises have been taken over by Chris Kisby’s Easy Autocentres. A total of 27 centres are included in the deal, including the company’s flagship Nottingham outlet. Following the acquisition from Goodyear Dunlop, Easy Autocentres is set to become one of the Midland region’s largest fast fit operators, with a turnover of around £10 million.
Kisby’s former role as managing director of Goodyear Dunlop’s HiQ operation puts him in a strong position to appreciate the value of the deal. “I recognised that the opportunity to acquire these units would provide a strong platforms in the Midlands,” said the Easy Autocentres managing director and majority shareholder. “We will seek to build, both organically and through acquisition, to be a significant player in the sector.”
The acquired centres include 12 freehold and 15 short leasehold properties.
HiQ Names Three More Franchisees
HiQ has attracted three new partners in its national franchise programme. HiQ now boasts more than 140 centres across Britain, having secured Alister McGill, who will take over the company’s Alnwick, Berwick and Sunderland outlets, adding to his existing Blyth and Gateshead centres. Gary Thomson will take on the Exeter, Bath, Honiton and Weston Super Mare stores with four experienced partners. Meanwhile, Phil Godfrey has added HiQ’s Banbury store to his Abingdon and Carterton businesses.
According to the company the latest announcement means HiQ’s national franchise plan is now more than half full, with all remaining partners to be announced in the coming months.
Alister McGill, aged 48, said the time had never been better to invest and expand his business, despite the current economic difficulties: “We are really bucking the trend in the motoring trade. Whereas retailers are having a tough time shifting cars as a result of a drop in spending, we are finding that an increasing number of people are keen to fix up or improve their current vehicles as a cost-cutting alternative. This also allows them to cut down on their emission as well as the cost of fuel, so it really is a great time to take on the extra HiQ centres.”
Gary Thomson, aged 40, already owns HiQ outlets in Walmley and Taunton, and is delighted to add four more outlets to his portfolio, alongside four senior partners with more than 50 years combined experience.
He said: “I have 25 years of experience in the industry, having been a mechanic for 15 years, and a regional manager for 10 years. So I am extremely confident about the future, not just for these HiQ outlets, but the fast fit sector generally.