Franchisee Profile – Ian Smith of Practical Sittingbourne

We are running a series of Franchisee Profiles on some of our locations – some are new to the Practical network, some have been with us for years.  We want to find out a little more about them and what makes our franchisees tick.  

This month’s profile is Ian Smith, from our Sittingbourne franchise.

Ian, along with his team, John and Bev,  have been with Practical for 12 years now, since 2001.   Ian’s other business is CAT Automotive, which supplies motor consumables  to local companies.   They have a large and varied fleet, ranging from small cars to motor homes and even 7.5 tonne trucks.    Sittingbourne is one of our Premier Club locations and received the prestigious Harold Williams Award for Excellence in 2011.


Ian Smith - Owner, Practical Sittingbourne



Where did you grow up? Whitstable Kent
What was your first job after you left school? Dog Handler
What was your first vehicle? Vauxhall HA Van
Why did you join Practical and when? For some strange reason I had always wanted to hire out vans and cars and when my main business became stable I made the leap of faith and joined Practical 13 years ago
What were your expectations of joining a franchise? Backup and industry Advise
How has the rental business changed since you joined Practical? Expectation of quality of vehicle’s has become higher while expecting prices to fall. No one locally taking deposits.
What does Practical bring to you over being an independent rental operator? A great annual conference which gives an opportunity to understand what other Franchises are experiencing. Support of a national group without the ties
How could you improve your rental turnover going forward? More specialist vehicles and long term rentals /leasing
What do you do in your day to day role? According to John and Bev nothing !! but I do have to run another business to run as well
What do you think the future will bring in our industry? Hopefully the big finance  houses will realise that rental can’t go on being a lost leader and sensible returns will be required from their masters allowing the market to add value to the service we all offer
What vehicle do you drive now? Audi A5
Describe yourself in 5 words committed,  understanding , forward thinking ,hands-on, energetic