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.
|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|