After over 20 years as a head teacher and schools inspector in North Wales, Welsh speaker Eifion Watkins is putting his management skills to good use in a whole new career as owner of Revive! Gogledd Cymru.
He had always planned to retire from teaching at the age of 55, so with retirement from Ysgol Gynradd Bodern looming, two years ago he set about planning the next phase of his life.
Retiring completely wasn’t an option. He didn’t want to become one of those men who, as he puts it ‘just wander round the garden looking for weeds after retirement’. Instead he wanted something completely different that would keep his brain active, restore his work-life balance and provide the opportunity to build a family business.
Options considered and quickly discarded included supply teaching or delivery driving, but the more he looked into franchising the more appealing the business model became.
“After over 30 years in education I knew I wanted to retire at 55 and find a completely new work challenge away from teaching. I loved what I did but I’d had enough of working 12 hours a day, six days a week.”
“I’ve always had an interest in cars and was looking for opportunities in the automotive industry. As I looked into possible management franchises, Revive! ‘s name kept popping up. I was attracted to their professionalism and longevity of the brand which is endorsed by the numerous awards they’ve won over the years. For me it was the perfect match. Revive! is in the right industry and I have the transferable management skills they were looking for.”
From the initial conversation to business launch took almost exactly one year. Explained Eifion: “Taking such a huge step can’t be rushed. The recruitment process on both sides was extremely thorough, and gave Revive! and me the to opportunity to take a good hard look at each other! I must have had two or three interviews along the way, and was extremely impressed by the professionalism and continual support I have received from the whole head office team. I like the family feel of the company which echoes the way in which I used to regard my own staff when I was in education.”
Commented Cathryn Hayes, director of franchising at Revive!: “We have been looking to expand into North Wales for several years now and are delighted to welcome Eifion into the Revive! family. His management background in education and determination to build a business for his family’s future are exactly the qualities we look for in a new franchisee and as a local Welsh speaker he will be fully equipped to engage with the unique demographics of his territory.”
“Franchisee recruiting for us is all about making sure we choose the right people for Revive! and we are happy for it to take as long as it needs to. We have built our reputation on delivering extremely high standards, both in terms of the quality of our work and the level of service we provide to all our customers. As the only network of accredited repairers we always aim high when it comes to recruitment. We want people who want to manage and grow a business not just paint cars.”
Eifion launched Revive! Gogledd Cymru with two vans and two accredited technicians. North Wales is one of the first territories to have a duel purpose van, fully equipped to carry out repairs to both vehicle bodywork and alloy wheels. He plans to increase his fleet to four vans within two years to provide a comprehensive service covering the whole of his area as demand increases.