Later this year, former RAF electronics engineer Ian Kavanagh will happily renew his franchise agreement with gas-elec. He explains how the gas and electrical inspection franchisor has provided him with the civilian career he was looking for.
After 25 years in the Royal Air Force as an electronics engineer, 44 year old Ian Kavanagh, from Telford in Shropshire, was looking for the right career in civvy street.
“I had been researching different franchising opportunities for several years as I wanted to be my own boss when I left the Air Force,” he told us. “Whilst on detachment in Kuwait I came across gas-elec, which carried out engineering inspections required by law. So I set up to meet with the gas-elec team while on R&R, and put my notice in on my return. The rest, as they say, is history!”
Ian chose the franchise route as they have a proven business model, which gives a far greater chance of success, plus back up and support so necessary for any new business venture.
gas-elec was launched as a franchise in 1997 to provide gas and electrical safety inspections in the residential lettings sector. The business has grown rapidly into a national network of successful regional managers and local engineers. Today there are more than 126 franchisees operating from 18 regional offices.
“I slotted into the business from day one, which was partly because I was keen, but largely because the franchisor held my hand until I was ready to go it alone,” he explained. “Moving from the forces to civvy street was a complete culture shock. The mindset is very different from the ‘can do’ attitude in the services.”
“The first year was a steep learning curve and the priority was to turn a declining area into a growing one and to rebuild gas-elec’s reputation,” he said. “This I achieved with a great deal of co-operation from the engineers and guidance from the franchisor – everyone works as a team and strives for the common good.”
Ian took on the franchise in September 2004; while it wasn’t all plain sailing, by 2008 he had doubled the first year’s sales. “It’s gratifying to see the results for your efforts,” he added. “It’s all about providing an excellent reliable service, at a fair price, and naturally reaping the financial rewards that hard work deserves.”
Ian’s business has grown in value by the equivalent of an extra £1k for each month he has been with gas-elec. “I intend to continue that growth and need quality engineers with the right attitude to enable me to do so,” he said. “gas-elec is an excellent opportunity for people leaving the forces to generate a good level of income, where they have stability, and are rewarded financially for their efforts, without having to spend long stints away on detachment leaving worried loved ones behind.”
In spite of real challenges during 2008 and 2009, the growth of the network has continued to be healthy, although recruitment has continued at a slower pace than before, due partly to lack of finance in the current climate.
gas-elec is actively seeking and developing new revenue streams for the franchisees and recently embraced new technology, investing immense sums in increasingly sophisticated systems to create an internal and customer facing IT infrastructure that greatly benefits the business.
“This saves huge amounts of time and allows us to react instantly to customer and engineer enquiries, to analyse customer data and convert this into sales and marketing opportunities,” Ian explained.
Which may be why he has no doubts about signing up to gas-elec for another five years.
Founded in 1996, gas-elec carries out impartial safety inspections and light remedial works. Its unique inspection service provides the residential lettings market with multiple inspections of the gas and electrics in just one visit. gas-elec has more than 126 franchisees operating from 18 regional offices, who this year will carry out more than 120,000 safety inspections in domestic properties throughout the UK. For more information call 0800 015 2030, or visit www.gas-elec.co.uk.