When it comes to success in the fast fit industry, HiQ's longest serving franchisee likes to utter the 'F-Word' every now and then. John Dowling is quick to mention to the 'fun' element of his workplace, with both staff and customers alike. And it is this refreshing outlook that continues to serve him so well. The owner of HiQ Burgess Hill, West Sussex, has been a franchisee since 1997 and since picking up the keys he has kept every single member of staff to this day, whilst adding two more to the ranks. "I have had a lot of fun working here and I've had a lot of fun working with our customers. We are the same guys that were here 12 years ago and I think they appreciate this. "They all know me well. They know we're a bunch of grumpy old so-and-sos and they keep coming back! That has to be the secret of our success. "We strive to give every single person a transparent, honest, impressive service and our customer base would suggest that we achieve this." John was a keen onlooker when HiQ's accelerated franchise programme was launched in 2008, as he had already established a successful franchise business model himself.
He added: "The only surprise for me was that it took so long for this business model to be implemented. I have been very successful, and so have a great number of franchise partners so far. "You see a good number of them driving round in decent cars, which is a pretty good indicator." As well as the fun element of John's workplace, another reason behind his success story was attributed to his 'local heroes.' "All the guys here do their own thing and I think it is important to treat each member of staff equally, and to let them do their own thing. "Everyone does what they are capable of doing. That includes sweeping the floor and making the teas. "They are not hid away at the back of the forecourt. I make sure that they all get to know the customers and talk to them regularly. "It gets to the stage when they are specifically asked to carry out work and customers want to know when the guys are booking their holidays. "That is another really refreshing sight to see, and I want it to remain this way."