Aspray: Interview With Successful Franchisee David Rayner
Franchise Location: Aspray Darlington
Years With Aspray: 4
When did you first hear about Aspray’s franchise opportunity?
I had suddenly been made redundant after 23 years with my current employers when their business was put into administration. I started to explore my options, and franchising was one of these; I came across Aspray while researching different franchising opportunities which met my earnings objectives and skill set.
What attracted you to the Aspray Franchise opportunity?
My father was in the building industry as a quantity surveyor. As a child, I spent many years shadowing him on site visits and I have always had an interest in buildings, therefore the Aspray franchise opportunity grabbed my attention. While completing my initial research on Aspray I recognised the earning potential available, and therefore it became an attractive proposition.
Quote of the day
Work to live, don’t live to work.
Who is your inspiration?
Anyone who is successful despite previously being told what they are planning to do is impossible.
I have been in this situation, and know other people with the same experience who have inspired me through their self-belief to go ahead despite what others say and make things work
Tell me about your career before joining the Aspray network.
As previously mentioned I was with my previous employer for 23 years, working for a large business within the paper industry; my most recent role was National Accounts Manager. Within this role I was managing complex relationships, and I specialised in looking after franchise printing businesses with multiple sites. My main responsibilities were to secure and maintain approved supplier status with the leaders of these groups, and I was heavily involved with sales and business development.
Before joining Aspray, what short / mid / long term goal did you have in mind?
Initially my short-term goal was to ensure my mortgage was paid at the end of each month. As self-employment was a new avenue for me, it was my main priority to ensure my family were provided for.
However, my long-term goal has never changed, I strive to retire with an income that will provide me and my wife with a comfortable living and allow us to support our family when needed
How did it feel when you initially signed your franchise agreement?
I remember the day like it was yesterday, I was very excited by having a new challenge in a different business environment from what I was used to. I knew this avenue had great potential for success financially, but I also knew making a business successful, franchise or not, required a large amount of work if I was to achieve the rewards financially.
Do you remember the first claim you dealt with? If so, tell me about your initial experience / thoughts at that time.
I still look back at my first claim and think about how far I have come. My first claim was a 300-year listed building with a complex roof structure. This claim was definitely a steep learning curve, I remember being overwhelmed with the support from head office at each stage.
What has been the most surprising element while being with Aspray?
As I had never previously been self-employed, I was unaware how much time day to day running of your own business requires, from admin to accounts.
However, the CRM system investment by Aspray is a significant help to keep you on track.
If we're sitting here a year from now celebrating what a momentous year it's been for you, what did you achieve?
As I have just completed my second year with Aspray, I would like to grow my business turnover to exceed my initial predictions for year 3.
What is your superpower?
I have a great ability to ask the right questions at the right time.
Name 3 of your skills.
Firstly, hearing what is being said, too many people do not listen to what’s being said, and therefore they miss vital information. I have great patience, and finally I also have the ability to come up with solutions that work.
How and when did you develop these skills?
In my previous employment I was dealing with business people daily. Anyone who works in a customer facing role will understand everyone they deal with is different, and to successfully manage business relationships they have to be able to adapt their approach
What is the most challenging claim you have come across?
In a nut shell, a very unlucky policyholder has two insurance claims for the same property, both with the same cause but on different days. I have worked with the policyholder through investigations by the insurance company, who had suspicions about the validity of the claim. This has been challenging in many ways, however I am pleased to say with the help and support of Head Office, and utilising the skills I brought with me, a successful outcome has been achieved
What type of relationship do you like to hold with your policy holders?
I consider myself friendly but professional at all times.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Each day I know I am going to learn something new. Every day is different and that’s what makes Aspray exciting.
What is your focus when dealing with a policyholder?
Initially my focus is to gather as much information as possible; from then on in it is to ensure the policyholder understands each stage of the process. Communication is the key.
What have you learnt from previously employment that you have brought to Aspray?
Negotiation was a large factor within my previous employment, and that has helped me build my business significantly; however, persistence and patience have also been great skills to have brought from my previous working life and then develop further. Thanks to my experience of working within a large organisation, I can manage pressure without getting stressed.
What difference has Aspray made in your life?
The future is mostly in my own hands, and this gives me a profound sense of control that I have not felt previously.
What makes you feel accomplished?
There are a lot of aspects of the job that make me feel accomplished, however the main satisfaction is having more money in the bank at the end of month than the beginning.
What’s your philosophy in life?
To deliver a high-quality service for a fair reward.
What are the small things that make your day better?
The simple ‘thank you’ you received from a policyholder or introducer.
What is your main focus with an introducer?
As the Aspray service is one you may unfortunately have need to call on when distressed, it is important that introducers understand the benefits of the Aspray service so they can promote it effectively to their network of contacts
If you could give a policyholder any advice what would it be?
I would encourage all policyholders to read their policy and understand their responsibilities within the agreement; if a policyholder understands their policy nasty surprises are less likely
What is your focus moving forward?
I will continue to build relationships within my local area. I will continue to make a difference through educating the people I meet about the Aspray service.
So, David, let’s get to know you!
If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what rule would you make?
Learn from the experience and don’t make the same mistake twice.
What do you wish you could tell yourself 10 years ago?
Have the confidence to look for an opportunity to become self-employed.
What do you do when you are not working?
I spend my spare time volunteering as a director of heritage railway project; we are currently creating a new heritage railway centre on a route closed by British Railways in 1962
When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?
Usually people just want an ear to listen – they already know what they need to do but just need a bit of help seeing that
Tell me about your family
I have an amazing wife Hazel, and we have 3 children who we are extremely proud of.
If your entire life was a movie, what title would best fit?
War and Peace
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