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CEO bangs the drum

Chris Chidley, Driver Hire’s Chief Executive, was in an upbeat mood at the company’s Winter Conference, held at the Nottingham Belfry. Over 100 delegates attended the event which focused on team-work and learning from others. To demonstrate the benefits of working together, the day rounded off with delegates learning how to play samba rhythms under the expert guidance of ‘Back Beat’.

But before this explosion of noise, Driver Hire franchisees enjoyed a Conference crammed with new and thought provoking ideas intended to spark light bulb moments of inspiration. In his keynote speech, Chris Chidley congratulated everyone in the network on what he described as “a remarkable year”. He added that the past 12 months had been exceptional with a 27% increase in turnover with over half the network growing by 25% or more. The week running up to Christmas had proved to be the second best in the company’s 27 year history.

Looking at some of the stories behind the success, Chris highlighted the phenomenal growth in Driver CPC which, from a standing start a year ago, has seen 4,000 drivers trained on 468 courses. Elsewhere he cited the supply of 150 multi-drop drivers at short notice to a major parcel company. And he was also delighted with the continued growth of Driver Hire’s National Accounts offering, now delivering 21% of annual turnover.

Delegates were inspired and encouraged by guest speakers. Ruth Waring from road transport consultants, Labyrinth gave invaluable insight on the challenges facing clients. Also on-hand was the MD of on-line training business, Virtual College. Franchisees from Lincoln, Enfield and Aberdeen shared some of their experience and business tips. Awards were presented to top performing offices. This year’s Franchisee of the Year is George Griffiths (Bury St Edmunds). Other award winners included Stockport, Teesside, Birmingham and Oxford.

Looking ahead, whilst there is still some economic uncertainty, Chris was very optimistic. “Uncertainty is good for our business. It encourages customers to use temporary staff,” he said. “But there are opportunities for permanent placements, selling Driver CPC training and through National Accounts. We’ve got great products, great services, a great business and a great brand."

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