Driving Miss Daisy Daisy® Bath is one of our first franchises to launch in 2019 and is run by husband and wife team Sarah and Jo Webb. Sarah answered some questions on their reasons behind opening the franchise, their experiences and what’s worked well for them so far.
What attracted you to Driving Miss Daisy®?
We were both attracted to Driving Miss Daisy® as we realized it was a service we would like for our parents and children. We have both run our own business for many years and there was something about Driving Miss Daisy® that chimed with our feelings of wanting to make a real difference in our communities, particularly in challenging times when families are juggling the demands of caring for both children and elderly relatives whilst working, especially if they do not live close by.
Has there been anything unexpected that’s surprised you?
Where do I start?
We were told by other franchisees that we would become integral to the lives of our clients. Whilst we understood this conceptually it wasn’t until we started, that we truly began to understand the power of the service and how close we would become to our clients in many instances becoming firm friends. We get as excited as they do when we are taking them for outings or on holidays.
What’s your experience been like so far?
Our experience so far has been amazing, because of family circumstances last year we had to delay the launch of our business and the team at Driving Miss Daisy® could not have been more helpful and supportive. When we finally agreed a date to launch, everything was in place to get the wheels turning and the support from the Client Services Centre, adjacent franchisees, our designated mentor and from the Driving Miss Daisy® management was exemplary and ensured that we moved into operational status with the least amount of fuss and bother.
What’s worked well in promoting Driving Miss Daisy® in your area?
We have spoken to lots of social groups and organizations in our area and without exception they have all told us that they are glad we are here, as specialist transportation is a massive problem for all of them. We have pushed how truly flexible we can be and how clients must use us like family. We recently attended the Bath and NE Somerset Dementia Action Alliance – Dementia Friendly Conference at the Guildhall in Bath on the 7th February. The reception we got was beyond our wildest dreams and we are now running to catch up as orders have flooded in from a range of organizations who support people and families of people living with dementia. We are already looking to expand our fleet with more wheelchair accessible vehicles and companion drivers.
What would you say to someone thinking about opening a Driving Miss Daisy® franchise?
They have to realize that we are definitely not a taxi service. Whilst the vehicle and transportation is at the centre of our activities we also provide companion only services, twilight support to individuals and families and an integrated holiday service with partner organizations such as Mind For You, Disabled Holidays, Enable Holidays, and Limitless Travel to name but a few. To those starting out I would say, spend time really getting to understand the value of our service to our clients as it takes a while for this to sink in. Go out of your way for people, then they soon realize we are not taxis. The courtesy phone call the night before is essential for you and them. If family book you for a relative, give them a follow up email or call to tell them how well the trip went and thank them for their business.
Anything else you’d like to say about being a Driving Miss Daisy® Franchisee?
Our biggest tip is to follow what you are told in training. The training is excellent and based upon over 100,000 journeys so listen and implement because it works and it works well.