Franchise Focus: Driving Miss Daisy UK

After incredible success internationally in Canada & New Zealand, Paul & Ada Nuth have brought it to the UK with operations beginning at the start of 2015.

Below is their story and their plans for the future.

Our Story – Driving Miss Daisy

One – ‘Daisy’ Spotting

Devonport is a beautiful colonial suburb on Auckland’s North Shore  with views across the harbour to the city center. It was during a visit here that a “Daisy” was spotted in a driveway along the Devonport foreshore.

The “Daisy” spotting was done by Ada Nuth who, with husband Paul, were taking a month to discover Auckland following Paul’s escape from the Corporate world a few months earlier by means of voluntary redundancy.

The infamous 'Daisy' spotted in New Zealand

Spending February in the sunshine in New Zealand was considered an ideal place to consider the future given that playing golf for the next 10 years was not on the radar quite yet!

On pointing out the “Daisy” Paul become intrigued, took photographs of the vehicle and had a instant flashback to the film he had seen some 25 years earlier, and thus understanding what Driving Miss Daisy probably was – a driving service helping people in the community.

Driving Miss Daisy

Understanding the acute need for Community Companionship Driving in the UK Paul registered 2 Internet Domain names that day (Driving Daisy and Driving Daisy Lee) with the intention of starting a small community enterprise Companion Driving Service in Lee on the Solent where he and Ada lived.

Two – Research, Research, Research

On returning to UK in early March Paul quickly did what consultants do – research! Firstly, he went to the website that was on the side of the photographed “Daisy” and to his amazement he found a very successful Driving Miss Daisy Franchised business (55 plus Franchises) covering the whole of New Zealand achieved in a little over 5 years.

The franchise started when Melanie Harper started driving her elderly Aunt around. Given that Melanie had a full time job as well as three kids and a husband, her Aunt felt that she was sometimes caused an imposition each time she needed to be driven somewhere. This led her to stop using Melanie’s kindness and paid someone to companion drive her at a time of her choosing – giving her much more control.

Melanie however, enjoyed her time so much that she thought there might be wider demand for such a service, and as such started “Melanie’s Companion Driving Service” in the Hawkes Bay area of North Island in New Zealand. Demand for her service grew so quickly that is soon become apparent to Melanie that a business could be developed whilst delivering a service that really made a difference to her community.

Driving Miss Daisy

It did not take long for her husband Jack to become involved, and soon the decision was taken to build a substantive service operation by franchising – adopting the name “Driving Miss Daisy”. After further research, it became apparent that the name existed with with a similar business in Canada which had been established 10 years earlier.

The special “Daisy” means of transport (the Skoda Roomster) seen in the pictures here was found by Melanie in her search for a vehicle to meet the very specific needs for supporting the elderly with their transport requirements. Frail elderly people need a smaller vehicle with a width that allows them to back into the vehicle and then swing legs in with the seat at the right height. The rear van like shape is ideal to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs.

Three – New Zealand to Hampshire

Paul’s next action was to get a better understanding of what the situation in terms of need was at home in the UK.

An simple enquiry was made – do your services and business operate in the UK ? Paul received a straightforward answer – no, but are you interested in the business and/or the services that we offer? Paul replied – yes, both. This led to a series of emails discussing Paul’s background and feasibility of bringing the service to the UK.

Driving Miss Daisy

A conference call was arranged with Driving Miss Daisy CEO Jack Harper in March of 2014 and by early May a decision was taken to launch Driving Miss Daisy in the UK.

In less than a year Driving Miss Daisy has established itself in four English counties, Hampshire followed by Wiltshire, Dorset and Surrey. All of the supply chains are in place and the first vehicles are beginning to appear to offer their services.

Four – ‘Driven’ to Help the Community

At the heart of the reason for Paul’s decision to be instrumental in bring Driving Miss Daisy was the need and the desire to make a difference, as well as building a community based enterprise which provided opportunities for people to own and operate small business who employed others.

Driving Miss Daisy’s core value is to be a key part of helping people to live as they choose and to meet need for remaining socially engaged, getting out of where they live for all the various day to day activities whatever they may be.

Our communities are rapidly ageing and it can often feel as though the elderly, the physically and cognitively challenged are facing more isolation than ever before. Driving Miss Daisy believe that the best way to reverse this trend requires a comprehensive and integrated approach to community services based on enterprise.

Five – The Future

The initial response has been overwhelmingly positive with the desire for there to be franchises established county wide as quickly as possible. The structure is ready and the first franchise is in place (Lee on the Solent area).

More will follow with those who choose join the Driving Miss Daisy team in Hampshire and the other counties of the United Kingdom.

Paul & Ada are determined to make Driving Miss Daisy a national success story, and are looking for driving individuals to help push out this community focused franchise. Take a look at some of the Driving Miss Daisy opportunities that are available now.

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James Coombs

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