Scots car valeting franchise targets 31 million drivers with new tech

A car valeting business founded five years ago in Edinburgh has 31 million drivers in its sights after the launch of a “revolutionary” tech platform.

Fresh franchisee Jason Bell, founder and chief executive Sam Brennan and chairman Tino Nombro, pictured in Edinburgh. Picture: Stewart Attwood
Fresh franchisee Jason Bell, founder and chief executive Sam Brennan and chairman Tino Nombro, pictured in Edinburgh. Picture: Stewart Attwood

Founded by Sam Brennan in 2015 from the back of his father’s car in the capital, Fresh Car Valeting has developed a technology platform, site and soon-to-be launched app that utilises a franchisee model to deliver highly professional car care services.

The firm, which is a recent Scottish Edge and STV winner, is looking to tap into a UK-wide market valued at more than £1.2 billion.

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The venture is backed and advised by a number of top tech entrepreneurs and figures from Scotland’s business scene including Ambergreen founder Tino Nombro, NatWest Group’s head of public affairs Michael Crow, Alex Watts, who is the founder of Lettingweb.com and Kingsford Estates, and Paywizard Group founder Jonathan Guthrie.

Crow, Watts and Guthrie are all non-executive directors on Fresh’s board while Nombro, who sold digital marketing firm Ambergreen to Canada’s DAC Group in 2016, was appointed as chairman earlier this year.

The company already services more than 15,000 customers in nine cities and locations across the UK. Since the onset of the pandemic, the business has experienced a significant upswing in activity and has doubled its number of franchisee operators while launching in Falkirk, Stirling, the Scottish Borders, Greater Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham, Sheffield and Doncaster.

Founder and chief executive Brennan said he wanted to “revolutionise the way people manage their car care”.

He said: “We want to change the way people manage their cars, initially through cleaning and basic car care, we then want to introduce more complex car care services like tyres, oil and paint repairs.

“After that, through the Fresh app, we will be able to manage every aspect of car care. Overall, we want to make life as easy as possible for our customers.”

The firm will continue to extend its network of franchisee operators in Scotland and the north of England over the coming months. It is looking to embark on its first external investment round in 2021 when the company plans to expand its geographical footprint to other regions of the UK including the south east of England and London.

Brennan added: “Fresh is both a technology company and a car care services business, so our focus over the next 12 months is to ensure we’re building the product our customers want while maintaining a high level of customer service throughout our franchisee network.

“In terms of our franchisees, what we’re seeing is that Fresh is helping people start their own business and that has been really empowering. We’re creating employment during Covid, hiring people who have been made redundant and helping to boost local economies.”

Nombro said: “We’re excited about what Sam and the team at Fresh are building. It’s already a standout business in the context of the UK market and you have to go to North America to find equivalent companies who have developed a tech platform and business model which matches our offering.”

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