Kevin shuns factory life to launch his own repair business

A FORMER machine operator who had worked in factories since leaving school aged 16 has launched his own business repairing people’s household white goods.

Kevin Burnett, 30, of Chester-le-Street, spent years working in factories, such as Komatsu, in Birtley, and jumped at the chance to become his own boss by buying a franchise of growing North East company, 0800 Repair.

Kevin now covers the Durham and Darlington areas under the 0800 Repair banner, repairing people’s white goods such as washing machines and dishwashers.

“I used to programme machines in factories and I’d done that all my working life,” said Kevin. “I’d wanted to get out of factory work and be my own boss for around eight years. Then I heard about 0800 Repair’s franchises and I decided to go for it.

“What I did before was very repetitive whereas every day is different now. I took a bit of a risk doing it during a recession and with a new baby but it has paid off. I can do what hours I want and the work is always steady because you have the backing of a big company.”

Chester-le-Street-based 0800 Repair launched the franchise side of the business after meeting Jim Zockoll, the founder of home repair company Dynorod, who built his business into one of the largest and most successful franchise models in the UK.

Paul Feek, managing director of 0800 Repair, said: “We’re hoping to develop a further 150 franchises over the next five years.

“It’s ideal for people like Kevin who want to be their own boss but want the security of having a big company behind them.”

0800 Repair currently employs more than 100 staff at its call centres and has a network of 400 sub-contracted engineers.

It is in the process of creating another 60 jobs for call centre workers over the next two years – 45 of them in Chester-le-Street – as it expands.

0800 Repair, which is part of the Pacifica Group, is expecting to see a turnover of £12m in 2009/2010, with plans to more than double that figure by 2014.

The company has a repair centre based in Spennymoor, County Durham; a 25,000 sq ft distribution and repair centre in Elland, West Yorkshire; an IT centre in Surbiton, Surrey, and call centres in Chester-le-Street and Rotherham.

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