Based in Kent, the couple offer valeting and detailing, as well as electronic installations, including audio systems, parking sensors LED lights and cameras. They work on cars predominantly, but also pleasure boats, yachts and light aircraft.
Andy had wanted to be a soldier from a very young age and joined the Army straight from school at age 16. He served in the Royal Artillery 1st RHA for five years before family responsibilities meant he had to come out, though Andy later served as a Reservist with 150 RLC Regiment for another four years.
“I loved my Army days and, in hindsight, I wish I hadn’t left so soon. I used to fit car speakers for mates in the Army. It was just a hobby but I loved it. I held a variety of civilian jobs, including working in a hotel where I met Trish, and most recently a Technician for Halfords installing audio systems, when I realised my hobby was a valuable skill that I could make money from. Trish was managing a Starbucks branch, with lots of customer service skills, so we felt we would make a great team to go into something together.”
Andy and Trish accessed a Start Up Loan of £17,000 through X-Forces Enterprise (XFE) to buy a reliable van, in order to launch as a mobile business, as well as polishers and a pressure washer. They also invested in training, both attending an intensive Professional Detailing course with master detailer and fellow Army veteran, Tony Spears. XFE allocated the couple a personal Business Advisor who closely supported them through the planning process and the 12 months post-launch, in a programme supported by the Royal British Legion.
“Having support from XFE has made a huge difference. Dax has been an amazing help, he’s in contact every month and encourages us to meet our goals and we’re proud to report back to him on them. He’s always there if we need help or have any questions. The Forces community is still a big part of my life; an ex-Army colleague contracts us to look after their company vehicles and we are proud to offer a discount for serving personnel and veterans.”
When Andy and Trish first launched Carfreqz, they focused on building their reputation for delivering quality detailing to set themselves apart from the numerous hand car wash and valeting providers in the area. Just as their customer base was growing, the pandemic hit.
“It was a challenging period. First, we had to overcome the stigma behind lesser quality providers in the area, there are quite a few. Then came COVID and lockdown, which caused no end of issues. We were not eligible for the government schemes as we hadn’t been trading long enough, and couldn’t set up a business account. We thought we wouldn’t be able to work at all, but we kept pushing forward and worked out a contact-free service within the regulations. During all this, we were also helping to care for Trish’s grandfather. Luckily we got through it all, and we are all the stronger because of overcoming those challenges.”
Reflecting on their progress so far, Andy couldn’t be happier with their new life as business owners. Trish and Andy will be married in the summer and are looking forward to growing their business into permanent premises.
“For many years I installed audio and washed cars as a hobby. Now I have the best job in the world as the hobby that I love is now my own company. Using all my experience, I have created a business that puts smiles on faces and music in people’s ears. Together with my partner, Trish, we have an amazing company that provides customers with the best service that we can offer, plus we have the improved work-life balance we were looking for.
“We love getting to meet different customers on a daily basis, and Trish loves all their dogs! Every day is different; one day we are working on a 27ft yacht and the next on a Microlight. I wish we had started the business a long time ago.”
In February 2022, Carfreqz won Vehicle Detailing Business of the Year 2021/2022 in the South England Prestige Awards.
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For more information about Andy and Trish’s business, visit: