FORMER RAF fitter Martyn Ross is cleaning up in civvy street.
Thirty-five-year-old Martyn, from Newbottle, founded Cozmic Car Wash two years ago with help from Business Link and last year received backing from the Royal British Legion’s Be The Boss scheme.
The idea for turning his lifelong passion for cars into a profitable business came to him while he was still serving in the RAF.
“Like many young men I’ve had a car since I was 17 and have always had a passion for motor vehicles,” he said.
“When based at RAF Brize Norton about 10 years ago. I visited London on a regular basis. I remember first seeing a hand car wash business and thought to myself, that’s a fantastic idea.
“Little did I know that all these years later that the hand car wash industry would be my first step on the commercial ladder.”
On leaving the RAF in January 2010, Martyn had little luck in finding a job so decided to set up his own business.
“As I thought of ideas for a business I had a sudden flash of inspiration and thought why not set up a car wash,” he said. “It was a real Eureka moment, I just had a gut feeling and went with it.”
Originally from Sunderland but living in Houghton for the last seven years, Martyn knew the perfect site for such a venture but realised he needed help to set it up.
In March 2010 he contacted Business Link and was put in touch with Business Adviser Neil Sowerby, himself ex-Royal Navy, who supported him through the launch of the business.
“I enjoy what I do, every day is different and I meet so many new people,” said Martyn.
“Self-employment is not for everyone. It takes passion and commitment but I think it’s the best thing that could have happened to me. I take my hat off to anyone who is self-employed”.
As Cozmic wash grew from strength to strength Martyn decided to grow the business. In June 2011 he approached The Royal British Legion’s Be the Boss scheme to seek funding to grow his business and was awarded £13,000.
“Without Be the Boss the business would not be what it is today,” he said.
“The Legion has given me not only the funds but also the right guidance to ensure it continues to thrive. They continue to support and advise me as I look to expand. This stability and support will be vital as I look to grow the business.”
Martyn now employs up to five people in the business on a full and part-time basis – and although he now has a team supporting him and is considering franchising the business, he remains very hands on and can usually still be found sponge in hand washing cars every day.