Reg Groombridge is co-founder of WhosOff.com, a successful online leave planner used by more than 2000 businesses worldwide to keep track
of which staff are absent at any time.
The total number of users of the system is approximately 80,000. Over the past eight years WhosOff.com has become the go-to leave-planning solution for businesses of all sizes: from small companies with fewer than ten staff to international organisations with staff spread across the globe.
Reg, like any successful business owner, always keeps an eye out for opportunities to promote his business, and like many other imaginative entrepreneurs he has recognised the branding potential of private car registrations.
“We have advertised in many different ways including on the side of an articulated truck travelling between the UK and Europe delivering frozen goods. We also take space in inflight magazines. So, not quite Trains, Planes and Automobiles, but trucks, planes and automobiles is pretty close.
“I have always loved motor racing and some years ago even sponsored a Le Mans 24-hours car in the LMP1 category.
I took my young son and daughter to Spa to watch the race. The event obviously made an impression because, at the age of 14, my daughter calmly announced that she intended to design racing cars for a living when she left school.”
Now adults, Reg’s son and daughter are both engineers: his son is a project manager for National Grid and his daughter designs and engineers Formula 1 racing cars for Force India, just as she predicted as a teenager!
“I’d known of the WH05 OFF number plate for some time and had looked into the cost, but could never quite persuade myself to buy it to put on my Porsche Carrera S. That all changed when I booked a test drive in a soft-top F-Type Jag.
“My wife, Sally, and I turned up at the showroom and the salesman asked if we were excited. Well, luxury, high-performance cars weren’t new to us so, although we were looking forward to the drive, we didn’t really think there was anything to be excited about. When we took the car out the tank had quite a lot of fuel in it; when we returned it the car was very nearly running on fumes, and my wife and I were grinning like Cheshire cats. Actually, Sally was driving when we got back and she forgot that one had to press a button to switch on the front parking sensors. There was just about enough space between the car and the wall of the building to carefully slide a sheet of paper. Any closer and we’d have literally returned it right into the showroom – through the wall.
“We had spent our time driving through tunnels around the Kent coast, not far from the Channel tunnel. With the exhaust reverberating so loudly one couldn’t help wondering if there was any danger of the tunnels collapsing. It was terrific fun, very Top Gear. We could not resist: the car had been such fun to drive that we immediately put in our order for the F-Type. I also finally decided to buy WH05 OFF, as the Jag was more than worthy of a fine plate. Bizarrely I did not feel guilty about buying the car but did about the number plate. It’s a bit silly really: after all, the registration cost a very small fraction of the cost of the car.
“I thoroughly recommend taking the opportunity to own the number plate of your dreams. I should have done it years ago and if I could turn the clock back
I would have done it much earlier. It has made a real difference to the ownership of the Jaguar, just as I believe it would to any car. It’s a great bit of fun and, in our case, fine advertising as well.”