Precision Operator: David Grimaud Transitions From Engineer to Multi-Unit Franchisee
David Grimaud's father, Joe, operated a Midas shop in Alexandria, La., where David spent many days working as a teenager. "It really taught me a lot about budgeting and business management," says the 52-year old today. Grimaud, however, had a passion for electronics that led him to earn a degree in electrical engineering from LSU and begin a career in Dallas in the mid-1980s.
Grimaud soon realized that he liked "being the boss" and that he wanted to operate a business of his own. In 1987, his father, who was overseeing 37 Precision Tune Auto Care franchises in South Carolina, welcomed his son into the family business with open arms and a few new responsibilities--like expanding the territory and growing the number of units.
Today, Grimaud is president of Precision Tune's largest area developer, Grimaud Enterprises Inc. (GEI), which oversees 93 stores in 11 states, from Utah to Texas to South Carolina, and splits the royalties with the franchisor. In a unique business approach, the Grimaud family and their partners also operate 51 of the stores, each an individual franchise.
"We have a development schedule, and this model allows us the versatility of opening units ourselves or partnering with others to open and operate them," he says. Always on the lookout for the smartest deals, Grimaud says sometimes that means building a new unit from the ground up or taking over an existing or closed location and turning it into a Precision Tune winner.
Grimaud's 74-year-old father--one of the very first Precision Tune franchisees back in the 1970s--still serves as chairman of GEI, and his brother Greg is involved as an operator. Grimaud describes his wife Maureen as his "executive assistant and advisor," who plays a vital role in the company and "has an influence in everything I do." Together, they are constantly on the road overseeing the family empire. In fact, he says, about this profile, "My wife should really fill out her own questionnaire, but in the interest of time, I'm answering this from my perspective only."
Grimaud jokes that he runs his office from his Honda Odyssey... with a little help from his iPhone and MacBook Pro laptop. He maintains a rigorous schedule, but says it's important to keep at it. "My philosophy is to grow profitably," he says, "because if you're not growing, you're dying."
Name: David Grimaud
Company: Grimaud Enterprises, Inc.
No. of units by brand: This is a loaded question because of the way we do things. Grimaud Enterprises has been an area developer (subfranchisor) of Precision Tune Auto Care since 1979. Today there are 93 units under the GEI umbrella. Grimaud family members and partners own/operate 51 of those franchises. Each of these franchises is owned by an individual S Corporation. They are lumped into groups around operating partnerships as follows: Mike Scott and his partners own/operate 22 franchises in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Texas; Mark Hall and his partners own/operate 12 franchises in South Carolina; I and my partners own/operate 12 franchises in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Utah; Greg Grimaud and his partner own/operate 5 franchises in Oklahoma; Joe Grimaud and his partner own/operate one store in Georgia.
This philosophy goes back to Joe Grimaud, the founder of GEI. He was one of the first area subfranchisors and franchisees of Precision Tune. He had been a franchisee of Midas, but preferred being an area developer so he could grow the business. In that role, he would bring partners on board who would be the operating franchisee back to GEI. This philosophy has been carried forward by me.
Family: Maureen (wife), Marilyn (daughter, 26, married to Kaleb), Geoff (son, 22, married to Natalie); no grandchildren--yet!
Years in franchising: 25
Years in current position: 21