Salaried Franchisees, Classy Waiting Areas, Honest Mechanics Help Accelerate Growth
For Faith-Based Christian Brothers Automotive Corporation
June 02, 2008 // Franchising.com // Houston, Texas – Hardwood floors, leather couches, artwork and decorative lighting – what sounds like a cozy family room or lobby in a posh hotel is actually the waiting room of one of more than 50 auto repair franchises across the country that is on track to grow to175 locations in the next five to seven years.
The rapidly expanding chain is operated by Christian Brothers Automotive Corporation, a faith-based company that goes against the grain of the traditional franchise model by offering franchisees an annual salary package of more than $70,000, including comprehensive family health insurance and a 50 percent share in store profits. The franchisor also manages each store's accounting, human resources and real estate functions—owning both the land and building housing each unit.
With its upscale home-charm décor and emphasis on honesty and integrity, Christian Brothers Automotive Corporation has created a "positive culture shock" in the marketplace, particularly among women who are used to the dirty, dingy image of auto shops and questionable practices.
As a result, the nation's franchise investors are taking notice – CBAC is on target to take the franchise system from 52 to 175 locations during the next five to seven years, doubling the number of store openings from approximately eight per year, to more than 16 new stores a year.
"Historically, the automotive repair industry has been plagued by negative perceptions, and women are traditionally more hesitant about the car service experience because of the dishonesty often associated with the industry," said Mark Carr, CBAC founder and CEO. "CBAC exists to challenge the norm by insisting on quality, fairness and first-rate customer service at all times. And since women make up the majority of our customers, we go the extra mile to make them feel comfortable and at home."
Established in 1982 as a result of Carr's ambition to give Houston-area car owners a pleasant, professional and clean automotive service experience, CBAC's expansion plans include opening several new locations in Florida, Colorado, Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas. New franchises are already in development in St. Louis, Missouri, Tampa, Florida and Little Rock, Arkansas. Currently, CBAC operates in eight states including Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, Kansas, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.
"The timing is right for us to put the wheels in motion on our strategic franchise expansion plan that will firmly establish us as a national force in the automotive services industry," Carr said. "With one of the most unique franchise opportunities available, we are going full throttle, growing outward from our Southern U.S. base and evolving into a national chain that is changing the face of the auto services and franchising industries."
Carr's company, which began franchising in 1997, distinguishes itself among other franchise concepts with a family-first value system. All locations operate during traditional working hours; however, they are closed on weekends so that owners and their employees can share quality family time.*
"We want to be the light both in our industry and in the communities we serve nationwide," added Carr. "CBAC franchisees are professional business owners and as members of their respective communities, greet each and every customer and personally tend to their questions and concerns."
Since the company is a faith-based business, it also requires its franchise owners to be born-again Christians, abiding by the utmost ethical and honest business practices.
"Although we require our franchisees to be devout Christians, we are an equal opportunity employer when it comes to hiring support staff and technicians," Carr noted. "Employees at our automotive service shops can practice any faith they wish or none at all. The bottom line is that for more than two decades no location has ever gone out of business – giving franchisees and their employees time for their families is a primary reason for this."
CBAC provides full-service automotive diagnostic testing and evaluation, maintenance programs and repair work for all domestic and foreign vehicles at each of their locations. All of CBAC's facilities are staffed with automotive service excellence (ASE) certified technicians.
*As part of the start-up process, new locations are open weekends during the first four months of operation
Christian Brothers Automotive Corporation (CBAC) is one of the nation's leading automotive service and repair franchise facilities, which currently operates more than 50 stores in seven states including Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.
Mark Carr, president and CEO of CBAC, opened the first Christian Brothers Automotive in Houston, TX in 1982. The store's main principle was to run an automotive repair facility based on honesty, integrity and exceptional customer service, which is still the core philosophy of CBAC today. CBAC began selling franchises in 1997 and continues to grow at a pace of seven to eight stores annually. The company also continues to maintain a 100 percent success rate with its store operations, never having closed a location.
Please visit www.cbac.com for more information.