Multi-Center Owner Says Recession-Resistant Business Model, Advanced Technology, and Management Playbook Drove His Choice of Meineke Car Care Centers for Franchise Investment
After One Year, the Investment Has Exceeded Entrepreneur’s Expectations
October 16, 2019 // Franchising.com // CHARLOTTE - Experienced franchise investors have several factors they consider when evaluating a potential new business. For Sam Sa, who owns four Meineke Car Care Centers in New Jersey and previously worked with a restaurant franchise, those were return on investment, operational efficiency, economic resiliency and an eye toward technology and innovation.
“I've looked at a lot of franchise businesses as part of my due diligence, and I liked what I saw with Meineke,” said Sa, 32. “If you are a forward-thinking, new generation automotive repair shop that treats it as a retail business, you will appeal to a newer customer base, and there's a very, very good chance that you're going to outperform your competitors.”
Investment results above expectations
“I've been a Meineke franchisee for about a year,” said Sa. “So far, our sales have been up tremendously. In 2018, sales were up 30 percent. This year, sales are up 40 percent. A lot of that success comes from simply following the Meineke playbook. I think anytime a business you invest in is up 40 percent, I would call that pretty good results. I think there's a lot more potential in what we can accomplish and what we can achieve, but so far, the investment opportunity has proven to be above our expectations.”
Sa is bullish on the automotive repair industry. As the average age of a vehicle on the road is getting higher, people are choosing to hold on to their cars longer, and that translates to the need for maintenance and repairs.
“It's a very recession-resistant business,” noted Sa. “Cars will always need to be repaired. The after-market industry is growing larger as a percentage of the overall automotive industry. There are a lot of tailwinds right now that favorably impact automotive repair.”
A national footprint such as Meineke and the high brand recognition provides many advantages over the single store independent. Training, operational support, national advertising and buying power are just a few. Technology is another, and the technology that Meineke offers is very important to Sa.
Technology Focused on Improving Efficiency and the Customer Experience
“To be competitive in the world today, more and more customer interactions are digital,” noted Sa. “Meineke takes technology much more seriously than most companies in this space do. We researched brands very similar to Meineke. They just don't have the same vision that Meineke does as to how we take this business into the future.”
“The Meineke vision centers around the customer experience,” said Sa. “For example, the inspection process has been a pen-and-paper transaction for many years. But customers increasingly want to have the results presented to them digitally and see pictures and videos. Meineke is probably one of the first national brands to introduce digital inspections.”
Meineke began rolling out the eInspection system to their franchise shops in 2016, the first step to a paperless transaction that helps improve communication, education and transparency for a better customer experience.
“eInspection is how we inform the customer about the services their vehicle needs, rather than simply telling them,” said Sa. “It’s how we help educate customers about preventative maintenance. I can see that Meineke believes that by being transparent, open, honest, and focusing on the customer, you retain customers for life. That is ultimately our goal, rather than trying to maximize every repair order.”
Meineke offers many technological tools that help both the franchisee and the customer. Meineke offers an app that customers can download to their phones to view their service history and see what maintenance their vehicle may need in the future. Meineke also offers a rewards program that encourages customer retention.
“Meineke continues to make technology investments that make the franchisee's life easier. They make it faster for franchisees to write estimates and process work orders, streamlining the overall administrative part of the process so that the franchisee can focus on what matters most, which is customer service,” Sa emphasized.
The Support You Need as a New Franchisee
“There are many ways that Meineke supports its franchisees besides marketing,” said Sa. “They also have teams of hands-on, former operators that can help a new franchisee really understand their business. There's a separate team called virtual operations consultants that review your business metrics with you regularly to help you see the big picture and to understand what metrics are most important in driving your business. Between these two teams, there is a great deal of support, especially for a new franchisee. You're not alone, and that’s very important because it's tough being the owner of a small business. With Meineke, you are not only the owner of your own business, but you have a very robust support team that is there when you need them.”
“I used to work for someone who started his own business in the restaurant franchise market,” said Sa. “When I began this business, we both realized that Meineke represented a compelling investment opportunity. He ended up becoming an investor in my business, and we've both been very pleased that we decided to move forward with Meineke. It's been a great experience so far and certainly the investment has proven to be above and beyond our expectations.”
Meineke is actively seeking single-unit and multi-unit franchise owners to expand the brand’s footprint. To learn more about franchise opportunities with Meineke, visit https://www.franchisewithmeineke.com.
Meineke Car Care Centers® is a division of Driven Brands, the leading automotive aftermarket franchisor in the world. Founded in 1972, Meineke has more than 800 centers that service approximately 3 million cars a year. In recent years, Meineke has expanded its product offerings to better meet the demands of its customers and a changing marketplace, becoming the “total car care” brand. Meineke continues to be ranked as one of the best franchise opportunities in the country. For more information on Meineke franchise opportunities, visit https://www.meinekefranchise.com/.
About Driven Brands
Driven Brands™, headquartered in Charlotte, NC, is the parent company of North America’s leading automotive aftermarket brands across four distinct verticals: Repair & Maintenance, housing Meineke Car Care Centers®; Paint & Collision, housing Maaco®, CARSTAR®, and ABRA®; Distribution, housing 1-800-Radiator & A/C®; and Quick Lube, housing Take 5 Oil Change®. Driven Brands has over 2,800 centers across North America, and combined; all businesses generate more than $2.8 billion in system sales and service approximately 8 million vehicles annually. For more information, visit drivenbrands.com
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