Maaco Celebrates Woman Owners Ahead of International Women’s Day
“We Bring the Skills to Succeed, Maaco Provides the Support”
March 04, 2020 // Franchising.com // CHARLOTTE - In an industry that has been predominately male, Maaco Collision Repair and Auto Painting, the leader in the $43 billion automotive paint and collision industry, has seen many women with the desire to be independent business owners become successful entrepreneurs within its network of more than 500 independently owned and operated franchises across the United States and Canada.
With International Women’s Day ahead on March 8, Maaco recognizes three independent business leaders: a former division vice president from a large corporation, a health care professional and a 21-year-old business management student.
Division Vice President Becomes Franchise Owner
Sally Besgrove spent 20 years in the corporate world, working her way up to division vice president of an industrial fittings and value manufacturer. When she decided it was time to pursue other interests, she bucked the conventional wisdom of “stick with what you know.”
“Having run a division of a large company, business ownership was appealing to me,” said Besgrove. “But I wanted to branch out into a new industry. I enlisted the help of a franchise consultant, and when they recommended Maaco, I loved the idea. I love cars: I loved the cosmetic aspect of the before and after and restoring the beauty of the vehicle for the vehicle owner.”
Outside of her love of cars, Besgrove had no experience to draw upon from the automotive industry. That is where the support of the Maaco team and the network of more than 500 independently owned and operated franchises were valuable.
“Moving into an industry that was new to me, I brought the experience of managing people, managing a P&L, purchasing and operations,” said Besgrove. “The value that a franchise like Maaco brings is the industry knowledge, a 48-year proven playbook, and the support of a great operations team. I also have many other female owners within the Maaco network to go to with questions or for advice.”
After a year-and-a-half since opening the new Maaco in Waukesha, WI, Besgrove has this advice for other potential franchise owners: "Decide what you love to do, and what your skill-set is. Find the right opportunity and your skills can transfer to any industry, as long as you have the backing and support of a strong team like Maaco.”
At 21, Katie Inge Became Full Partner in Chesapeake, VA Maaco Franchise
Katie Inge’s father, Jake, opened the Chesapeake Maaco franchise in 1983, and from a young age, Katie began working in the shop and learning the repair process. That back-of-the-shop knowledge helps her credibility with both customers and employees. At the age of 21, she became a full partner in the business with her father preparing for retirement.
In the beginning, being both young and a woman, customers would ask to speak with her boss.
“I would take them on a short tour of the shop and explain the process to them,” said Inge. “Then, they would open up and begin to trust that I know what I am talking about.”
The combination of her experience working in the shop in those early years, her business management training, and of course, her drive has been Inge’s recipe for success. Five years later, Inge, day-to-day owner and operator, is a perennial award winner within the Maaco family of franchise owners.
From Medical Field to Franchise Owner, Maaco Has Been the Prescription for Success
Marie Cobello and her husband Bill purchased their Maaco center in Hazelwood, MO, ten years ago. Bill Cobello was in the marine insurance business and Marie Cobello in the medical field. Bill kept his insurance job while Marie set out to run their new franchise.
Cobello soon turned their new business endeavor into a successful operation, with help from a great crew and the Maaco operations team.
“I’ll be honest, those first few months were scary,” said Cobello. “Obviously I had no prior automotive experience, however the Maaco operations team was a great source of help and support for me. When you have the desire and the drive to succeed, but lack the industry experience, that is when buying into a strong franchise with a great support team pays off and fills that gap.”
Cobello offers the following advice for women who want to run an automotive franchise.
“First, find a good franchise with a great brand and great playbook,“ said Cobello. “Then learn all you can by shadowing someone who does know and jump in when you have to keep the repair process moving. Customers may be surprised when you come out to assess their car’s damage, but if you can speak knowledgeably about the repair process you will quickly win their confidence.”
Maaco can be a good investment for anyone wanting to become an independent business owner backed by a great support team.
Maaco Collision Repair and Auto Painting, a member of the Driven Brands™ portfolio, is America’s #1 Bodyshop. Maaco provides automotive paint and cosmetic repair services for nearly 500,000 drivers annually. With more than 500 independently owned and operated franchises across the United States and Canada, Maaco has restored the safety and appearance of more than 20 million vehicles over 47 years. Maaco has been named a top automotive franchise numerous times by Entrepreneur Magazine in its Annual Franchise 500 ranking. In addition to other honors, Maaco has been included on Franchise Times’ list of Top 200 franchises. For more information about Maaco, visit www.Maaco.com.
About Driven Brands
Driven Brands™, headquartered in Charlotte, NC, is the parent company of some of North America’s leading automotive aftermarket brands including Take 5 Oil Change®, Meineke Car Care Centers®, Automotive Training Institute™, Maaco®, CARSTAR®, ABRA®, Uniban™, 1-800-Radiator & A/C®, and PH Vitres d’Autos™. Driven Brands has over 3,100 centers across the United States and Canada, and combined, all businesses generate more than $3.1 billion in system sales and service approximately 9 million vehicles annually. For more information, visit drivenbrands.com.
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