Driving Force

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Opening its first location in 1972, today Meineke operates nearly 1,000 locations across the globe. It is also a member of the Driven Brands family, the largest automotive aftermarket franchisor with more than 10 brands and 2,500 locations. Meineke offers overall car care maintenance and repairs to customers, with services including fluid, filters and belts as well as brakes, tires, suspension and steering.

Ed Pearson is Vice President of Franchise and Sales Development for Meineke. He tells us more about the franchise’s objectives and tells us a little more about its recent successes. “Our goal is to provide a total car care experience to our customers. We’re in the relationship business, not transactional, and because of that our customers continue to come back time after time.

“Many people have a preconceived notion of the automotive industry, especially when it comes to repair and maintenance centres. At Meineke, we are constantly breaking that mould with new and innovative solutions to increase not only traffic to our centres but customer retention for our franchisees. We’ve developed and utilised new tools like online scheduling, the Meineke rewards app, and Revvy, a device customers plug into their car, to make our services more easy and accessible for customers in the communities we service.

“Additionally, from a corporate level, we are continuing our growth in the fleet sector by leveraging the current $100 million fleet footprint of our sister brand in the rental car, fleet management, private and government space, to provide even more work to our franchisees. Because of these initiatives, we’ve had a lot of success growing within our existing franchise base, which truly speaks to the strength and longevity of the Meineke franchise opportunity.”

A key aspect of Pearson’s job is to grow the Meineke brand with the right franchise partners. “To have a successful brand you have to have strong franchise owners,” he explains. “With my team of development managers, we work across North America and Puerto Rico to scope out and award licenses to those top prospects.”

It is clear to see why Meineke is such a lucrative investment opportunity. As a needs-based business, Meineke is predictable and sustainable for the long-term. “We won’t experience huge upticks or downticks,” states Pearson. “When a franchisee opens a location, costs will be kept to a minimum because of proper project coordination. Some 80 percent of new openings are through the conversion of existing buildings, rather than being built from the ground up, which keeps the investment amount low. In this regard, Meineke is versatile in its real estate model.

When franchisees don’t lose money in real estate, they’re faster to break even and become cash flow positive.

“Meineke has success under its belt as it celebrates 45 years of automotive experience and brand recognition. The name “Meineke” is instantly recognisable for most. We’ve figured out what works from business plans to day-to-day management and it’s that kind of knowledge and experience we pass onto our franchisees. This opportunity is right for franchisees looking for a brand name and a proven, predictable and scalable model. Many of our owners have multiple locations because we are designed for growth. Our IT platform allows franchisees to monitor the health of one or multiple locations without being on-site.”

With regards to potential franchisees, Pearson tells us that, whilst they look for a diverse range, an important aspect of a good franchisee is a that they are committed and an integral part of the franchise.

“All of the business systems and tools Meineke has cannot be auto-piloted by an absent franchisee. In order to achieve success, our franchise owners have to be committed contributors to their centre(s), which can be defined in a variety of ways but regardless the person we want will take charge of his or her business. We want someone who’s able to follow a system, as we’ve established and will provide our proven playbook for success.

“You don’t need to have been a mechanic in order to become a franchisee, in fact 90 percent of our prospects have zero automotive experience but they recognise Meineke’s scalable and dependable business systems. The majority of people applying today are C-level individuals from the corporate world, having had direct reports, management experience and profit and loss knowledge. Many have led by example their whole lives. All of these skill sets easily transfer to being a successful Meineke franchisee.

“Initially, we want to make sure the prospect is educated on the Meineke franchise model - what we do, our systems, our emphasis on customer service and our relationship-focused system. Obviously, there are financial requirements, real estate reviews and operational interviews to make sure expectations are the same on both ends. We get to know the prospective franchisee so we can ensure a long-lasting relationship.”

As Meineke continues to revitalise its business systems there are becoming increasingly more opportunities for franchisees to become successful. Pearson embellishes on what the future holds for the brand and its franchisees.

“We are continuing our growth and dominance within the automotive aftermarket through technology initiatives like our KPI dashboard and online scheduling application which cater to a more modern customer. Additionally, through our parent company Driven Brands we are able to leverage the power behind our parent company to provide franchisees not only with fantastic support teams but continued opportunities to not only grow their business but save more money through fleet and procurement partnerships.

“Our association with Roark Capital has given us the ability to share best practices with some of the biggest brands in franchising, furthering our goal to continue being the consumer’s first choice for all of their car care needs. Lastly, because of economic situations and cars being built to last longer, with the average vehicle around 11.5 years of age, people are choosing to keep and maintain their cars, which are both great factors for our business. Competition is always a challenge that we’re mindful of, but with over four decades in the automotive aftermarket we pride ourselves on always staying one step ahead.”

For more information on franchising with Meineke, please feel free to get in touch with them with the contact details provided here.

Company: Meineke Car Care Centers Name: Ed Pearson Email: [email protected] Web Address: www.meinekefranchise.com Address: 440 S. Church Street Suite 700 Charlotte, NC 28202 Telephone: 1 866 675 7687

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