AAMCO Franchise Review: an Interview with Ray Segalini
How an entrepreneur with years of experience in the auto repair industry became a multi-unit owner with the AAMCO franchise
For entrepreneurs with experience in the auto industry, AAMCO is a best-bet investment. The auto repair giant has been helping entrepreneurs find success in their own businesses for more than 50 years and continues to lead the industry in training, ongoing education, a business model that offers multiple revenue streams and the ability to quickly scale up to multiple locations with ease.
This is what Ray Segalini has experienced in his two-plus years as an AAMCO franchise owner in New Windsor, New York. A longtime auto repair professional with decades of experience in managerial and technical positions, Ray has quickly risen to become one of AAMCO’s top performers. His passion for his business, combined with the ease of AAMCO’s business model, has made him so successful that Ray has already submitted deposits to open two more centers in the near future.
“I’ve been in the industry since I was 16 years old, starting out in a garage,” Ray says. “I love everything about the auto repair industry, and my professional history reflects that. I tried other things — I went off to college to study accounting, but I was soon back in a shop, learning how to become a technician. I spent 22 years as a master technician for Chrysler. I owned a bar for a little while, but that was short-lived. Running an auto repair business is where I excel, and owning an AAMCO franchise has given me an opportunity to thrive.”
Before Ray became a part of the AAMCO franchise family, he spent several years managing Midas locations. When the time came to strike out on his own, Ray learned that there was an opportunity to own an AAMCO franchise in New Windsor, New York, and he acted quickly. “ I’m glad I did, says Ray, because I discovered that this is a great brand to be a part of.”
Once Ray got the keys to his new AAMCO center, he hit the ground the running. His talent for sales and customer service is evident in his performance: in a little over two years, Ray has doubled sales at his center.
“Trust is the biggest thing with customers, and it’s something that AAMCO emphasizes as a franchise system,” Ray says. “Buying an existing business means that you do have a customer base, but I wanted to grow the business well beyond what the previous owner had achieved. Customer service isn’t that complicated — they want to feel listened to, and very often, they are coming to you in times of crisis. They know they are going to spend a lot of money, and it’s a stressful experience. You have to be empathetic and honest with them. It’s your job to leave them with a positive experience because if they leave feeling like they were in good hands, they are going to keep coming back.”
Ray’s commitment to providing exceptional customer service made headlines last year when he went above and beyond to help a local veteran in need. As a business owner, Ray credits AAMCO’s Total Car Care initiative with giving him an edge on his competition. Ray is able to change his customer’s oil, fix their brakes and much, much more. His competition doesn’t have that type of flexibility.
“Total Car Care is outstanding because when a customer calls and asks if we can fix this or that, we are able to say, ‘Yes, come on down!’” Ray says. “I don’t want my customers to go anywhere else for anything. The fact that AAMCO has launched a consumer financing platform has helped to increase sales substantially because we don’t have to lose customers if a job is too expensive. We’re able to complete the jobs and get them safely back on the road.”
The AAMCO executive team is also in the process of rolling out a new Point of Sale (POS) system, which Ray is currently testing at his center. The best-in-class POS system is going to significantly improve AAMCO’s iconic business model, by providing the ability to create estimates and invoices for customers much easier and faster, driving revenue for franchisees in their centers. The cloud-based system is accessible from anywhere in the world, and provides a suite of tools that are designed to provide executive class analytics on business performance, making it easier for franchisees to truly know their businesses and to take the steps they need to make their businesses grow.
If the success of any franchise system is based on whether franchisees would make the investment again, then AAMCO is only hitting its stride. Existing franchisees are reinvesting in the brand in record numbers, and Ray has already opened his second AAMCO franchise, and has submitted deposits to open two additional centers in the future. As Ray gears up for his profound growth up to a multi-unit owner, he is ready with advice for entrepreneurs who are looking into the AAMCO franchise:
“AAMCO is a brand that really is poised to do well in the future, and their commitment to their franchisees is exceptional,” he says. “They have developed a state-of-the-art training facility and work hand in hand with the franchise network to continually improve the business model. If you’re passionate about people and have a love for cars, AAMCO is brand that will help you thrive.”
Bring the iconic auto repair franchise to your community
For more than 50 years, AAMCO’s network of locally owned and independently operated automotive service centers have employed the latest technology. Expert technicians diagnose a repair, fix it right the first time and back it with a nationwide warranty. Known as the world’s leading transmission expert, the company has evolved into a Total Car Care brand that provides a variety of services, including brake repair, tune-ups, shocks and struts, routine maintenance and more.
With nearly 650 centers across North America, AAMCO is actively seeking single- and multi-unit operators who are passionate about the brand and committed to providing the highest-quality service. Interested candidates should have a minimum net worth of $250,000 and liquid assets of at least $65,000 per unit. Depending on the real estate site selected, franchisees can expect the total investment to be $223,600-$333,000, with a $39,500 initial franchise fee. Reduced franchise fees are available for honorably discharged veterans.