Iconic auto repair franchise drives franchise owners into the future with technology focused on increased profitability
A 21st-century business owner needs 21st-century tools to remain competitive, profitable and successful over the long-term. While AAMCO has remained the worldwide leader in transmission repair for more than 50 years, the AAMCO executive team has made significant investments in new technology to ensure that the next 50 years are even brighter.
Led by CEO and President Brett Ponton, formerly the President and CEO of the largest franchise within Jiffy Lube operating nearly the 575 units across America, AAMCO launched a five-year plan to do two things: 1) simplify the business model to make AAMCO easier to operate and easier to scale and 2) revamp the customer experience to win trust, create new revenue streams and drive profitability to AAMCO franchise owners in their stores.
The industry has taken notice. In 2016, Franchise Rankings named AAMCO as the best overall automotive franchise in the United States, as well as the No. 5 best franchise to buy in any industry period. Entrepreneur included AAMCO on its prestigious “Franchise 500” list for the third year in a row.
“There is no doubt that our brand has built significant momentum in 2016,” Brett says. “We wanted to position our brand to win in the new economy, so that our great brand could be successful for the next 50 years. One thing that I recognized from my experience as a franchisee, the success of a franchisor is dependent on the success of the franchisee. Technology is driving change very rapidly, and rather than rest on our laurels, we are very focused on making sure that our brand continues to improve. We feel very confident with the wins that we’ve put on the board so far, that we’ve focused on the right initiatives — and we’re equally confident in the future investments we have planned for AAMCO centers across the country.”
State-of-the art training program, simplified business model make AAMCO a best-bet investment
AAMCO ushered in a bold new era of innovative technology with AAMCO University, a state-of-the-art training facility in Newnan, Georgia, outside of Atlanta, that serves as a pathway to success for franchise owners and technicians. For AAMCO center owners, there is more than 250 hours of training, as well as more than 300 online courses focused on comprehensive business ownership principles and procedural applications.
“We realized that the foundation of a great customer experience begins with great training of our franchise owners, their technicians and customer service managers,” says Brian O’Donnell, Senior VP of Franchise Development with AAMCO. “We train technicians to repair the car the right way the first time — on time — every time. The benefit to the franchise owner is that better-qualified technicians produce better-quality repairs — profits go up because the shop is more efficient, and ultimately, the customer is more satisfied.”
When AAMCO leadership launched the Total Car Care initiative to help AAMCO franchise owners grab a bigger slice of the general automotive repair market — which generates $62 billion a year in sales according to IBISWorld research — they knew they needed to simplify the business model.
AAMCO created Global Powertrain Systems and built a remanufacturing facility in Newnan, Georgia, outside of Atlanta. This has simplified the transmission installation process; AAMCO franchise owners can now purchase high-quality remanufactured transmissions from the remanufacturing facility; the company can deliver a remanufactured transmission to more than 70% of its franchisees the day after the order is received. This gives AAMCO franchisees immediate access to a vertically integrated supply chain with preferred pricing, and it helps keep overhead costs low while allowing AAMCO franchise owners to dedicate more time and service bays for the Total Car Care segment and increasing their profitability in that space, as well.
AAMCO rolls out CRM system to help franchise owners grow their brands based on objective data
In 2015, AAMCO partnered with Salesforce, a pioneering company that delivers cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software, to create a customized CRM of their own. In December of last year, AAMCO rolled out a platform within the CRM to improve the level of support that franchise owners receive. For the first time, AAMCO franchise owners can have access to the entirety of their support network: operations, marketing, accounting, and more — with a real-time log that records support calls so that the executive team can have visibility and be accountable to franchise owners.
The new CRM also provides dashboards that enable franchise owners to measure their in-store sales performance and compare their performance against that of their regional peers or across the entire AAMCO franchise system. The access to executive-class analytics and up-to-the-minute data is bolstered by AAMCO’s mobile app, which provides franchise owners visibility and transparency to their business data no matter where they are in the world.
“For the first time, our franchise owners have good data and great metrics to measure the success of their stores,” says Jim Gregory, CFO with AAMCO. “You can log into the platform and see exactly how your store is doing: your car counts, your average sales — as well as insight into how you measure against your peers in your advertising pool, in your region, or across the entirety of the AAMCO franchise network. We’re very proud that we’ve been able to deliver executive-class analytics to help our franchise owners succeed.”
AAMCO launches new consumer financing to help franchise owners win more sales
AAMCO is in the process of rolling out a national consumer financing platform. By filling out information on a website or through a kiosk in an AAMCO center lobby, customers will have immediate access to credit approval for their vehicle’s repairs from several financial institutions.
“We set out to find better consumer financing options to help our franchise owners convert more jobs into profit and sales, while at the same time serve their customers in a much better way,” Jim says. “The platforms we have launched nationally have improved the number of credit approvals to our customers and have also increased the average approval amounts significantly. We are very pleased with these consumer financing options, as they help our franchise owners increase their level of profitability.”
Bring the iconic auto repair franchise to your community
With nearly 650 auto repair franchise locations across the country, AAMCO has remained a dynamic part of American car culture — as well as a vibrant part of hundreds of local economies — since they began franchising in 1963.
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 selected, franchisees can expect the total investment to be approximately $227,400-$333,000, with a $39,500 initial franchise fee. Reduced franchise fees are available for honorably discharged veterans. Since the auto repair franchise began offering a discounted pathway to veterans through its VetFran program in 2012, seven US veterans have joined the AAMCO franchise owner network.
“All of our investments to make our stores more profitable and easier to run are ushering in a new era of record growth for AAMCO,” Brian says. “At the end of May 2016, we already had more deposits for new AAMCO centers than we did for the whole of 2015. The real positive of that is that more than 50% of the deposits for new AAMCO centers comes from existing franchise owners. They have experienced the simplified business model and initiatives designed to drive profitable growth in their centers. AAMCO centers have never been easier to run, and existing franchise owners are opening their second, third or even fourth stores. We’re thrilled that our investments into simplifying our business model continue to make a positive impact for our franchise owners and help them scale their businesses.”