AAMCO Franchise Review: An Interview with Joseph Sergi
How one of AAMCO’s top-performing franchisees returned to his roots by opening an auto repair franchise
The entrepreneurial spirit drives the American Dream; it is the reason people abandon their careers, taking enormous risks, to start something for themselves. These risk takers are a big part of why the AAMCO franchise remains one of the brightest brands in the auto repair industry after more than 50 years in business. Another part is the brand’s unmatched commitment to its franchisees.
For Joseph Sergi, one of AAMCO’s top-performing franchisees, the path toward opening his own business originated when he worked for his father’s auto repair shop in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. When Joe’s father sold the business in 2005, Joseph took an opportunity in the corporate world with Monro, a company that specializes in muffler and brake services. While Joseph climbed the ranks and built a lucrative career, he eventually grew tired of corporate work and decided to explore other opportunities.
“I was tired of the corporate life,” Joseph says. “You have to deal with so many people who constantly think you need help all the time. I didn’t get to spend enough time with my family. I began looking for something that would allow me more time with them, as well as being more beneficial for me in the long term.”
When Joseph heard that there was an opening in a local AAMCO center for a management position, he decided to pursue it, only to discover that the AAMCO franchise was actually for sale.
“I knew that AAMCO had a great reputation, and it seemed like the right time for me to go into business for myself,” Joseph says. “In the past, other brands had opportunities that would come around, and after exploring them, they didn’t have the same appeal.”
Joseph was one of the first attendees of AAMCO University. The state-of-the-art training facility in Newnan, Georgia, is a pathway to success for franchise owners and technicians alike. 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. Each independent AAMCO franchisee is positioned to be a leader in their community and industry with an eye on establishing, developing and growing steady income and long-term business value for every location.
“There was a lot of behind-the-scenes information and training that was really helpful once you opened your doors,” Joseph says. “Once you leave AAMCO University, the executive team is still there for you. They do a great job in providing you with the answers you need. They’re very accessible, and they do want you to succeed.”
While AAMCO built its storied reputation on transmission repair, AAMCO has emerged as a leader in Total Car Care. In recent years, AAMCO has added services to help make its franchisees more profitable and more relevant to the consumers in their community. The brand has seen double-digit growth, and AAMCO franchise owners are now becoming customers’ trusted providers for oil changes, brake repairs, heating and air conditioning maintenance and more. AAMCO has added to the Total Car Care platform and will begin offering tires and tire service to their Total Car Care service offering in 2018.
“Total Car Care helps our business tremendously,” Joseph says. “Right now, our business is a 60/40 split between transmission repair and Total Car Care. The consumer financing platform that AAMCO recently added is also a great help to us for winning business because it means that customers don’t have to pay for an expensive repair up front.”
The consumer financing platform is a new initiative AAMCO is rolling out that will give new customers the ability to have immediate access to credit approval from several financial institutions for their vehicle’s repairs. By filling out information on a website or through a kiosk in an AAMCO center lobby, customers with varying credit rating scores will be able to find a solution that suits their budgets and eases their financial burden.
As Joseph works to keep growing his business, he has some wisdom to share with entrepreneurs who are interested in investing in their own auto repair franchise: “I would make the investment to open an AAMCO again. The No. 1 thing that new owners need to remember is that they have to hire a good, trustworthy manager. As an owner, you will need to be a people person and problem solver. You need to treat your customers with respect, your employees with respect, and you need to be smart. This is a very hands-on business. We all want to be on a beach in the Caribbean, but if you want to make your business grow, you need to be in your business.”
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.
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-$330,500, with a $39,500 initial franchise fee. Reduced franchise fees are available for honorably discharged veterans.