Members of the AAMCO franchise executive team discuss efforts to increase profitability, improve training and simplify the business model to create value for their auto repair franchise owners
AAMCO President and CEO Brett Ponton and COO Rob Rajkowski recently engaged in a substantive roundtable dialogue about how the iconic brand’s executive team is driving value to franchise owners in their stores.
Since Brett and Rob joined the iconic auto repair franchise in 2013, AAMCO has simplified its proven business model, created additional revenue streams and made significant investments in its training platforms to attract a wider set of savvy entrepreneurs who want to carry on the grand American tradition of small business ownership.
AAMCO’s executive team’s commitment to the brand’s franchise owners stems from the fact that several of them were franchisees themselves. Brett had been CEO of Heartland Automotive, the largest Jiffy Lube franchisee in North America, operating nearly 575 units, and Rob served there as COO. Brett and Rob are veterans of the automotive industry, with decades of years of senior management experience under their belts. As a result of their experience, AAMCO has been reinvigorated as a franchisor whose sole concern is the success of its franchise owners.
“We create value for franchisees primarily by doing two things: 1) Helping them improve bottom-line results, and 2) Helping them create long-term enterprise value in their businesses and the investment our franchisees made in our brand,” Brett says during the roundtable discussion. “We wrap ourselves around the franchisees: we’re talking about operational support, marketing support, administrative support, recruitment help — because our mission is pretty clear. We need to support the people on the front lines of our business: the auto repair franchise owners who have the pleasure of serving the millions of consumers AAMCO has the good fortune to take care of year in and year out.”
AAMCO franchise provides long-term value to franchise owners with expansion into Total Car Care
While AAMCO remains the global leader in transmission repair, the auto repair franchise is charting a path to becoming the dominant brand for Total Car Care. To help AAMCO franchise owners get a bigger slice of the general automotive repair market, which generates $62 billion a year in sales according to IBISWorld research, the brand launched its “Trust” campaign to expand the public’s perception of what AAMCO can offer to its growing base of customers. After all, if AAMCO is trusted to fix the most complicated part of a car, its technicians can surely change customers’ oil, fix their brakes and rotate their tires.
The leadership team simplified the business model by creating Global Powertrain Systems a remanufacturing facility in Newnan, Georgia outside of Atlanta. 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 AAMCO franchisees are focusing on increasing their profitability in the Total Car Care segment.
“Total Car Care is becoming a key component of the business, that helps drive repeat customers and create lifetime value with the customers, and is absolutely critical in driving our growth,” Rob says.
Brett adds that the root of AAMCO’s success in expanding the brand’s level of service to include Total Car Care is rooted in their hard-won reputation of customer trust and brand recognition.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work for very strong American brands in my career,” Brett says. “One of the things that attracted me to AAMCO is that our brand is woven into the fabric of American car culture. It’s been a privilege and an honor to join such a great brand with such a great heritage. AAMCO enjoys national brand recognition. That is meaningful and tangible, and it really gives our franchisees a leg up on the competition in driving traffic to their centers. It’s up to us as the franchisor to come up with the right marketing programs and the right operational procedures to ensure that we deliver the great experience that those consumers expect.”
AAMCO is committed to remaining the industry’s leading expert for transmission repair and Total Car Care
AAMCO made a significant investment in initial and ongoing training and education by establishing 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.
“We have made a significant capital investment in our facility and training program,” Rob says. “It has a 70 seat auditorium where we bring in our managers and technicians, as well as a live, working, full shop, where technicians can be trained on the latest techniques and latest equipment. If you can’t get there live, we can do webcasts and leverage our technology today to get the same type of training they would receive if they came. In addition to the facility, we also have an online learning platform, where we can build skills from an entry-level technician all the way up to master. Our learning management also allows center managers to build their career, at their own pace, from entry-level all the way up to ownership.”
Invest in the iconic auto repair franchise
For half a century, the AAMCO franchise brand has been a dynamic part of American car culture. With nearly 650 auto repair locations across the country, AAMCO is one of the original American franchise systems, and its brand is committed to innovation and trusted in the eyes of the American consumer.
For Brett, collaboration with AAMCO franchise owners is of paramount importance to maintaining the success of the legacy brand.
“We are very fortunate to have a very strong franchisee organization, the National AAMCO Dealers Association, within our business,” Brett says. “The longest-tenured member in the organization has been with AAMCO for over 40 years. We also have operators who are quite new within that organization. It’s a very diverse association, and they really give us great counsel. It’s allowed us to have a platform to collaborate in a very constructive and positive way.”
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 approximately $227,400-$333,000, with a $39,500 initial franchise fee. Reduced franchise fees are available for honorably discharged veterans.
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