An AAMCO veteran opens up about life in business with the iconic transmission franchise
The first thing you notice in Frank Filacchione’s AAMCO Center in Jacksonville, Florida, is that everybody on the staff has “Sons of AAMCO” on their uniforms — an homage to the hit television show Sons of Anarchy. While Filacchione doesn’t head up a TV motorcycle gang, he and several other AAMCO franchise owners meet several times a year to go riding together, and he fosters a family-like culture in his center that emphasizes education and advancement for his employees.
Filacchione has owned his AAMCO Center for 32 years, and one thing is clear: he loves this business. He credits AAMCO with helping him thrive and prosper, as well as giving him the opportunity to be a great father to his two daughters.
In this interview, Filacchione talks about all of that and more.
What was your experience in auto repair before you franchised with AAMCO?
Filacchione: I worked with and had experience with auto dealerships and did some work as a technician. My father-in-law at the time came to me and said he had spoken with an AAMCO representative about owning an AAMCO Center. We decided it would be a good idea for us, as we both had the right skill sets to succeed.
Before you were an owner of an AAMCO Center, you were in the Marine Corps. How did that help you become an effective leader in your business?
Filacchione: I was in the Marine Corps for a good bit. I did four years on active duty and four years in the reserves, and it does teach a lot about leadership. It teaches you to put your men first, and that is how I feel about my technicians and my employees.
You credit AAMCO with helping you become a business person. How did AAMCO help you be effective in business?
As much as I had mechanical expertise, I had no idea how to run a business, make money and manage cash flow. AAMCO provided me with a lot of training within the franchise model to take control of everything that goes into running a business, which has allowed me to become very profitable.
How has AAMCO’s support improved over the years?
Filacchione: It has improved by leaps and bounds. The technical backing that we have today is second-to-none in the industry. The e-learning program is exceptional, and I bonus my employees based on the courses they take. I have sent several of my technicians to AAMCO University, which is such a great asset for us. Our technicians really have a desire to be better at what they do — and that is the quality you want. We advertise that we offer continuing education, which allows us to attract much higher-quality individuals to our centers.
How has being a part of the AAMCO franchise helped you thrive in business for 32 years?
Filacchione: AAMCO is one of the best-known trademarks in the country. We have a lot of centers open across the country, and folks look for brands that they know. There’s no question that having an AAMCO sign out in front of my business makes my phone ring, brings me new customers and keeps me profitable. We do work very hard to make sure that our Google reviews are very high, and we get a lot of folks who walk through our door and say, “I’m here because I read your reviews online.” It takes a lot of effort to provide a good experience in auto repair, because people don’t say, “I want to spend a lot of money on car repair today.” But being a part of a trusted name and making sure that you’re honest with your customers and do great work for them — all that goes a long way.
What are you the proudest of in your experience as an AAMCO franchise owner?
Filacchione: Owning an AAMCO center has allowed me to enjoy my life and to really provide a great life for my two daughters. That’s the most rewarding part of this whole experience. I was able to take the time to leave at three in the afternoon and coach a ball game or see a school play. As long as you pay attention to your crew and you trust your employees — and they trust your leadership — you can really enjoy this business. I spent an amazing amount of time with my daughters, both of whom are grown and in careers of their own now, and they remember that.
Bring the iconic auto repair franchise to your community
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 $223,600 to $330,000 with a $39,500 initial franchise fee. AAMCO offers financing support for qualified candidates. Reduced franchise fees also are available for honorably discharged veterans.