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Joe Marconi

Do You Fear Franchise Stores?

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The only major franchise stores in my area are Sears and 2 Valvoline quick lubes. We do have an independent Goodyear store and another Tire Store, Mavis Discount Tire. There are many independent shops, and they all seem to do ok. For my area, the franchise stores do not appear to be a threat.

 

I do know that this is not the case around the country, where many shops are located with minutes of a Pep Boys, multiple quick lubes, major tire stores, AutoZone, etc. How do you compete with this, or do you need to?

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Do you feel you have any advantage being a franchise? Marketing, systems, policies?

 

We have some name recognition from customers who come here from St. Louis, Indianapolis, Chicago, and Cincinnati. That is due to Car-x have a large number of stores in all of those markets. We have some national account buying agreements with some vendors. However, I no longer buy direct from Raybestos, Walker Exhaust, or Monroe because we quit stocking any parts. There is actually very little along those lines that I couldn't have on my own. As far as the overall program there are programs (such as NAPA) available to the independent that offer more things. I do have tghe ability to seek help if there is a problem that I want help with such as gross margins, training, etc.

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I am in a small town where there isn't enough "business" now to worry about any franchise shops coming into town. I do have several small shops that are my competition but right now I have so much work I can't keep up so I am not really worried about it.

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I am in a small town where there isn't enough "business" now to worry about any franchise shops coming into town. I do have several small shops that are my competition but right now I have so much work I can't keep up so I am not really worried about it.

 

I think that if you treat people right, do good work, have a decent location, and don't charge too much but charge enough you can succeed in most communities.

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Franchise stores don't really worry me too much. The franchise stores in my area tend to be tire oriented, and I chose to stay away from trying to compete with that market. My biggest worry is the dealers, but they have proven to be my biggest asset so far due to their excellent customer service(sarcasm). We have factory tooling for most of our client base, and the shops within a few miles of me don't mess with European vehicles too often and tend to send their Euro customers to us. I used to worry about what the other shops were charging, but I've decided to just make sure our work stays top notch, and go an extra mile for our customers (customers meaning they actually will pay for our services) and just worry about what we have to have to complete the job properly and profitable. O'reilly's and Carquest have came by to talk to me about tech-net or certified programs, but I've been unsure about going that route. I worry if the customer has had a poor experience somewhere else with those signs being displayed, will they associate us with it? Some customers who have been to quick lubes for their oil services will question our oil change prices being higher, but I just try to explain the affects of using a non-OE approved oil with pics of some engines we have torn down using the improper oil and service interval and assure them that the vehicle will be thoroughly inspected, correct fluids used, and service reminders will be reset, it eases their mind. The business is only a couple of months old, so I'll see how it works. So far so good, I'm just trying to get car count up and see if I can make it continue to work and make the necessary changes as I go.

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I only fear not doing my best for others. Focus on your game all the time. I visited a long time customer today at the hospital. Encourage people everywhere and give them something good to say to others about you. B)

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