Sterling Woody had no interest in the franchising industry, but once he heard about the Christian Brothers Automotive concept, he had to learn more. Woody, who owns a Christian Brothers Automotive franchise near Waco, Texas, was born and raised in the Lone Star State. After attending Baylor University and working in the import and export business for a number of years, Woody first heard of Christian Brothers Automotive from an old college friend. The idea of a faith-based business was something he needed to investigate further on his own. Despite his lack of knowledge and experience with the automotive or the franchising industry, the Christian Brothers team assured him that they would be there to assist him and because of his extensive business background, he would be successful.
The day the Woodys were set to move to Phoenix to open their location, they received a call from the Christian Brothers corporate team saying there was an opening in Waco, Texas, where they originally had hoped to open shop. Sterling and Leigh drove straight to Waco, saw the location, and the rest is history!
What was your perspective about franchising prior to joining?
Before becoming a Christian Brothers Automotive franchisee I was not really interested in franchising. When I went to Baylor, I knew I wanted to work in the small business industry and that I wasn't interested in working in the corporate environment. I always thought that franchising had a lot of constraints and overhead, and I didn't think it would work. I was only familiar with food related franchises and it was not something on my radar. However, that was not the case with Christian Brothers and the support the brand offers its franchisees.
What is the top thing you think people don't understand about franchising?
Most people think the franchisor will exert a lot of control over your business, that they will take money from you first from over the top, and that they are not interested in how you perform. I didn't understand the amount and type of services that you get from the franchisor. The Christian Brothers team purchases land and pays for the building upfront, and then continues to provide tremendous training and support, which truly reflects their investment in each franchisee’s success.
How has being a franchisee changed your life?
Being a Christian Brothers franchisee is the ideal job and I believe this is what I was designed to do. What this franchise does speaks to who I am personally and professionally. I can do the back end easily. I can work with people; I can use all of my skills and talents. For the things I’m not so good at, such as marketing, I can depend on the brand name to do that for me. All of my jobs have prepared me for this, and I love that my wife is also engaged in what I do. From the moment that we decided to own a Christian Brothers, everything has been unbelievable. We are extremely excited and love the business we are doing.
Why did you pick Christian Brothers Automotive?
We were very intrigued with the faith-based concept and business. Once we understood the mission and values of the business, we felt like this was something we could do. I've never been around a more like-minded group of people. We went to a convention and saw how many good people there were there--people who cared and were passionate about God and helping others, it was so unique. They included my wife in the entire interview process, which was very important. They understand that in order to have a successful business, you must include a person’s family, and that was important to me.
What types of other brands did you look at?
I didn’t look at any other brands and I have no desire to look at any others! I really look at it as a partnership.
Why should someone buy Christian Brothers Automotive?
You will be free to exercise your faith in your professional life and be able to work with like-minded people. Christian Brothers Automotive is going to help you reach your professional and financial goals. Everyone in the organization truly believes that we are here to help people and help them with their transportation needs. You must treat customers with biblical principles, work hard, and be excellent in everything that you do. Everyone feels that way from corporate throughout the entire organization, and when you have that you want to be around it. If that excites you and you want to be surrounded by people who want to help others, then you should buy a Christian Brothers Automotive franchise.
What advice would you have for someone looking to become a franchisee?
I would tell a potential franchisee that they should talk to any Christian Brothers Automotive owner, understand their experiences and what they do. The Christian Brothers Automotive concept is not like any other automotive business. Visit the stores and see how the employees treat each other and the customers. It's just a level of integrity and respect that is unmatched anywhere else.
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