Christian Brothers Automotive - Executive Q&A

Josh Wall never intended to work for Christian Brothers Automotive.

In an effort to learn about the franchise for his father, who had extensive experience in dealership service, Josh hit it off with founder Mark Carr and was eventually offered a corporate operations position on the six-person team.

While Josh advises to never let him work under your car, he loves the automotive industry and the opportunity it brings to serve people at a time of significant need – and The Christian Brothers Automotive mission statement, “love your neighbor as yourself,” embodies that sentiment.

He accepted the job and he eventually took over the growth and development of the brand, which had a presence in just four states when he started.

Today, Christian Brothers Automotive locations span 22 states, with development to expand into another four. That six-person team has grown to 70 in the home office and 155 franchise locations.

What have been some of your brand’s major milestones?

We opened for business in 1982 and began franchising in 1996 (we are celebrating 20 years this year)! In 2012, we celebrated 30 years in business and opened our 100th store, and then opened our 150th in 2015. In 20 years of franchising, we have never closed a store, we have never had a franchisee default on their SBA loan and our brand’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) is industry leading. We continue to be entrepreneurially led as our founder still remains the president/CEO today.

What makes your brand’s franchise development process tick?

We work hard to have as much about the franchise opportunity online as possible to help inform interested parties efficiently. In doing so, it allows our team the opportunity to dig into each candidate with eye of a recruiter looking for our best fit according to our ideal candidate profile.

We often use the mantra, “We don’t sell franchises,” and this is something that I believe can be refreshing to people interested in franchising today. I know many more brands across the franchising industry that have also made this shift; I believe it’s so great for all of us in franchising and will only serve our brands better and better in the future.

What are you most proud of?

Slowly but surely Christian Brothers Automotive, our franchisees and their teams have been changing the customer’s perception of an automotive service experience. That’s our Nice Difference. We have industry leading Average Unit Volume (AUV) for non-tire selling businesses and an industry leading Net Promoter Score (NPS) based on customer service. Christian Brothers Automotive has been a part of Franchise Business Review’s Top 50 franchise brands in franchisee satisfaction for nine years in a row. Last, but certainly not least, Christian Brothers Automotive has provided a business opportunity for close to 200 families and those franchisees then employee nearly 1,000 people in stores across the country.

What specific steps do your most successful franchisees take in order to build and grow their businesses? And what do you do to set them up for success?

Our most successful franchisees are focused on the goal of being the premier choice in automotive aftermarket service in their local trade area. They are vigilant about building a team that has a heart to serve people well and shares their vision.

They focus large parts of their days and weeks on leadership and personnel development, helping to ensure that people on their team are valued and being invested in regularly.

Our most successful franchisees don’t ever feel like they, or we, have “arrived.” Instead they are continually focused on getting better, making tweaks to improve the customer service experience, the leadership development process for their teams or making investments of time in leadership/service to their peers and the brand overall.

What are your goals for your brand in the next few years and how do you plan to grow the brand?

I want to have a full organizational implementation of our Code of Values over the next five years; from shop-level technician on up to our founder/CEO and everyone involved in the business. We are working to be the premier choice in automotive aftermarket service and want to help our franchisees achieve a best-in-class “Total Owner Benefit” amongst similarly designed franchise opportunities. Christian Brothers is constantly looking to grow our franchisee’s level of satisfaction in their investment. Within the next five years, we are aiming to become a Top 5 mainstay on the FBR list of Top Franchisee’s based on franchisee satisfaction.