Franchise Business Review has included Christian Brothers Automotive in the Franchisee Satisfaction segment of their list of best franchise opportunities in 2017. The rankings are based on a survey of over 30,000 franchise owners representing 334 of the leading franchise brands.
The award represents an affirmation of the efficacy of Christian Brothers Automotive’s core values, which hold respect and transparency as guiding principles for both internal and customer-facing operations.
Amy Stehr, a Christian Brothers Automotive franchisee in Rockwall, Texas, said that the system-wide application of those core values is what defines the Christian Brothers brand.
“What really makes Christian Brothers Automotive stand out is the people behind the brand,” said Stehr. “Every member of our team, whether they’re on the corporate or franchisee side of the business, wants to make a difference in the lives of others. No matter where we’re operating, we all come together over our roots in the Christian faith. Christian Brothers Automotive is more than just a brand. We’re a family.”
Another Christian Brother franchisee in Phoenix, Tony Schottenbauer, said the brand’s commitment to applying its Christian values was the deciding factor in his decision to purchase a Christian Brothers store.
“They walked the walk,” Schottenbauer said. “They didn’t just have Christian in the name. It was clear that their operations were all based on Christian values. My only goal is to treat customers with respect, and the Christian Brothers mission statement is to love your neighbor as yourself. So it’s easy. It’s like following the law. I work hard, but it comes naturally. It’s just a matter of treating people right.”
Franchisee satisfaction is likely also bolstered by the fact that reliable automotive services are in near constant demand in virtually every market. Mark Carr, Christian Brothers Automotive’s president and CEO, explained that the brand takes advantage of that position by encouraging their owners to build strong, lasting relationships with their customers.
“Car maintenance and repair isn’t a want, it’s a need,” said Carr. “That means that demand for our services is always going to be there, regardless of the state of the economy. By establishing strong relationships with our guests and creating an environment in which they feel comfortable, we’re ensuring that we’re positioned as the best in the business.”
Christian Brothers also offers franchisees a uniquely appealing financial model. Instead of charging royalties based on top-line revenue, royalties are paid as a percentage only of a store’s profits, calculated after expenses. That means that franchisees do not owe a dime in royalties before they are profitable, relieving some of the pressure on new store owners and incentivizing Christian Brothers to provide dedicated support to new stores.
To that end, Christian Brothers provides a dedicated franchisee support system for both new and existing stores. According to Josh Wall, Christian Brothers Automotive’s vice president of franchise and strategic development, that support system is a key element of the brand’s commitment to its franchisees.
“As a franchisor, our top priority is ensuring that our network of owners have the tools and resources that they need to succeed,” said Wall. “That includes our continuing leadership education for franchisees and their team members. We want them to be able to expand their reach and ultimately launch multiple locations so that they can capitalize on previously unrealized potential. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing someone thrive as a business owner.”
Wall believes that Christian Brothers Automotive’s high marks in franchisee satisfaction may ultimately come down to the brand’s franchisee selection process, which takes steps to find candidates who are aligned with the brand’s core values.
“During the candidate discovery process, we are trying to learn their why,” said Wall. “We want to know what motivates and drives them. It’s about finding good stewards of the brand—people who want to live out their faith and become pillars of their community.”
That dedication to finding like-minded franchisees has paid off for Christian Brothers Automotive. In the 35 years since their first store opened in Mission Bend Texas, Christian Brothers has opened an additional 170 stores and never closed a single one, speaking not only to the strength of the brand but the ongoing fulfillment of its franchisees.