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AAMCO’s Director of Franchise Development Opens Up About Why the Iconic Auto Repair Franchise Is Stronger Than Ever
HORSHAM, PA–(Marketwired – Jun 2, 2016) – As one of the original American franchise systems, AAMCO has remained a dynamic part of American car culture for more than 50 years. With an executive team led by President and CEO Brett Ponton, AAMCO is the rare legacy brand that remains entirely committed to driving value to its franchisees in their stores.
With nearly 700 locations across the country, AAMCO is ramping up for a rapid nationwide and international expansion. Since Brett Ponton joined the iconic auto repair franchise in 2013, AAMCO has simplified its proven business model, created additional revenue streams and made significant investments in its training platforms to attract a wider set of savvy entrepreneurs who want to carry on the grand American tradition of small business ownership.
“In the past, AAMCO sought entrepreneurs who had experience in the automotive industry, but that is no longer the case,” said Eric Simon, Director of Franchise Development with AAMCO. “While AAMCO is a legacy brand, with a 5-year history of excellence, we have made our business model more appealing to younger demographics, because they will be shepherding this great brand into the future. It’s never been easier to run an AAMCO than it is today, and our model is easily scalable — which appeals to savvy business people who want to own two, three or four AAMCO franchises.”
Simon said that from a development perspective, the brand plans to expand to 1,200 AAMCO franchise locations across the country in the next few years and then shift its focus to international expansion.
“From an international standpoint, the sky’s the limit,” Simon added. “AAMCO is such an iconic American brand that we really haven’t begun to shift our focus to the international market. With our commitment to innovation and the success of our franchise owners, AAMCO is going to be an international force in the coming years. Overall, our driving goal is to be number one, not just in terms of transmission repair but the number one automotive repair company in the world.”
A simplified business model makes AAMCO a best-bet investment
While AAMCO remains the global leader in transmission repair, the auto repair franchise is charting a path to becoming the dominant brand for Total Car Care. To help AAMCO franchise owners get a bigger slice of the general automotive repair market, which generates $57 billion a year in sales according to IBISWorld research, the brand launched its “Trust” campaign to expand the public’s perception of what AAMCO can offer to its growing base of customers. After all, if AAMCO is trusted to fix the most complicated part of a car, its technicians can surely change customers’ oil, fix their brakes and rotate their tires.
To be successful in expanding the level of service that AAMCO offers, the leadership team knew the business model had to be simplified. AAMCO sought a partnership with Global Powertrain Systems to build a remanufacturing facility on the site of AAMCO headquarters in Newnan, Georgia. Rather than hiring transmission builders, AAMCO franchise owners can now purchase high-quality remanufactured transmissions from the remanufacturing facility. The company can deliver a remanufactured transmission to more than 70% of its franchisees the day after the order is received. This gives AAMCO franchisees immediate access to a vertically integrated supply chain with preferred pricing, and it helps keep overhead costs low while AAMCO franchisees are focusing on increasing their profitability in the Total Car Care segment.
“Brett knew that we needed to simplify the business model so that our franchisees could be more profitable in their stores,” Simon said. “Our partnership with GPS allows our franchisees to grow their Total Car Care segment, which is a revenue stream that adds tremendous value in their day-to-day businesses. We’re leading by innovation, and our partnership with GPS is a terrific example of our commitment to remain at the forefront of the industry in terms of utilizing the greatest technology to help our franchisees capture a significant share of the Total Car Care Market.”
AAMCO is committed to remaining the industry’s leading expert for transmission repair and Total Car Care
AAMCO made a significant investment in initial and ongoing training and education by establishing AAMCO University. The state-of-the-art training facility in Newnan, Georgia, is the pathway to success for franchise owners and their technicians alike. For AAMCO center owners, there is more than 250 hours of training, as well as more than 300 online courses focused on comprehensive business ownership principles and procedural applications. Each independent AAMCO franchisee is positioned to be a leader in their community and industry with an eye on establishing, developing and growing steady income and long-term business value for every location.
“This shift to focus on providing our franchise owners with the best initial and ongoing training and education was intentional,” Simon continued. “At AAMCO University, we offer hundreds of hours of training and education to our franchisees and their technicians, which not only helps franchisees get ramped up in their businesses faster, but it also allows them to expand their revenue streams by capturing the Total Car Care segment of the market.”
The investment that AAMCO has made in education and training is already paying off: “Our numbers reported in the Item 19 of our Franchise Disclosure Document reveal that systemwide sales are up,” Simon continued. “As the franchisor, this proves that not only are we on the right track, but that we’ve also never been better.”
The iconic auto repair franchise puts its franchise owners first
Perhaps the secret to continued success of AAMCO is that the brand is led by CEO and President Brett Ponton, who, prior to joining the auto repair franchise, was CEO of Heartland Automotive, operating nearly 575 units as the largest Jiffy Lube franchisee in North America. Ponton’s experience as a franchisee has reinvigorated AAMCO by firmly placing its emphasis on driving value to franchisees in their stores.
The industry has taken notice: Entrepreneur magazine named AAMCO to its prestigious “Franchise 500” list of top franchise opportunities at the start of the year. More praise for AAMCO’s proven business model followed, as Franchise Rankings placed AAMCO at No. 5 in its Top Overall Franchises, in addition to naming it the No. 1 automotive franchise. Most recently, Franchise Gator named AAMCO a Top Franchise Opportunity for 2016.
“Brett Ponton had a tremendous background in the franchise industry,” Simon said. “He was the largest Jiffy Lube franchisee in the country, so he really understood that in order for AAMCO to remain a vital brand, the emphasis from the franchisor’s side had to be firmly rooted in driving value to AAMCO franchisees in their businesses.”
Good, Better, Best initiative helps franchise owners win customers
Before the internet, customers who required transmission repair or replacement had very few options as to costs, length of warranties and information about an auto repair shop’s quality of service. Today, the prices of automotive parts and maintenance are easily accessible from a smartphone, and the rise of consumer review sites such as Yelp! has granted customers the ability to review businesses for pricing and quality of work in order to decide where to go. AAMCO’s forward-thinking executive team sees the level of information available to the customer as an opportunity to drive value to the brand’s franchise owners.
“In 2015, AAMCO launched its ‘Good, Better, Best’ program to provide the customer with a range of pricing for their transmission repair,” Simon explained. “The quality of the repaired or remanufactured transmission, as well as the length of warranty, goes up from Good, to Better, to Best, allowing the franchise owner to remain competitive in the market, while at the same time providing the franchise owner with an avenue to increase their profits from one transmission repair sale to the next. Our ability to provide our customers with a choice helps us to take away a ‘no’ vote, which in turn, helps our franchise owners capture an even larger percent of the transmission repair market — which is a segment AAMCO has dominated for more than 50 years.”
Bring iconic auto repair franchise to your community
For half a century, the AAMCO franchise brand has been a dynamic part of American car culture. With nearly 700 auto repair locations across the country, AAMCO is one of the original American franchise systems, and its brand is both committed to innovation and trusted in the eyes of the American consumer.
AAMCO is actively seeking single- and multi-unit operators who are passionate about the brand and committed to providing the highest-quality service. 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 $227,400-$333,000, with a $39,500 initial franchise fee. Reduced franchise fees are available for honorably discharged veterans.