All posts by moran

Benefits of a Remote Starter in the Winter

Winter mornings can be cold, dark and dreary affairs. While no one cherishes the idea of rolling out of bed and climbing into a freezing cold car, there are steps you can take to making your morning commute a little bit nicer.  Installing a remote starter for your car can benefit your comfort, your car health and even your safety.

Keep Warm
The most noticeable benefit of using a remote car starter is the feeling of a nice, toasty car interior on those bitter-cold mornings. A remote starter can warm up your car for you while you get ready in the morning; that way by the time you make your way outside, you only have to briefly brave the icy winter air before enjoying the comfort of your lovely, warm car.

Improve Long-Term Engine Performance
A remote starter isn’t just beneficial for your personal comfort, it can actually be good for your car’s health, too. By starting your car remotely, you’re not just warming up the car’s interior, you’re warming up the engine itself. Much like the human body, an engine performs best when it is properly prepared. To perform at its peak, oil needs time to heat up as it lubricates the engine before you drive away. Through properly warming up your engine, you may extend the lifespan of the engine. With the remote start, by the time you’re ready for the day, your car will be too.

Increase Safety
Finally, a remote starter can help keep you safe! Because your car has had a chance to warm up a bit, you’ll be able to easily clear off your windshield. Too many people are in a rush in the morning and don’t take the time to properly scrape the ice and snow from their car. According to DMV.com, this is actually illegal in some states. Driving with obscured vision is unsafe, particularly in icy weather. You won’t be able to see pedestrians and fellow drivers, and you may find yourself involved in a serious accident. By utilizing a remote starter, the ice will begin to melt and wiping off your windshield will take much less time. You’ll be able to quickly get on your way without compromising safety.

In addition, despite the common misconception that using a remote start will make you more susceptible to thieves, you are really quite safe. The remote starter does not unlock your doors, it only starts your engine. You will still need the right key to open the car door and move the transmission into drive. Your running car also indicates that you are close by, which will help keep thieves away.

To learn more about remote car starter products, visit Altamere.com.

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Protecting Your Car From the Cold of Winter

As frigid temperatures around most of the country whisked out last year and welcomed in 2018, we are reminded of the importance of taking care of our cars in these freezing conditions.  Just as you might have made the resolution to lead a healthier lifestyle, pledge your loyalty to your vehicle this new year with routine maintenance and these need-to-know winter car care tips from Milex Complete Auto Care.

Coolant
Coolant, which is a mixture of antifreeze and water, is extremely important as it keeps your vehicle’s engine from freezing in cold temperatures and reduces corrosion. It is recommended that coolant be flushed and refilled every two years, but this may vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle. Be sure to check coolant levels and examine your engine for potential leaks early in the season. Remember, a 50/50 blend of antifreeze and water has a lower freezing point than full-strength antifreeze, making it safer during winter months.

Tires
Tire pressure is known to decrease with drops in temperature, which is why it is so important to break out the gauge and check your pressure frequently. Roughly one pound of pressure is lost per every 10-degree drop in temperature! At best, an underinflated tire can lead to poor gas mileage. At worst, it may cause a tire blowout and contribute to an accident. If snowy conditions are a constant in your life, you may want to invest in specialty tires too.

Gasoline and Oil
Keep your gas tanks at least half full during the winter months, as it prevents water from freezing inside your fuel pump and is generally a good idea in case of emergencies. Cold temperatures make motor oil thicker and creates unwanted friction in the engine. Consider using a lighter grade of oil in the winter months if you live in a cold climate.  Change your vehicle’s oil and filter every 3,000 to 5,000 miles and use the recommended oil viscosity range for these chilly winter months.

Battery
Winter weather sure does pack a punch when it comes to your car’s battery, especially if your vehicle is parked outside. Whenever you can, park your vehicle under a covered carport or in a garage to protect it from howling winds and cold air. Winter temperatures cause a car’s electrical system to work harder, particularly with the increased power demands of heating systems, defrosters and windshield wipers.  Dirt, corrosion and debris can cause your battery to work harder, so keep an eye out and ensure things are tidy under the hood. We recommend having your battery checked or replaced if it is approaching the end of its life (about three years) before winter strikes.

As we hit the peak of winter’s ice-cold temperatures, be sure to follow these important car care tips and remember to visit the experts at Milex Complete Auto Care to handle anything winter weather may throw your way!

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JUMP START YOUR CAR CARE BUSINESS WITH MORAN FAMILY OF BRANDS

With the new year, many business owners begin comparing year-to-year sales figures, and some independent auto repair shops don’t necessarily like what they’re seeing. Are your sales stagnant? Or worse yet, did your sales drop? Maybe you’re having trouble keeping reliable help. If you already own an auto shop and performance hasn’t been meeting your expectations, we urge you to consider the Moran Family of Brands.

The Moran Family of Brands is more than just an auto repair franchise; it’s a one-stop shop that can provide you with opportunities to expand and grow your business while offering trusted “one-stop” service for your community’s car care needs. In fact, we are one of the leading franchisors in the automotive aftermarket industry. So, if sales have been stagnant or if you’re looking for a way to expand your business, consider the benefits that franchising with Moran Family of Brands offers.

Be in business for yourself, not by yourself.  Becoming a franchisee doesn’t mean you work for someone else. You opened your own shop because you wanted to be in charge of your work and your life. We understand that and aim to support you in accomplishing that goal. We have comprehensive training programs designed to teach you our proven, successful business systems. We’ll show you how to effectively manage your revenues, expenses, and margins. We’ll teach you how to provide great customer service and hire and RETAIN qualified techs. If you’re struggling with the business side of things, we can help.

The power of a national brand. According to a survey conducted by AAA, two out of three U.S. drivers do not trust auto repair shops in general. Vehicle owners are looking for a car care provider they can trust. Some people may question the credibility of independent shops in both their pricing and industry knowledge.  As a Moran Family of Brands franchisee, you’ll have the built-in credibility of a nationally-known name along with the marketing know-how of our support team. If you struggle with things like websites and advertising, we can help.

Expand your business AND your revenues. Maybe everything is going great, but you’re looking for a way to expand your business. Our co-brand opportunities allow you to dream big. It’s our greatest advantage as a franchisor.

  • Combine a Mr. Transmission with a Milex to offer a complete one-stop shop.
  • Combine Milex and Alta Mere for auto maintenance and accessories.
  • Combine Alta Mere and SmartVIEW for automotive accessories and energy savings through residential/commercial window solutions.

What makes the Moran Family of Brands special is that we’re not limited to just one form of auto service. You have flexibility in what you can offer customers. Combine options or choose a stand-alone model. You choose what works best for you and what will help you achieve your ultimate goals.

Becoming part of a franchise doesn’t mean you have to start from the ground up! Of course, we’re happy to help you do that too, but it’s not the only option. If you’ve got an existing business and you want to explore its potential, let’s talk. You can visit our website or call us at 1-800-581-8468 to get the conversation started.

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Moran blog – Moran Franchisee Uses Holidays to Give Back

The spirit of the holiday season is about more than presents, food and family. The holidays are also a time when we help those who are less fortunate than us. This time of year can be an especially difficult time for families with low incomes or those reeling from a sudden turn in their fortunes.  When the holiday spirit moves you to help, it can pay to listen.

Mr. Transmission/Milex franchisee Ronnie Weiss has been doing exactly that for more than 25 years. Ronnie has become a fixture in the Houston community not just for his automotive expertise, but for his generous spirit toward his neighbors. He recently assisted a local horse trainer with transmission repairs on her car after health and financial difficulties left her unable to work and pay for the service.  We caught up with him to find out what made giving back to others this time of year so important.

Ronnie has been in the transmission business for 30 years, and during that time, he has learned about more than just cars. Some car repairs can be expensive and add to the financial stress of an already costly holiday season.  This is magnified even more for some families who struggle with money to make ends meet.  That’s why for the past 25 years, Ronnie has identified several deserving families each year and offered them free transmission repairs during the holiday season.

Sometimes families are initially caught off-guard by Ronnie’s offer, but they are always very appreciative.  “I guess it’s not very common to just help people, so they seem pretty shocked when I offer to give them their service for free.” He just feels that it is the right thing to do. A working car is a necessity for most families, and what Ronnie gains from their gratitude more than makes up for the cost of the work he’s done.

“It’s so gratifying to know you’ve helped someone,” Ronnie said, recalling a family he helped last year. “That genuine appreciation in their faces makes it all worth it.”

Ronnie said one of his favorite quotes is from Zig Ziglar – “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” Ronnie’s giving spirit comes from the idea that if we all just helped each other out, no one would want for anything.

Ronnie’s generosity is just one example of some of the things our franchisees do to assist others in need.  One small act of kindness can have a major impact on helping others during this season of giving.

From all of us Moran Family of Brands, happy holidays!

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Colder Temperatures and the Effects on Gas Mileage

As the weather gets colder, you’ll likely see your car run less efficiently, so make the most of your mileage and hit the road. From weather conditions to driving habits, these factors can add up to a big drop in mileage.

Winter Is Tough on Your Vehicle
Cold weather means cold engines. As the temperature outside lowers, it will affect your car and the temperature of your engine as it sits in the driveway or garage. That means when you start your car it will take longer for the engine to heat up to the optimal performance temperature. When running below optimal temperature, the engine uses fuel less efficiently.

Your battery performance may also struggle in colder weather. As a result, you may find your alternator has to work harder to keep the battery charged. This means your car is not running as efficiently as it may have in warmer months.

During the fall, your tire pressure light may come on. That’s completely normal and an easy fix; simply head to your local gas station and fill your tires up to the manufacturer-recommended pressure.  Usually, you can find the recommended tire pressure for your specific car on a sticker on the driver’s side door. Generally, your tire pressure decreases approximately one PSI per 10 degrees Fahrenheit drop in air temperature. Be sure to carefully monitor your tire pressure throughout the colder months as under-inflated tires do not perform as well. Poor tire performance generally results in a further decrease in your car’s overall gas mileage.

Watch Out for Winter Driving Conditions
In most places, colder months have a higher chance of treacherous road conditions, meaning driving will likely be less efficient overall. To start, cold air is more dense than warmer air resulting in an increase in drag, particularly at highway speeds. There are also more accidents on the roadways which will have you idling in traffic more often than in the summertime.

Those icy roads can be troublesome for your gas mileage as well. If the roads are slippery, you’ll have to drive slower meaning your trip will take longer and use more fuel. Your tires may also have reduced traction resulting in wasted energy; if you choose to use 4-wheel drive to combat icy roadways, more energy is expended than would be in a leisurely summer drive.

Costly Cold Weather Conveniences
No one wants to sit in a freezing cold car right at the start of their day. Many people choose to turn on the car and let it warm up before pulling out of their driveway. This will inevitably use more gas. In addition, many people opt to drive rather than walk short distances in inclement weather. In the summer, the sun is shining and it can be refreshing to take a walk around the block. In the winter, it’s common to opt for convenience, sacrifice the gas and just drive instead. These little trips can add up and make a notable difference in your average mileage for the month.

For help addressing these wintertime concerns, visit MilexCompleteAutoCare.com. Learn how they can help improve your mileage and optimize your car for winter weather!

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Recognizing the Signs of Vehicle Engine Damage

With each new light on the dash, we hold our breath as the thought of expensive bills flashes through our minds. As a car owner, preventative engine maintenance is one of the most important things you can do to keep your vehicle healthy and your wallet happy. Although it’s not always black and white when it comes to our finely tuned machines, technicians at Milex Complete Auto Care share some of the more obvious signs that your vehicle may be experiencing engine damage.

Check Engine Light

You may be patiently waiting in the carpool line when an immediate anxious moment hits every vehicle owner; your check engine light illuminates. We all know that dreadful feeling when our stomach sinks and we can only hope the light is informing us of a loose gas cap. As unnerving as it may be, an illuminated check engine light is a useful tool to inform you of potential engine trouble. Although issues may range in severity, it is always a good idea to have your vehicle serviced for preventative measures by a reputable auto shop.

Jerky Driving
Other than aggravating potholes, driving your vehicle should be a relatively smooth operation. If your vehicle often jerks or stalls, it could be a sign of engine trouble caused by clogged fuel lines, bad spark plugs, or any number of things. Take your care to get inspected before it causes a problem for you on the road or fails to start.

Smoke Show
If your engine is producing an excessive amount of smoke, whether white or black, it is most likely a sign of engine trouble. Smoke coming from your vehicle can be caused by many different things such as a cracked cylinder head, blown head gasket, or even a clogged air filter. However, it is important to note that small amounts of smoke coming from your vehicle are often normal.

What’s that Sound?
From the start up squeal to the grinding noise that appears when you make a right turn, most car owners are quite familiar with their vehicle’s day-to-day noises. Although our vehicles sometimes have a mind of their own, it’s important to listen for abnormal rattling, screeching, knocking, and hissing. Unpleasant and questionable sounds are often tell-tale signs of potential engine damage.

Strange Odors
Much like odd sounds, strange smells coming from your vehicle may be a cry for attention. Forget the dirty dog smell and stench from leftover fast food — focus on particular odors such as rotten eggs, gasoline, burnt rubber, hot oil, or even sweet syrup. You may want to head to an auto shop if your vehicle doesn’t pass the sniff test!

If your vehicle is presenting any of these symptoms, it is recommended you have your vehicle serviced. The trusted professionals at Milex Complete Auto Care can help you identify what might be causing the above so that you can continue to drive safely. And, of course, we also recommend that you stop in periodically for routine automotive service so that you prevent any issues and avoid nerve-racking moments on the road from the start!

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Alta Mere Franchisees in Denton, TX Thankful for Family, Staff and Community

When you’ve had as much success as John and Jaime Blanton, there is plenty for which to be thankful this holiday season.  But the Blantons, who own an Alta Mere/SmartView store in Denton, Texas, are grateful for more than just their store’s prosperity.  Their loving family, supportive community and dedicated employees are all reasons for which the Blantons can give thanks.

John, an ASE certified technician and former member of the U.S. Coast Guard, opened Barebones Auto Repair in 2011.  The goal was, and always will be, to offer customers quality service at a reasonable price.  He and his wife, Jaime, expanded their business by becoming Alta Mere/Smartview franchisees in 2016 after cultivating a loyal customer base, and they continue to see success.  Jaime, who earned her B.A. in Journalism from Texas Christian University and her M.A. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Louisville, plays a big role in the business.  While John tends the shop, Jaime takes care of the accounting and marketing, and oversees the Alta Mere/Smartview staff.

Jaime says they are incredibly thankful for their employees, and that a business’ success often comes from the hard work of its staff.  “We have a terrific staff that’s really dedicated to the craft,” she says.  “They get along really well and treat their customers with the care that any business owner would want.”

Running their own business has allowed the Blantons the flexibility to spend time with their children and get the entire family involved in the community.  “To be able to watch them grow and learn and contribute to their community is a real joy,” says Jaime.

In return, Jaime says she is grateful for the trust the community has given to her family’s business.  She says they have seen tremendous growth in the year since they opened their Alta Mere/Smartview store.  “We’re grateful our community is embracing our business and the values we uphold as owners and in our staff as well,” says Jaime.  “It’s a competitive industry.  Any time you can encourage a customer to choose a small business over a big box, it’s a win.”

While Jaime says they are thankful for the success they have already experienced, they expect it to continue.  “I think that our success we saw in the last year is only going to grow in the new year,” says Jaime.  “I’m just thankful that people are trusting us in the services we offer.”

Their primary goal for the rest of this year and on into 2018 is to elevate their profile as a business in the community.  “We want to finish strong and take those sales and give them back to the community in some way,” says Jaime.  Coming up, she hopes to be able to give back to schools and charities, and possibly partner with the area’s chamber of commerce.  “We’re hopeful that 2018 will give us enough growth that we can give back.”

But for now, the Blantons can relax this Thanksgiving and appreciate the success of their family’s business.  When you’re as involved in the community as this family, there isn’t much time to stop.  So, on Thanksgiving they plan to enjoy some quality time at home together before hitting the ground running with their Christmas activities.  “The week after Thanksgiving, we have a lot of activities in our family,” explains Jaime.  “Our plan as a family is to stay in our pajamas, eat a lot of food, play board games and rest up for the Christmas season… and maybe watch a little football.” of Louisville

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The Importance of Headlight Care

With the sun setting earlier in the last few weeks after the end of daylight saving time, most commuters are driving home at dusk or even in total darkness each evening. To stay safe in the darkness, it’s important to take time for necessary safety precautions.  That means properly maintaining your headlights to keep you, your passengers and other drivers safe on the roads.

Clear, Bright Headlights Make a Difference
Headlights are obviously a necessary component of your car, and it’s important to keep them in top working condition for many reasons. Properly adjusted and cared-for headlights can literally make the difference between life and death. Headlights allow you to see road markings, signs and unexpected obstacles. Over time, headlights inevitably get covered in grime, and the bulbs dim and burn out. Bright, clear headlights will give you the advantage of an extra second or two of response time to better react to an unexpected obstacle such as a pothole, deer or debris in the road. Headlights also let other cars know you’re coming. Brighter headlights mean more visibility and a safer ride.

Headlights Need Maintenance
Just like your car’s fluids, brakes and air filters, headlights need to be maintained regularly. A recent study indicates that 34 percent of drivers have never changed out their headlights, and 63 percent said they would only replace one burned out headlight. That data is in spite of 83 percent of drivers agreeing that better down-road headlights are connected to increased vehicle safety. Headlight maintenance is quick and easy, so why not take the time to increase your vehicle safety?

Get Professional Help for Best Results
An easy way to keep your lights in top condition is through Alta Mere’s headlight care and restoration services. Whether it’s a simple bulb change, total restoration or glass protection application, Alta Mere is equipped with the tools to get the job done right. Alta Mere technicians are able to buff out scratches and make your headlights shine like new using a highly specialized cleaning processes. It’s a simple procedure and can make a world of difference in your driving experience.

This holiday season, Alta Mere is committed to keeping your car as safe as possible, and their services don’t end with headlight restoration! Find your local Alta Mere location today, and explore safety features like window tinting, paint protection, accessories, security products and so much more.

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Moran Thanks its Veteran Franchise Owners

In honor of Veterans Day, Moran Family of Brands would like to salute the 15 franchise owners in our system who served in the military.

We are also proud to announce Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Mr. Transmission/Milex Complete Auto Care as one of the top franchises for veterans.  The magazine based its ranking on each company’s veteran incentive, support by the company in the franchise-buying process, and the company’s ranking in the 2017 Franchise 500, the magazine’s yearly assessment on the health and growth potential of the country’s best franchises (Mr. Transmission/Milex Complete Auto Care ranked #474).

George Kok is an example of a Moran franchise owner who has successfully transitioned from military service to civilian life.  Kok purchased a Mr. Transmission/Milex auto repair store in Louisville, Kentucky in 1983 and another store in Clarksville, Indiana 15 years ago.  He credits much of his success as a business owner from the experience he gained during his three and a half years teaching operations control for Chinook helicopters in the United States Army in the early 1970’s.

“I received excellent training in the military about the hydraulic systems in helicopters, which I now apply to automotive transmissions,” said Kok.  “I also learned the importance of discipline, accountability and chain of command, which has been the core of my operations as a franchise owner for more than 30 years.  There is a business hierarchy with customers, employees, vendors and others, and it is my job as franchise owner to oversee this interworking system and make sure it runs correctly.”

While many of Moran’s owners received technical training while in the military that they have applied to their careers in automotive repair, others get into franchising to achieve entrepreneurial success in their careers.

Former members of the military make strong business leaders because of their experience motivating others, improving processes and carrying out a defined mission.  Like the military, successful franchisees lead their employees to accomplish the mission as a team.  The military also has extensive training and teaches unique skills used to carry out very specific tasks, much like franchising.  This means a veteran can enter a completely new field and be likely to succeed by following the franchisor’s proven business model and completing the training program.

“Many of the veteran prospects we meet with have the work ethic, discipline and leadership we look for in franchise owners,” said Pete Baldine, President of Moran Family of Brands, and franchisor of Mr. Transmission/Milex.  “One benefit franchising offers is the opportunity to become a business owner without having a background in marketing, accounting or sales.  Franchise companies offer comprehensive training in all areas of business operations, and provide an established business model to follow.  That often helps veterans overcome any lack of experience in a given field and gives them guidance on what they will need to do to become successful.”

Moran Family of Brands assigns experienced owners in the system to serve as mentors for first-year franchisees.  Baldine also noted that as veterans entering the workforce during slow times may find it difficult to find high-paying job, business ownership can be a great alternative.

Moran Family of Brands is an active member of VetFran, an initiative that provides a $5,000 franchise fee discount, mentorship and training programs for any honorably discharged U.S. Veteran transition to civilian life.

Becoming a franchise owner with Moran is a great chance for those who have served in the military who are looking for the opportunity to apply the skills they have learned and be their own boss.  For more information, please visit our website – http://moranfamilyofbrands.com/career-opportunity/.

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Moran Franchisee Profile – Mr. Transmission/Milex’s Chris Robinson of Sycamore, IL

In order to earn a customer service award, you have to do more than deliver exactly what the customer needs, when they need it. You must go above and beyond the norm to offer an experience unlike any other for each person that enters the store. That’s why this month, we’re highlighting Chris Robinson, owner of the Mr. Transmission/Milex Complete Auto Care in Sycamore, IL. Earlier this year, his location was ranked as the best automotive shop in his area by the Northern Star student newspaper of Northern Illinois University.

Chris started his career doing vehicle repairs in automotive dealerships after he graduated high school. He gained experience with several dealerships and out-of-market shops, and also worked at the Chicago branch of AAA. He said this early experience helped him gain an understanding of what would improve the customer experience at an auto shop, a perspective that helps shape his business to this day. He left the automotive industry briefly to earn his college degree, while also selling insurance and then brokering investments. This business experience came in handy when he decided to go into business for himself nearly four years ago.

Chris felt inspired to open a shop of his own when he realized how often a customer’s needs deviated from what he saw as ideal. One of the biggest issues he saw with other auto shops was that many seemed limited in what they could offer its customers. For example, a shop that specializes in engines would often not be able to address transmission trouble. Chris thought this kind of limited service options inconvenienced customers and drove business away. The desire to offer all the services customers needed factored into his decision to join Moran Family of Brands. With Moran, Chris found a franchise that not only had an excellent system and reputation, but also shared his outlook on customer service.

Chris developed his reputation from scratch in the Sycamore area. He has slowly built a legacy of customer service excellence, and his hard work is beginning to pay off two and a half years after he opened. His area is very close to Northern Illinois University, and he serves a large number of college students. He markets directly to the students, and even though they can be a price-sensitive and fickle population, they have become his biggest advocates. He was ranked as the best auto shop in the area by the student newspaper this year, an honor he displays with pride in his shop. He thinks the difference between his Mr. Transmission/Milex Complete Auto Care location and other shops in the area is his team’s willingness to go the extra mile to make sure customers are getting the absolute best service, without any excesses or mistakes. His approach builds trust and makes his shop the go-to location when someone in the area is having vehicle trouble.

Chris’ Mr. Transmission/Milex co-branded store in Sycamore, IL, is an example of what happens when a commitment to improving the customer experience is the guiding principle of a business from the very beginning. Chris earned more than just the loyalty of a notoriously hard-to-win consumer group — he’s changing the preconceived notions people have of automotive professionals, one rebuilt or repaired vehicle at a time. So this month, join us in congratulating Chris Robinson on his most recent honor.

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