Sometimes, franchises will be referred to as turn-key businesses. An established system is already in place and all you need to do is turn the key and open the door, and you can start work.
Most franchise owners know that that’s hardly true and kind of an insult to the process. There’s a lot involved in buying a franchise, and often, you’re looking for a location and then going through the process of getting a building constructed. Then you hire and train a quality staff. It isn’t as if somebody just hands you keys to a business.
The exception to this is when you buy an existing franchise, particularly when it has been around for some time and been very successful. Jason Shastri did exactly that late last year, when he bought the Mr. Transmission/Milex franchise in Stafford, Texas, which had been in business for about 30 years.
“One of the things I liked about the store is that it had a good reputation with its customers. It didn’t have any bad reviews and that is something that was important to me when I bought the franchise,” said Shastri.
At the same time, Shastri wanted to upgrade the store in certain areas and put his imprint on the franchise. He recently had the Mr. Transmission/Milex store painted and put up new signage. Inside, he updated the computer and software systems. He also hired a new sales manager and is increasing his business’s marketing efforts to help promote the shop’s general automotive repair services.
But some things won’t change.
“In terms of the service and quality of the work that is performed here, that is something that we wanted to maintain,” said Shastri.
Before franchising. Shastri was born and raised in Malaysia and came to the United States when he was in his late 20’s in 2001. The electronic manufacturing company that he worked for in Malaysia gave him the opportunity to relocate to the United States to promote the capabilities of the company and work with customers here. They set up a research and development facility here and he was one of the core team members to establish the operation in this country. He thought it was an opportunity for him to grow within the company.
“I took the challenge without looking back, and I have definitely not regretted it,” Shastri says.
Shastri eventually left the company and moved from California to Houston in 2008. In 2014, he and his wife bought a Kiddie Academy educational childcare franchise location in Pearland, Texas. She overseas the day-to-day operations, while Shastri has a secondary position there.
Shastri wanted to run a business himself, though, and he ended up choosing Moran for a variety of reasons. He liked the idea of co-branding and having two brands in one building, he was impressed with Moran’s history in the auto industry. In December 2018, Shastri made the leap and bought the store. He is overseeing the day-to-day operations, as his wife helps with the financing and accounting.
Where he goes from here. Shastri doesn’t have a lot of experience fixing cars – which is fine with him – his mechanics will be doing that. Shastri, meanwhile, will focus on running the business end of the garage, setting goals and helping his franchise grow. But he does think his engineering background may help. It at least has given him the fundamentals and understanding of the trade.
“Even though it isn’t entirely electronic, from an engineering standpoint, it is still about troubleshooting problems with the car and fix the issue,” said Shastri. “Being able to identify the problem and provide a solution to something enticed me to this business… I’m enjoying it and learning a lot. As long as I wake up each day and enjoy coming to work and find new, creative ways to grow the business, it will be something to energize and motivate me.”