Tom Layman, a franchisee of Multistate Transmission, received a lifetime worth of accolades when he was awarded the Franchisee of the Year honor from Moran Family of Brands.
Building relationships and treating employees like family are the keys to Layman’s successful career running a Multistate Transmission location in Waterford, Michigan. In addition to managing his Multistate Transmission location, Layman has served as board president of Moran Family of Brands Franchise Advisory Alliance since 2000. The FAA is a committee of Moran franchisees who provide the company with input and insight on daily operations at the store level.
He served on the state and national boards and remains a member of the Automotive Service Association, the leading organization for owners and managers of automotive service businesses. The ASA provides national and international leadership in automotive service and repair by identifying the qualities and standards for good business practices and quality education. This marks the first time Layman has won the Franchisee of the Year award.
“It feels like an affirmation of what I’ve done throughout my career. I kind of look at it as a lifetime achievement award,” Layman said. “It is all about building relationships, whether it be with the people at the home office, with your fellow franchisees, your customers, or suppliers.”
Layman started his career in the automotive aftermarket industry at the young age of 14 at his father’s location. He had a variety of responsibilities, including sweeping floors, flushing torque converters, and driving customers home while their cars were repaired. He started working full time at the location after college, focusing primarily on front office operations.
Layman and his father worked together for many years. His father served as chief financial officer and managed paperwork in the back office while Layman handled the front of the store. He took over ownership of the shop when his father passed away. At one point, the father-son team owned three locations.
Multistate Transmission franchisees provide transmission and drivetrain component repair and maintenance services. The transmission specialists started franchising in 1971 and joined Moran Family of Brands in 1991.
“Barb Moran and Pete Baldine are consistent people, and they’ve both been great to work with,” said Layman. “I can depend on them, and they can depend on me.”
Throughout the course of his career, Layman has had the opportunity to see automobiles evolve. He saw cars with cast-iron transmissions when he was a teenager working in the shop. Over time, the shop adapted and learned how to service two-speed and three-speed transmission systems, followed by front-wheel drive vehicles in the 1980s. Layman relies on his service technicians and advice from fellow franchisees to help his location stay abreast of the latest innovations and services. Every year, Moran Family of Brands holds a conference that provides a productive venue for exchanging best practices.
One of the keys to Layman’s success is his transparency with customers. He treats them like family and works diligently to gain their trust. He makes sure he is honest with customers and exceeds their expectations.
“If you tell somebody you will do something, you have to back it up and do exactly what you said. You need to build trust with the customer, and a lot of that comes from the tone and inflection of your voice when talking to someone,” he added.
Layman also values consistency and strives to create a stable work environment for his employees. “You can’t get too high or too low. You have to keep an even keel and be the same person every day. Consistency is key in your interaction with your employees and customers.”
Moran Family of Brands will recognize Layman’s lifetime of achievements and contributions to the system at its convention, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2021, in New Orleans.