Moran Family of Brands concentrates on creating a two-way flow of information to help the franchisees in its system stay on top of the competition.
Pete Baldine, the president of Moran Family of Brands, recently appeared on the podcast “What’s Your F’ing Business,” hosted by Mary Ann O’Connell, chief executive of Franwise, a franchise consulting firm. You can listen to the podcast, which covers a wide range of topics in franchising and the auto repair industry, HERE.
During the podcast, Baldine told O’Connell the company awarded three times the number of franchises in 2021 versus the prior year. The legacy franchisor attributes its success during the pandemic to the tools it uses to communicate with franchisees and the launch of Turbo Tint, its new window tinting brand. In addition to its communication strategies, Baldine credits the company’s co-branding initiative, hiring strategy, site selection techniques, and franchise advisory team for its ongoing success.
Communication Helps Moran’s Franchisees Thrive
The high-tech enhancements on new vehicles, as well as the rise in the number of electric cars, require franchisees in the aftermarket auto industry to stay on their toes. Keeping abreast of the newest technology and service developments is essential for a successful operation, and can be a heavy load for small-business owners to tackle on top of their already long to-do list. To keep franchisees informed, Moran has a technology department that alerts franchisees to new developments that can help their business. Moran implemented an online university where franchisees can access training videos, service bulletins, and other useful information 24 hours a day. The company also makes it a priority to stay abreast of current events impacting the aftermarket auto industry.
Following the outbreak of the pandemic, Moran upped its communication game. The company started meeting with franchisees on a daily basis. Virtual discovery days, Zoom meetings, and more support calls with franchisees helped limit the impact of COVID on the system. It also taught the company communication strategies it will continue to use after the pandemic wanes. Adding sanitizing services as well as pickup and delivery helped keep sales stable over the past two years.
Moran’s Franchise Advisory Alliance helps create open lines of communications for owners and gives them an opportunity to ensure their voices are heard. The eight Alliance members are elected by their fellow franchisees, and they meet quarterly with the corporate office to discuss concerns and best practices.
“We talk about everything with them — nothing’s off the table,” Baldine said. “The Franchise Advisory Alliance creates a strong environment and culture.”
Co-branding Creates a One-Stop Repair Shop
In the 1980s, businesses in the aftermarket auto industry were highly specialized for convenience. Changes in automobile technology are prompting customers to seek a trusted mechanic for all of their car care needs. Co-branding allows Moran’s franchisees to be a one-stop-shop for customers. In addition to multiple revenue streams in a single location, co-branded locations generate a higher average ticket price. “Co-branding helped unit economics for our franchisees immensely,” Baldine said.
Overcoming Hiring Challenges
Like many small businesses, finding qualified mechanics to ensure successful operations is a challenge for many of Moran’s franchisees. With more than 30 years in the business, Moran has developed some strategies to recruit talent. The company works with junior colleges and trade schools to fill the pipeline with mechanics. Moran relies heavily on veteran recruitment to staff its locations.
“Veterans are 30% of our system. Many franchisors focus on programs to sell franchises to veterans,” Baldine said. “But a lot of these men and women coming out of the military after four years of service are 24 or 25 years old. They don’t have the money to open a franchise. I’m more interested in them as employees. They have the skills to be great technicians in the automotive aftermarket industry.”
Relying on Conversion to Facilitate Site Selection
Another tool Moran uses to help its franchisees succeed involves site selection. Growing markets are prime locations for franchisees, but finding real estate and zoning can be difficult. By purchasing independent operators, new Moran franchisees are able to cut down startup costs and open their doors with an established customer base.
“A lot of mom-and-pop operators are being overwhelmed by changes in the industry. They don’t have support and information. When we call them to see if they want to sell, they are very relieved,” Baldine revealed.
Learn More About Moran
Visit www.moranfamilyofbrands.com to learn more about the company’s lineup of brands in the aftermarket automotive and window tinting industry or connect with a franchise business consultant.