In this exclusive Franchise Chatter Q&A, we learn about Maaco, one of the most recognized names in the automotive aftermarket industry. Matt Browning, owner of Maaco in McKinney, Texas, tells us what attracted him to the brand and why it’s a unique franchise choice.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Tell us about your professional background.
Matt Browning (MB): Upon graduating from the University of North Texas with a degree in business administration, I spent nearly two decades in the pharmaceutical sales industry. Before leaving, I held a variety of positions: sales representative, national product trainer, sales manager, and hospital account manager.
After those 20 years, I wanted to get into business for myself, and franchising seemed like the perfect opportunity. I started researching different concepts to invest in, which led me to Maaco.
FC: What made Maaco an attractive franchise opportunity?
MB: I thought there may be a huge need in the Northeast Texas area for auto painting and collision repair.
After speaking with a friend of mine who was already in the franchising industry, I learned it was all about following the system. Looking at different automotive service franchise concepts, Maaco stood out to me the most. I appreciated the honesty from the franchise development team, not to mention the opportunity for growth within the system, the strong sales numbers, and the income potential as a Maaco franchisee.
With a background in pharmaceutical sales, I obviously didn’t have any automotive experience; but after speaking with the teams at Maaco, I knew it was the right concept for me.
FC: What makes Maaco a unique franchise choice in the automotive aftermarket industry?
MB: One of the things that gives me great leverage as a Maaco franchisee is that we have outstanding brand recognition. Customers already know who we are, what we do, and feel a sense of trust when they bring their car to our shop. This reputation brings a lot of new customers to our shop because they know we are experienced and reliable with collision repair.
Additionally, joining the Maaco franchise system has been a wise financial investment. Without fleet work, I’m currently at $815,000 in sales. I’m working to become a certified center, which will enable me to receive business through Maaco’s national fleet accounts and enhance my sales numbers even more.
Also from a personal standpoint, I love that Maaco has very reasonable operating hours. I’m able to spend more time with my kids which is a huge benefit to me and my family.
FC: What has contributed to your success as a franchise owner?
MB: First and foremost, I have a fantastic team at the shop, and our sales center manager, Abraham, has been a big part of our success. I try to focus my team on delivering results, rather than on why we can’t do something. Ultimately, it’s about hard work and, not to mention, the right location.
In my franchising experience, success is all about executing the plan you’re given. You’re buying into a franchise system with an established infrastructure, so there’s no reason to try and reinvent the wheel or way of doing things.
FC: What success have you seen as a new Maaco owner?
MB: I broke even on my eighth week open. At the three-month mark, my center’s sales were at $186,000. By six months, I more than tripled those sales, at $662,000. Currently in my seventh month open, my sales are at $815,000. It has been a lot of quick, exciting success.
FC: Tell us about the level of training and support provided by Maaco.
MB: Maaco’s support teams really help drive the brand and franchisees to success. Before I opened my location, I went to Charlotte, NC for three weeks of training. This was really beneficial because they went in-depth on different procedures like sales, management, production, and customer service.
After opening, I received three weeks of on-site training from my field trainer. They continued to provide oversight and training after that, and will do so until I’ve been open for a year. Maaco also offers us ongoing online training support.
On a continual basis, Maaco’s franchise systems help me manage KPIs, inventory, and payroll. It’s like an all-encompassing business system. Overall, Maaco’s support teams helped me through the whole opening process and continue to do so.
FC: How did you use your prior career experience to your advantage?
MB: Going from pharmaceutical sales to automotive services probably seems like a complete career flip, but because Maaco is retail-based, I’m able to apply a lot of my prior experience. I learned and now emphasize the importance of customer service after spending 20 years dealing with people of all different backgrounds.
From my perspective, center profitability is effected by two things: meeting the needs of your customers and overall employee satisfaction.
FC: How do you plan to grow your business?
MB: To grow my Maaco location, I’m focused on learning more about the industry and my surrounding market — backing all of that with hard work. I’m currently working toward becoming a Maaco-certified center, and I’m going out locally to secure commercial and fleet accounts.
In terms of expanding my franchise, I currently have two satellite licenses, and I’m looking to open another center.
FC: What do you like most about being a Maaco franchisee?
MB: I enjoy having the independence and control that comes with owning a business. For me it’s all about people, so I like working with and learning from the Maaco team and our customers.
As someone without any automotive experience, Maaco made my transition to a franchisee comfortable and has proven that you don’t need a background in this industry to have success.
FC: What advice do you have for others who might be considering franchise ownership?
MB: I truly think as a franchisee, it’s all about following the system and putting in hard work. If you execute the plan you’re given, you’ll be successful. I recommend anyone who might be considering franchise ownership to do their research and really evaluate the market they are looking at and its potential for success.
With Maaco, I’ve found a proven system geared to the success of its franchise family.