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Christian Brothers Automotive Finds Success By Growing with the Right Franchisees
By executing on a selective franchisee selection process, Christian Brothers Automotive fosters strong relationships with each of its owners.

With their most aggressive sales goals to date, it may seem counterproductive for Christian Brothers be so selective with their franchise awarding process. Last year, they turned down more candidates than in the year prior. Going against mainstream conventions, sticking to their values and commitment to excellence, even if it means saying no sometimes, have been key components to Christian Brothers emerging as leaders in the automotive and franchise industry. Today, it’s clear that tactic continues to pay off in a big way. Their first store opened over 34 years ago, and in all those years, they have never closed a single location--earning them one of the best reputations in the franchise business.

Through experience and their faith-based values, they have been able to zero in on what traits and characteristics are necessary to be successful as franchise owners. Christian Brothers requires less upfront franchisee investment than other automotive repair franchise options ($403,100 to $474, 600). And the brand alone assumes the risk and expense of buying the land and building the locations, which is then leased to the franchisees. This allows people, even those with modest assets, who have the right skill set, values and attitudes, to get into business for themselves.

“Christian Brothers shares in the financial risk side by side with franchisees, thereby creating a true team effort towards success,” said Josh Wall, the Vice President of Franchise and Strategic Development. “Because of this, we are diligent in our careful search for candidates that are the right fit. Maybe they lack the substantial net worth required by other franchises or even automotive industry experience. What matters is that they embody the values that Christian Brothers was founded on.”

Christian Brothers feels so strongly about its partnership with the owner that they structured their revenue policy to reflect that. Sharing profits with an owner, a bottom-line revenue policy, is unprecedented in franchise models. Instead of taking the standard top-line revenue fee, franchisees pay themselves first before they pay any money to the company. This, combined with a five-day work week and the exemplary support and training provided for their owners, makes it easy to see why the company receives high franchisee satisfaction marks across the board year after year.  

Such high franchisee satisfaction is particularly noteworthy because of their recent growth. It’s common for these rankings to dip when a company experiences such rapid development. But because Christian Brothers understands the importance of supporting their franchisees, they have consistently enjoyed high satisfaction rates alongside their growth. This is due, in large part, to the numerous resources invested in expanding their home office support. For the 163 locations in the Christian Brothers network, there are around 78 employees dedicated to supporting their success. And this year, as the brand continues to grow, they have plans to add to this number to maintain this unparalleled franchising support staff ratio.

Because they put so much into developing each and every franchisee, Christian Brothers also takes great care in getting to know each candidate.

“During the candidate discovery process, we are trying to learn their why. We want to know what motivates and drives them,” Wall said. “It’s about finding good stewards of the brand--people who want to live out their faith and become pillars of their community.”

To delve deeper into each candidate’s “why,” additional layers have been added to their selection process. With role playing scenarios, personality profiles, and candidate interviews, they are looking at a candidate’s character, abilities and gifts. They must be motivated and hardworking, looking to be part of something bigger than themselves. One way the brand does this is by adding a day long, in-store component to their Discovery Day.

“We are really able to see how well the candidate serves and relates to the customers and employees. Do they have the drive to push through or are they easily intimidated? Are they wallflowers or do they engage with people comfortably” Wall said. “These observations along with financial statements and background checks, ultimately contribute to the franchisee selection process.”

It’s clear that Christian Brothers is out to change the automotive and franchise industry. With their stellar reputation of honesty, integrity, reliability and exceptional service, they are changing the way people experience automotive repair. Through their franchisee support systems, store staff recruitment and training combined with their bottom-line revenue policy, they are changing the traditional franchisee-franchisor relationships.

“Thirty-two years and never closing a store is an exceptional track record, and we’ve been able to achieve this because we know what kind of person will succeed in our franchise model,” Wall said. “We find that this is reassuring to the candidate who goes through the selective process and is awarded a franchise. They have been determined to have what it takes to be successful as an owner and Christian Brothers will be committed to supporting that success.”

For more information on the Christian Brothers franchise model, you can download their Franchise Information Report here

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