Balancing a job as an active reservist in the military can be tricky. United States Air Force veteran Michael Laverdure decided to solve the problem by buying his own business – an AAMCO Transmissions & Total Car Care franchise.
Now, Laverdure can be as active as he likes in the reserves while being his own boss.
When he and his family moved back to Knoxville, TN, in 2018, Laverdure knew he would have to stop active military duty and none of the jobs he inquired about would allow him to remain active in the reserves while working.
That’s when he decided to become his own boss, something he had dreamed about since he was a child.
Luck was on Laverdure’s side, as the AAMCO franchisee in Knoxville at the time was ready to sell his store. Having always associated the AAMCO name with quality while he was growing up, Laverdure knew this was the opportunity he was waiting for and gathered some funds to make the purchase.
“I knew automobiles, I had done a lot of repair work, and I knew this was an opportunity to put my mark on something,” said Laverdure. “It allowed me to use the skills and values I learned in the military to build something for my family. It was just perfect timing.”
Currently, Laverdure serves as a reservist at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, NC, doing maintenance on Boeing KC-46 Pegasus aerial refueling aircrafts.
Prior to that, while on active duty for the Air Force, he moved around between North Carolina, Texas, Kuwait, Turkey, and Arizona. Laverdure has worked on F-15 fighter jets, F-35 stealth fighters, C-130 Hercules and C5 Galaxy cargo aircraft and MQ-1 Predator drones. He started active duty in June 2010 and served until his transfer to the reserves in 2018.
The AAMCO franchisee said his military training taught him how to manage and lead people, and never give up.
“You learn how to treat people and take care of them, and to find solutions to problems. Giving up isn’t an option,” he said. “I brought that mentality and philosophy of military leadership with me, to train and equip my troops, so they have the knowledge and the tools they need to do the job.”
AAMCO is a great partner to help make sure his employees have the training and the tools they need to do their job. While he sets the work parameters and performs quality control, Laverdure gives his four employees the space to do what they need to do.
Laverdure said his intention was always to buy a franchise because he recognizes the value of the support that comes with franchise ownership.
“That’s one of the reasons I steered toward a franchise, to get that support. I didn’t know anything about marketing or pricing or the laws that you have to be aware of when you own a business,” he noted.
Once he signed his franchise agreement, he went down to Georgia for his discovery day at AAMCO University where the top executives talked about the benefits of owning a franchise and the direction of the company.
After that, he received three weeks of classroom training and a week of training in the field, which Laverdure described as “intense.” He learned all the various phone procedures, technology platforms, and technical and diagnostic services that he would need to run his AAMCO business.
The company continually offers new, in-person, or virtual training.
“I just sent the transmission builder to learn how to build the new CVT transmissions,” he said.
In addition to continuous training, AAMCO also offers a lot of marketing help. For example, they assist with internet marketing and they helped him design the wrap for his pickup truck and helped him find a printer and installer for it. Laverdure said he can just call them if he needs any marketing materials and they are more than happy to help. AAMCO also guided him in building a marketing plan that is working quite well.
“I wouldn’t have had that if I were on my own,” he noted. “I wouldn’t even have known where to start.”
AAMCO has a strong commitment to veterans with many franchise owners, employees, and even corporate executives who have served in the military.
“We are proud to have so many veterans in the AAMCO family,” said Jim Gregory, AAMCO CEO. “Their experience and discipline add tremendous value to our business, and the AAMCO opportunity allows them to have a positive impact in their local communities. Many of our military veteran franchise owners are among the most successful in our chain.”
Laverdure has proved himself to be one of those leaders as he has worked through the challenges of COVID-19, always striving for excellence, and putting service before self.
He says if anyone is interested in joining AAMCO, they should do their research and talk to existing AAMCO owners. All the support the franchise provides is incredibly valuable for anyone interested in entrepreneurship.
The flexibility of franchising has allowed Laverdure to live out his dual dreams of being his own boss while still serving his country.