Building trust with customers has allowed AAMCO to expand its range of services over the decades and now the long-serving brand is continuing to build its presence in target regions throughout North America.
Calling it an iconic brand that has evolved with American car culture, director of franchise development for AAMCO Eric Simon says AAMCO has transitioned from a single transmission repair shop into the world’s largest chain of transmission specialists and leader in total car care, leveraging the trust it has built with car owners since it began franchising in 1963.
“It’s easier to build customer trust when our brand has a well established reputation for repairing the most complicated part of a vehicle,” Simon said during a recent interview.
No Automotive Experience Necessary
Simon said AAMCO is looking for franchise prospects who have a managerial or business background. Potential franchisees are not required to have automotive experience, as AAMCO provides them with comprehensive training at its state-of-the-art training facility, AAMCO University, so that they can hit the ground running. “We’re focused on finding candidates who want to build a business by leveraging additional revenue streams through AAMCO’s total car care and national accounts programs,” he said.
Acquiring those accounts is made easier by AAMCO’s solid reputation and national brand footprint, the franchising development director said. Currently, AAMCO has nearly 650 centers across the country including centers throughout Canada.
But while the company has a significant presence throughout North America, there is still room for growth.
Recently, Simon explained, AAMCO has partnered with Buxton, a company that specializes in customer analytics and predictive modelling, to determine where in the U.S. the brand should focus its expansion efforts. The software takes into account the demographics of AAMCO’s current locations and compares them to those of the rest of the country to identify the best areas to open new centers.
Through this partnership, AAMCO has identified several new priority markets across the country.
“There are still many opportunities for growth,” said Simon.
Current Automotive Industry Feeds into AAMCO’s Growth
The current state of the automotive industry feeds AAMCO’s growth, continued Simon, as people hold onto their cars longer — average age of vehicles on the road is over 11 years today — and need a quality place for maintenance and repair. This growing trend has ultimately allowed AAMCO to capture a larger market share.
Along with that is AAMCO’s professionalism and quality of service, which allows the company to maintain a competitive advantage, especially when it comes to transmission repair, the director of franchise development said.
In fact, AAMCO recently opened a state of the art transmission remanufacturing plant near AAMCO University in Newnan, Georgia, just south of Atlanta so any franchisee can order a rebuilt transmission delivered straight to their center within a day or two.
Having the transmission remanufacturing plant provides a faster turnaround time for the customer and increases profitability for franchise owners by allowing them to have more bays open for other total car care services.
Training and Ongoing Support
Initial training for AAMCO franchisees lasts for a month, with two weeks at AAMCO University, a week at the center and the final week back at the training facility. AAMCO also provides a personal business coach for each new location where they work side by side with the new franchisee for the first five weeks the center is open.
In addition, AAMCO’s regional field managers train franchisees’ customer service managers and technicians at AAMCO University so they can progress their skills.
“What we’ve been able to do is establish a career path for our franchisees’ employees and take a vested interest in their professional development,” Simon noted.
As part of its ongoing support, AAMCO will provide assistance with site selection, as well as construction and design. The company also assists franchisees with recruiting talent needed to operate an efficient business and obtaining access to finance.
As the automotive industry continues to evolve, AAMCO is well positioned for growth in 2016 and beyond.