Faith Fuels Success at Christian Brothers Automotive

Faith-Based Investors Drawn to Christian Brothers Automotive

Ethical Car Repair Franchise Focuses on Community Engagement and Biblical Principles

Christian Brothers Automotive franchisees put their hearts into their work. The car repair brand integrates faith – to “love your neighbor as yourself,” as Jesus Christ instructed – into its culture and customer service. The faith-based franchise maintains sound financial footing because of Americans’ aging cars, and it has never had a single one of its 275-plus locations shut down.

The franchise reflects U.S. customers’ and investors’ gravitation toward socially and ethically responsible businesses. Many investors seek profits from companies whose practices and missions align with their religious values and beliefs, according to Investopedia. Writing on LinkedIn, Kenny Suarez says faith inspires entrepreneurs who want purpose and meaning in addition to financial success. Further, he states that these business owners develop a strong sense of purpose and direction that can sustain them through economic downturns. 

Christian Brothers Automotive franchisees benefit from surging demand for their services. More than 250 million cars travel U.S. roadways, according to research by ConsumerAffairs.com. And Americans are hanging onto their cars longer: In 2023, the average age of their cars was 12.5 years, Statista.com states. Now 84 million of those cars are 16 years or older, Christian Brothers Automotive says, compared to 35 million aged 16 or older in 2002. The 2024 market for auto repairs is expected to total more than $188.1 billion, Mordor Intelligence reports, and by 2029 it’s expected to exceed $251.5 billion, a compound annual growth rate of 5.98%.

Christian Brothers Automotive Franchise

Christian Brothers Automotive has grown purposefully since it began in 1982 in Houston. The faith-based franchise was founded on the premise that the franchisees and customers should be treated like family – that they are owed integrity, respect and transparency at all times. 

Christian Brothers Automotive franchise
Christian Brothers Automotive offers courtesy inspections, and every lobby, waiting area and restroom are comfortably furnished and clean.

The brand offers courtesy inspections, and every lobby, waiting area and restroom are comfortably furnished and clean. Guest amenities include free beverages and Wi-Fi, and there’s a shuttle service for customers who can’t stick around while Christian Brothers Automotive technicians do maintenance and repairs. Customers are reassured by the brand’s warranty on both parts and labor.

Ideal Franchisee

Christian Brothers Automotive welcomes new franchisees, and an automotive work history isn’t necessary. The brand’s founder, Mark Carr, had zero automotive experience himself, and 85% of the faith-based franchise’s owners have not worked in the industry before investing in the brand.  

Instead, Christian Brothers Automotive seeks business-savvy leaders who are inspired by the franchise’s mission and vision. Franchisees are professionals passionate about running a business based on biblical principles. In addition, these entrepreneurs possess strong servant leadership capabilities, perseverance and customer service skills. 

A lot of our technicians love the job because they get to work for someone who is ethical and honest.

Dallas-area franchisees Amy and Mark Stehr

The ideal Christian Brothers Automotive franchisees value honesty, integrity and reliability, as do their technicians, say Dallas-area franchisees Amy and Mark Stehr: “A lot of our technicians love the job because they get to work for someone who is ethical and honest. Christian Brothers’ mission attracts them. These are very knowledgeable guys who are really proud of their work, and when we bring a guest into the garage to explain a repair to them and they get to see the guest who they are helping, it makes a difference. Plus, we really are a family.”

Franchisees also are attracted to the automotive shops’ hours, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays (and closed on weekends) to ensure that franchise owners and employees have time to spend with family and to participate in church and community activities. Texas franchisee Jonita White applauds the faith-based franchise’s work-life balance. “I thoroughly enjoy that valuable time with my husband and kids. I get to be an involved parent, parishioner and member of the community, all while building my business.” 

Community Engagement

Throughout the Christian Brothers Automotive franchise, personnel take pride in giving back to their communities. For example, Brad and Kasey Fink, franchisees in the Houston area, are gratified by their annual single-moms’ oil-change day: “We work with local churches to find people who need it. We don’t advertise it or broadcast it to the masses. It’s an awesome experience that our staff thoroughly enjoys. At a lot of places, if you ask people who don’t work weekends to come in and work Saturday, it would be like pulling teeth. But this is something people love. That kind of heart, that kind of mindset, separates us from our competitors.” 

Leading talented teams and receiving guests’ positive feedback are rewarding for franchisees, too. Jeff Cole, an owner in Alabama, says, “I absolutely love hearing our guests say, ‘I’ve never been treated this well in an automotive repair shop,’ or ‘This is the best group of people I’ve ever worked with when it comes to my car.’”

Franchise Training

All Christian Brothers Automotive franchisees receive comprehensive training and ongoing support. They find out about the faith-based franchise’s culture and systems, and they observe a franchise in action. They also develop confidence by learning about the technical aspects of the business and via their training on team leadership, guest experience and sales. 

Instruction includes 120 hours of self-paced online training, two weeks of in-office training in Houston and two weeks of supervised hands-on training. The brand’s home office team of 150-plus people helps with employee recruitment and initial interviews, operational coaching, marketing, and accounting. 

Christian Brothers Automotive Locations

Christian Brothers Automotive purchases sites based on carefully honed selection guidelines (demographics, property size, price, zoning, traffic counts, etc.) along with the recommendations of its real estate team. Then the facilities are built. A franchisee can expect about 18 to 24 months of development time, and during the lead-up to launch, a franchisee may keep his or her current job.

Once a location has been operating for about a year, all franchisees return to the home office for three days spent networking with other franchisees, receiving business evaluations, and engaging in fellowship and fun. Networking and interfacing with the corporate team continues indefinitely, and the brand hosts an annual convention that drills down into best practices, celebrates achievements, and offers more fun and fellowship time.

Investing in the Faith-Based Franchise

Christian Brothers Automotive franchise

Day-to-day activities at each Christian Brothers Automotive location vary, but tasks such as cleaning the lobby, writing service tickets and ordering parts are routine. The faith-based franchise has a low initial investment of $85,000, and franchisees need a minimum net worth of $250,000. Veterans are eligible for a discount. Christian Brothers Automotive has locations available in Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. Territories are soon expected to be available in Kansas, Missouri and North Carolina. For more information about the Christian Brothers Automotive franchise, visit www.cbac.com and www.christianbrothersfranchise.com/.

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Mary Vinnedge is an award-winning journalist who has served as editor in chief, managing editor and senior editor at national and regional publications, including SUCCESS and Design NJ magazines. She also held reporting and editing roles at The Dallas Morning News and Charlotte Observer newspapers.

Before Mary began covering franchise news and trends as a staff writer for FranchiseWire and Franchise Consultant Magazine, she developed articles on topics ranging from lifestyle, education, health and science to home projects, horticulture, gardening, interior design and architecture. These articles included her reporting on academic news at her alma mater, Texas A&M University, when Mary worked in the marketing department of the Texas A&M Foundation. She continues to be a news junkie and subscribes to several publications.

Today Mary and her husband are empty nesters living on Galveston Island near Houston. The couple’s blended family – scattered around the United States – includes five children, four grandchildren and two very spoiled, very barky miniature schnauzer rescues.
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