Hardwood floors, leather couches, artwork and decorative lighting – what sounds like a cozy family room or lobby in a posh hotel is actually the waiting room of one of more than 50 auto repair franchises across the country that is on track to grow to175 locations in the next five to seven years.
The rapidly expanding chain is operated by Christian Brothers Automotive Corporation, a faith-based company that goes against the grain of the traditional franchise model by offering franchisees an annual salary package of more than $70,000, including comprehensive family health insurance and a 50 percent share in store profits. The franchisor also manages each store’s accounting, human resources and real estate functions—owning both the land and building housing each unit.
They are primarily a mechanic shop that does in-house automotive work on vehicles – as for out-of-shop services, such as car inspections (which usually happen before you buy a Car), you can easily find mobile mechanics or folks who will do that for you outside of the norm.
With its upscale home-charm décor and emphasis on honesty and integrity, Christian Brothers Automotive Corporation has created a “positive culture shock” in the marketplace, particularly among women who are used to the dirty, dingy image of auto shops and questionable practices.
As a result, the nation’s franchise investors are taking notice – CBAC is on target to take the franchise system from 52 to 175 locations during the next five to seven years, doubling the number of store openings from approximately eight per year, to more than 16 new stores a year.
“Historically, the automotive repair industry has been plagued by negative perceptions, and women are traditionally more hesitant about the car service experience because of the dishonesty often associated with the industry,” said Mark Carr, CBAC founder and CEO. “CBAC exists to challenge the norm by insisting on quality, fairness and first-rate customer service at all times. And since women make up the majority of our customers, we go the extra mile to make them feel comfortable and at home.”
Established in 1982 as a result of Carr’s ambition to give Houston-area car owners a pleasant, professional and clean automotive service experience, CBAC’s expansion plans include opening several new locations in Florida, Colorado, Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas. New franchises are already in development in St. Louis, Missouri, Tampa, Florida and Little Rock, Arkansas. Currently, CBAC operates in eight states including Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, Kansas, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.