Cars are the most common mode of transport in the U.S., whether it’s your transportation to work or the vehicle that gets you out on the open road for vacation. And no matter what car you have — from Ford to Ferrari — they all need automotive maintenance to keep them running. We all know the COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things, but it certainly didn’t change the need for cars or car services.
Statistica’s Global Consumer Survey shows that 76 percent of Americans still rely on their cars to commute to and from work. Only 11 percent of over 5,000 respondents use public transport, and 10 percent use bicycles. While alternatives to cars have increased in popularity since 2019, none come close to challenging the car’s status as king of the American commute.
Some may even argue that there were increased road trips when air travel felt overwhelming and unsafe due to COVID-19. Many of us escaped big cities to the countryside and flocked to National parks and woodsy cabins in our cars. During this summer alone, it was reported that 80 percent of Americans planned road trips.
It’s safe to say that routine auto care such as oil changes, tire rotations, brake services, transmission checks, and the alike are here to stay. In other words, the auto repair industry is a popular business model for franchise owners — both pre-pandemic and today.
If you’ve spent time on the road — or have automotive repair or maintenance experience — you know the names Strickland Brothers and Meineke Car Care Center. These two market leaders, along with a couple of other franchises, are the top auto franchises of 2022. We can’t wait to tell you more about how you can franchise one in your city or town.
Before we break down these franchise details, let’s examine what makes a successful franchise.
At Guidant, we believe a top franchise not only has revenue potential for franchise owners but also needs to excel in core values. Exceptional customer service, satisfaction for a franchise’s customer base and potential customers, as well as the ability to be a positive player in the community by giving back and honoring a wide variety of business owners, are just a few of those core values we look for.
That said, let’s cruise down the list of successful franchises for 2022, starting with Strickland Brothers:
Sliding in with an ‘A’ grade from franchisegrade.com, Strickland Brothers is another car care, repair, and maintenance franchise showcasing an array of advanced maintenance services. However, Strickland Brothers only had a few franchise locations in the United States (in Aurora, Colorado) before 2020. That’s because Strickland Brothers started franchising in 2019, so it’s the new kid on the block in the auto franchise industry.
Still, the franchise sold more than 100 units in 2020 — even during a worldwide pandemic and changing economy — so they’re doing something right.
Strickland Brothers offer 90 hours of initial training, with 25 hours in the classroom and 65 hours in on-the-job training.
Supportive Services, Comprehensive Marketing
Services at Strickland include a 10-minute drive-through oil change and other auto maintenance and repair services.
The Strickland Brothers website states: “Quick lube automotive is an $8 billion industry with more than 230 million licensed drivers in the U.S.”
Undeniably, oil changes will always be necessary as long as vehicles are on the road.
Communications and marketing support are more perks of a Strickland Brothers auto care franchise. Strickland says its marketing is a comprehensive program focusing on websites, social media, and more.
For real estate, Strickland Brothers claims lower costs than its competitors. Strickland’s website says, “Our competitors’ build-out costs are around $650,000 while our costs are approximately $250,000.” The franchise touts simplicity and the ability to scale as its key differentiators.
Rapid Growth in Franchising
Although Strickland Brothers has only been franchising for three years, it ranked No. 29 (out of 150 franchises) in the Top New & Emerging Franchises in 2022 Ranking.
Strickland Brothers also ranked a No. 130 in the 2022 Fastest-Growing Franchises Worldwide Ranking. Clearly, Strickland Brothers has hit the ground running as a franchise business.
Strickland Brothers Franchise Summary
- The franchise offers a wide range of car care services and performs well as a preventive maintenance business.
- The initial franchise fee is $54,900, with a total investment range of $217,900 to $287,400.
- Royalty fees are 5 percent.
- Franchise Grade: A
Meineke Car Care Center
Meineke leads the pack when it comes to experience with more than five decades of success, according to its website. While most auto franchises began in the 1990s, Meineke began offering franchises in 1972. The car care center considers itself a “trustworthy partner” and claims 70 percent brand recognition.
Regarding services, Meineke offers maintenance and repair such as exhaust and brake system components at over 700 locations across the country. For now, Meineke car care centers are located in 47 states but are heavily populated in the southern region.
Tried-and-True Training, Technology
Meineke Car Care Centers offer initial training both in the classroom and on the job. They also offer 24/7 access to coaches for virtual and on-location assistance.
According to Meineke’s website, the auto care center has a strong focus on technology — both internal systems such as KPI dashboards for business intelligence and customer-facing solutions that help gain loyalty and leads.
While Meineke is currently experiencing negative growth, it still made $509 million global sales in auto repair last year according to Franchise Times. Meineke also ranked No. 63 (out of 150 franchises) in 2021’s Top Franchises for Veterans Ranking.
In the News
Meineke Car Care Centers does have lawsuits, some of which have been settled.
The auto care giant has received several awards in the last 10 years, including:
- No. 1 Ranked Franchise in Auto Repair & Maintenance (Entrepreneur Magazine, 2016)
- Franchise Gator Top 100 (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
Franchise Summary for Meineke Car Care Centers
- Long-standing auto service franchise offering exhaust and brake system components.
- Meineke has a franchise fee of up $35,000, with a total initial investment range of $319,774 to $610,318.
- The royalty fee is 7.0 percent.
Another key factor with Meineke is that the franchise offers real estate optimization or data-driven tools to help you find the perfect franchise location. So, if there’s not a Meineke near you, that’s something to consider: Meineke may be able to help you find an optimal location.
Christian Brothers Automotive Company
Christian Brothers Automotive Company (CBAC) is a different kind of auto repair franchise. This one has a faith-based foundation and focuses on creating an honest, accommodating environment to improve customer satisfaction.
Starting in 1982, Christian Brothers has operated in the automotive industry for several decades with more than 250 locations in 30 states and a heavy presence in the south.
This service automotive franchise aims to put people first by being transparent and fair about its pricing and vehicle services. The Christian Brothers’ tagline is: “Fixing cars, driving joy.”
Currently, franchisegrade.com gives Christian Brothers an ‘A+’ — its highest rating.
Christian Brothers offers repairs for air conditioners, air filtration, batteries, computer diagnostics, exhaust systems, electrical services, tune-ups, tire rotations, and transmissions.
Growth Looks Good
For this franchise, outlet growth is up by 247. Turnover is also in the green range, which means the franchise is in good health — and it’s forecasted to stay that way. According to Franchise Times, Christian Brothers had a 12.6 percent sales growth in auto repair with over $370 million global sales within the last year. The future looks bright for Christian Brothers in the auto service industry.
Ready for Resources?
Christian Brothers Automotive provides resources for its franchisees, including:
- A 700-hour comprehensive training program. Approximately 215 of the hours are in the classroom, and 365 hours are on-the-job. The remaining 120 hours are fulfilled with online training.
- Veteran-focused mindset. In 2012, Christian Brothers was named “the number one Best Performing Veteran Franchise by USAA Magazine.”
- Expert assistance to help you with hiring skilled technicians for your franchise.
Christian Brothers Automotive Franchise Summary
- This franchise provides a range of services for automotive maintenance and auto care.
- The initial franchise fee is $135,000, with a total investment range of between $520,250 to $640,400.
- Royalty fees are 50 percent.
- Franchise Grade: A+
This franchise is a more specialized player in the automotive franchise business, claiming the title of the “worldwide leader in transmission repair.” With over 600 locations throughout the U.S., the name AAMCO (Anthony A. Martino Company) may sound familiar. Like Christian Brothers Automotive and Meineke, AAMCO outlets are also heavily located in the south.
AAMCO has been around since 1963, so this franchise has longevity and experience on its side. According to AAMCO, auto repair is a 67-billion-dollar industry.
This eco-friendly automotive care company is also adapting its technology and systems for electric vehicles, like Tesla’s, and hybrid vehicles like Lexus, Nissan Leaf, and Lincoln.
AAMCO earns a ‘C’ on franchisegrade.com, slightly lower than the other franchises on our list. AAMCO currently shows negative growth, which could account for its lower grade. In good news, the franchise turnover rate is low. AAMCO remains an iconic brand with over 50 years of experience and is known as the world’s largest transmission repair franchise.
According to Franchise Times, AAMCO is experiencing a negative 5.6 percent sales growth. Still, AAMCO made a promising $396 million in global sales last year and was ranked among top franchises in Entrepreneur’s 2022 highly competitive Franchise 500®.
AAMCO emphasizes its training and support offerings by investing in new technology to keep up with the auto industry and electric or hybrid cars of the future. In fact, the franchise has an automotive training institute in Georgia named AAMCO University. Franchisees can attend more than 300 hours of classes. Plus, AAMCO offers an actual garage to put your expertise into practice before opening up shop.
Recently, AAMCO was also recognized for its commitment to expanding virtual training for franchisees in Entrepreneur’s “10 Ways the Pandemic Has Changed Franchising.”
AAMCO Franchise Summary
- AAMCO specializes in transmission repairs, especially for modern, electric, and hybrid vehicles, while offering a wide range of auto care and repair services.
- The initial franchise fee is $39,500, with a total investment range of between $223,600 and $330,500.
- Royalty fees are 7.5 percent.
- Franchise Grade: C
You’re eligible for reduced franchise fees if you’re a veteran with an honorable discharge.
Financing an Automotive Franchise
While they may adapt and evolve to become more fuel-efficient, cars aren’t going away anytime soon. In other words, you can be assured that this industry has a solid client base.
Public transport will always be around, but vehicles will likely remain king of American commutes. And more and more of them are becoming hybrid or entirely electric-based, so successful franchisees will need to adapt to that shift to eco-friendly auto care services.
No matter the make and model of the car, consumers will continue to need a range of auto repair and vehicle maintenance services — such as those offered by Strickland Brothers, Meineke, Christian Brothers, and AAMO — for the foreseeable future. The revenue potential of the automotive industry is why it’s a popular business for entrepreneurs and an excellent opportunity for prospective franchisees.
If you have an affinity for autos, an entrepreneurial spirit — and a drive to become a small business owner — an automotive franchise could be right for you. And with the abundance of successful automotive franchise opportunities, you’re bound to find your ideal business.
Financing is the first step in your business venture. Pre-qualify now to find a financial solution that fits your needs with Guidant Financial. You’ll be one step closer to becoming a franchise owner in the automotive or automotive services industry!