The Evolving Automotive Franchise Market
The automotive market for franchising has consistently been one of the strongest, best performing markets in all of franchising for over half of a century. Some of the franchise industry’s biggest and most prolific brands are based in the automotive market. In today’s marketplace of convenience and mobility, the trend for a greater need to have services and products that support the automotive market seems to be only increasing. I’m probably not the only one who noticed that virtually every city has worse traffic than they did only a few years ago. It’s pretty simple math really, more and more people driving equates to a larger number of cars on the road and busier lives means that we need to have convenient and accessible services to keep our cars running.
The age old top franchise brands of the automotive market continue to perform in Midas, Jiffy Lube amongst others, but today there is an increasing trend towards mobility. Customers don’t just want a convenient location where they can take their vehicle, they want the service to come to them. This trend has become apparent in so many market segments and in categories that just didn't seem possible to “Make Mobile” in the past. One of the newest automotive franchise brands to hit the U.S. markets is No-H2O, a waterless car washing franchise that has over 40 franchises throughout Europe and Middle East and has just launched the franchise in the U.S. It is an incredible service in that car washes can be done onsite due to the waterless component of the service, no water equals the ability to wash a vehicle anywhere the customer wants and what separates No-H2O significantly from others is the technology platform. Like Uber, No-H2O has developed a system where customers can schedule an appointment on their phone, be notified who is coming to deliver services and what time they will arrive to complete the job. Finelines Auto Painting is a mobile painting service that delivers touch up painting services and onsite auto painting work to dealerships and customers in an efficient system. The dealers can justify outsourcing the work to Finelines and the mobile platform makes the service as convenient as possible for the client.
The second component to the evolution of the automotive franchise market is the integration of technology. The days of a sweaty, dirty and smelly auto shop are long gone and now the typical automotive franchise is a professional, clean and well-presented service brand. As part of this transition, the integration of technology throughout all aspects of the business has been critical and successful automotive franchises have embraced systems in all parts of their business. Today’s automotive franchise brands have incredible franchise marketing systems and lead generation platforms in place to drive traffic. Good automotive franchise systems need operational systems that manage jobs, staffing inventory control and all of the operational components inherent in managing a business in the category. Most of these systems and technology are cloud-based platforms and are integrating market leading technology to make the business work seamlessly and offer a duplicable franchise model.
Ultimately, here is what I like about the automotive space in franchising:
First, we are driving a lot nowadays and there are just more cars on the road increasing the volume of potential customers.
Second, the speed of life is increasing and with less time, customers need convenience and speed in order to manage day-to-day responsibilities making the automotive category even more in demand.
Third, cars are just tough to work on with increasing technology incorporated into most vehicles and with the decreasing volume of tradesmen and women coming into the workforce, people have to go to a professional service provider to have their vehicle serviced.
All of these market factors make the automotive franchise segment an attractive one and when considering home based automotive, the category presents an incredible potential ROI. Overall, the automotive category is full of opportunity and new, innovative franchise brands; my thought would be to dig into the home-based and technology-driven franchises first to find today’s best franchise opportunities.
Christopher Conner is the President of Franchise Marketing Systems and has spent the last decade in the franchise industry working with several hundred different franchise systems in management, franchise sales and franchise development work.