Christian Brothers Automotive Franchise Review: 'I couldn't be happier'

Christian Brothers Automotive Franchise Review: 'I couldn't be happier'

Blair Jordan opened his Christian Brothers Automotive franchise in Spring, TX, in 2012.

Blair Jordan felt like God was calling him to do something else. After 14 years as a home builder, during which he oversaw the construction of everything from multimillion dollar custom show homes to large subdivisions, he and his wife Alicia started talking and praying about starting their own business — something that would be more steady and predictable and might better support their family. Then a friend gave him a tip: The place I take my car is really nice. You should look into it.

He opened his automotive franchise in Spring, TX, in 2012. This is Blair’s story.

How did you learn about Christian Brothers?

I followed my friend’s advice! I contacted Christian Brothers — I didn’t even know they were a franchise at the time. After years of wondering what the next step was going to be, and looking under other stones and deciding they weren’t right, once I talked to (vice president of franchise development) Josh Wall and saw the Christian Brothers vision, philosophy and values, I knew this was where I wanted to be.

What impressed you about Christian Brothers?

They believe in treating others as you would want to be treated, and it shows in the way they deal with folks. Their ethical standards are high, and that’s really important to my wife and me — honesty and integrity not only in the way you treat your customers, but the way you treat your associates, your suppliers; treating the folks you work with on a regular basis just as well as you treat your customers.

What do you like about owning your store?

I enjoy helping people have a more positive experience in automotive repair. I enjoy seeing the relief on people’s faces when they realize that we can repair their car, we will make it as easy for them as we can, and they can trust us. I’ve had people tell me that it used to be really stressful to take their car to a mechanic, and now there’s no stress at all. That makes me feel really good. I also enjoy having a positive work environment. We’re blessed by the folks who work here, and I like to see them grow and accomplish their goals, and I try to help them do it. I want to be a positive influence in their life. I make sure they know that we care about them. You know, I worked for a guy many years ago who was good to me and who helped me in many ways, and all he asked is that one day I pass it on. I’ve never forgotten that. That’s more than just showing up to work. It’s in the way you handle things every day. You do for them what you would want them to do for you. I’ve had people who have taught me and poured themselves into making me a stronger person, and I want to do the same.

Christian Brothers sets itself apart from competitors, in part, by giving everyone the weekend off. What impact does that have on your business?

The hours are very important. I’m able to spend weekends with my wife, Alicia, and my boys (ages 5, 7 and 10). Having weekends with family and friends is important, not only for me, but for my staff. It gives people time to recharge, and everyone works hard Monday through Friday. It also makes our technicians very happy. Having Saturday off is unheard of for auto shops, and it helps us recruit the best people.

You do work Saturdays for the first few months, when customers are starting to learn about the business, but once they understand that we can use our courtesy shuttle to get them to work or wherever they need to go, they like being able to drop their car off on in the middle of the week.

Do you spend much time shuttling customers around?

I do a lot of the shuttles. It gives me a chance to connect with customers and get to know them on a personal level.

How important is previous automotive experience for a Christian Brothers owner?

I really don’t think it’s important. As an owner, one of the strengths I have is the ability to see things from a customer’s perspective. When you’ve been in industry for a long time, there’s a tendency to view everything from your side of the counter, because that’s what you’ve been doing for years. I think Christian Brothers has done a good job of maintaining the customer’s perspective.

It has been fun for me to learn new things. I have a ton of respect for the guys I have here who have taken the time to teach me about the technical side of auto repair. Having the opportunity to learn from my staff has been great.

What attracts customers to Christian Brothers rather than competitors?

They know that we’re only going to tell them what their car needs and won’t try to sell them repairs that they don’t need, or sell an expensive repair when a less expensive repair is all they need. That’s a big thing. We also treat them like guests and provide the highest level of customer service we can, because customers deserve it. When you go to a nice restaurant or a nice hotel, you expect great service. When you go to an auto repair store, you deserve the same thing.

What does your typical day look like?

I greet everybody who comes to the counter if I can, introducing myself to new customers and welcoming back old ones. I do bulk ordering, talk with vendors, do payroll and look at the best ways to market the business, using coupons and advertisements as well as community events. I keep a running to-do list in front of me, and I’m always going down my list and attacking that. It keeps me busy. I love it. I also have meetings with my service manager and service advisor, and every two weeks we get the whole team together for a meeting in the garage. Every Friday I buy lunch and bring that in, and we try to take 30 minutes to sit down together, talk as a group, eat lunch and see if anybody has needs — like a kid who is sick or a child who is not doing well in school. We make jokes and we look out for each other. I think it’s a good growth point for us. We try to have a good time. Our technicians are always smiling. That’s a good thing, and you don’t see that when you go to most repair shops.

Has the business been performing the way you hoped?

It has exceed my expectations, and I couldn’t be happier. We are hitting my personal goals, and I couldn’t be happier. I expect a lot out of myself. From the perspective of my family life and from a financial perspective, we are meeting or exceeding my goals. I couldn’t be happier. That is due to a great staff, a great team and a lot of blessings.

What does franchise ownership allow you to do that you couldn’t before?

I believe it will afford us the ability to do more things as family. When you start a business, you prepare yourself to work really hard and we’ve done that and continue to do that, but I think it will help us accomplish what we want as a family — and we’re already seeing that it will give us the ability to do that. We’ll be able to send our kids to college and take nice family vacations.

Would you recommend a Christian Brothers franchise to someone else? Why?

Absolutely. They have exceeded my expectations as a company, as a franchise model and as a business partner. They provide the support you need to open up, the technical support to help you with the vehicles, and they’re very fair. There are probably thousands of franchise models out there, and it can be hard to sort through them all, but you only hear good things from Christian Brothers owners.