ONE OF CHRISTIAN BROTHERS AUTOMOTIVE’S FIRST FEMALE OWNERS CONTINUES TO GROW HER BUSINESS
When Darleen Reese opened her Christian Brothers Automotive franchise in Brentwood, Tennessee, in 2000, she was the eighth store franchise overall and the first to own a shop outside of Texas.
A candid and forthcoming person, Darleen says running her shop has involved “a lot of hard work but I couldn’t be more thankful,” she says. “Hard work creates success, and I think many people in today’s world are abandoning the concept of a strong work ethic. Owning a Christian Brothers franchise has been rewarding, and I wouldn’t have expected it not to involve a lot of work. I love all the things that demand your attention and make a business work. I love the challenge of building all the relationships needed to maintain a healthy business.”
We asked Darleen to share some insights and lessons she’s learned over the past 16 years of owning Christian Brothers Automotive franchise.
Darleen Reese, pictured third from the left, became a Christian Brothers Automotive franchisee in 2000. She says ownership has provided her with an “interesting career and a great income.”
What are a few of your favorite things about being a Christian Brothers franchisee?
I feel extremely fortunate. Owning a Christian Brothers franchise continues to provide me with an interesting career and a great income. I have a lot of long-time customers. I am so blessed with a wealth of long-term relationships and a great – and highly supportive – staff. It’s wonderful to be able to get to know my customers and staff over the years. Every day I see familiar faces walk in the door.
I love the guys in my shop. (I call them ‘my guys’, but there’s one gal, too!) They are all family-oriented people. We don’t have any high-pressure sales people. There’s nobody trying to write up work that doesn’t need to be done. They just want to treat people the way they’d want to be treated. It’s rewarding to know we’ve been able to create such a caring work culture.
How do you build that caring culture?
I spend a lot of time with the technicians in the shop and my team members in the office talking about the repairs they are working on. I’m not an owner that sits in the office by any means. Being involved with my team and problem-solving alongside them I think creates a caring culture that the customers can feel. I came to Christian Brothers after being a stay-at-home mom, relationships and how people are treated is very important to me. Who I hire and who works here is really important to me as well. I want everyone to feel like they are part of the team and know I am too.
Christian Brothers Automotive franchise has succeeded by partnering with outgoing people who love to serve customers and make a difference in people’s lives.
As a longtime Christian Brothers Automotive franchise, you’ve likely “seen it all.” After 16 years as an owner, can you talk about some of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
Many people come to this business with many preconceived ideas and notions, so franchisees need to be aware that they’ll be working with some version of that perception. The industry has had a reputation for overcharging or fixing things that don’t need to be fixed. Our job from our side of the counter is to educate the customer and to build that relationship so the customer can have a new experience of trust. This is the part of owning a Christian Brothers that I enjoy the most.
What is it like to be a member of the Christian Brothers Automotive franchise family?
It’s just great. I love it when we get together every year for our annual meetings. It doesn’t matter where the shops are from; we all deal with the same things. The bottom line is we all want to take care of people and that includes the home office. They provide great support from their end so we can focus on our customers.
How much free time do you have as a Christian Brothers franchise owner?
After you get up and running you can build some flexibility into your schedule by adding staff as you grow. It’s not a business you can remove yourself from, but you certainly can have your freedom. I know if I’m sick for a day or two I can stay home. Or if I need to take a trip or help my children out, I can do it. It’s really nice to be able to have that kind of flexibility.
What kind of person makes a good Christian Brothers Automotive franchisee?
Someone who enjoys variety and likes building a team. Someone who wants a day-to-day business that presents challenges and allows them to engage in their community.
At Christian Brothers you are always looking over the business and saying to yourself, “What can we do better? What do we need to do to grow?” A Christian Brothers franchisee has to have continued desire to learn and grow with their business.
OWN A CHRISTIAN BROTHERS AUTOMOTIVE FRANCHISE
Founded in Houston in 1982, Christian Brothers is an automotive repair facility based on a core philosophy of honesty, integrity, reliability and exceptional customer service. The company provides full-service automotive repair for all domestic and foreign vehicles and prides itself on providing a pleasant, professional and clean automotive service experience every time. The company’s service model includes courtesy shuttles that make it easy for customers to drop their car off and get a ride to home or work. When the car is ready, they pick their customers up. This makes it easy for customers to have their vehicle serviced Monday-Friday. It also makes it possible for Christian Brothers to close on the weekends, and allow franchisees and employees to spend that time with their families, church, and friends.
If you’d like to learn more about owning your own Christian Brothers franchise, contact us to learn more or call us. We’d love to start a conversation with you.