Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you’re a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steve Allison and Al Chance had been business partners for decades as independent quick lube operators when Jiffy Lube International convinced them to become franchisees. Though franchising wasn’t something they were initially interested in, they ended up purchasing more than 40 service centers at once. Read on to see how they handled the change and why they feel they made the right decision.
Name: Steve Allison
Franchise owned: Jiffy Lube in South Florida
Q: How long have you owned a franchise?
My business partner, Al Chance, and I have been Jiffy Lube franchisees since we purchased 43 service centers in South Florida from Jiffy Lube International in 2008 when they decided to transition to a franchise-only model.
Q: Why franchising?
We had always been independent quick lube operators in different markets, and we were not affiliated with a specific franchise. We always thought that paying a franchise fee and royalties for a specific name and brand wasn’t the right way to go for us. But Jiffy Lube International made a compelling case that purchasing their service centers and joining the system would be a strong business opportunity. When we became Jiffy Lube franchisees we quickly realized the level of support we receive from them (for our royalties) was second to none! They have really created systems that have helped our operation tremendously, and that franchisee/franchisor relationship has proven to be invaluable to us.
Q: What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I have owned and operated independent quick lube centers since 1994, and Al has owned and operated independent quick lubes since 1980.
Q: Why did you choose this particular franchise?
We both have decades of experience in the quick lube category so it was natural for us focus on this industry. Jiffy Lube is the brand that innovated the category and they are the market leader.
Q: How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
We were in a unique situation in that we purchased a large number of existing service centers directly from the franchisor, Jiffy Lube International. For someone interested in becoming a new Jiffy Lube franchisee, the initial investment ranges from $219K to $400K, which includes items such as franchise fees, first month’s rent or security deposits, initial marketing expenses, working capital items, insurance, initial inventory, equipment, signs and fixtures.
Q: Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
Being in the quick lube industry for decades, we were pretty tied into the industry associations and publications, and already had familiarity with Jiffy Lube. We also both knew a lot of Jiffy Lube franchisees so we were able to ask them questions, and bounce ideas off of them over the years.
Q: What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
The challenge we had was going from basically zero locations to 43 operating locations overnight. Most of our challenges came from just setting the company up for success by surrounding ourselves with really good talent, making sure that everybody knew their role within the organization, and putting the right people in the right seat on the bus.
Q: What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
I don’t have any real earth-shattering advice other than “it really is all about the people.” If you can surround yourself with the right team, franchising is a great way to have systems in place to ensure long-term success for your employees and their families along with you and your family.
Q: What’s next for you and your business?
We want to continue to sustain exceptional operations, deliver an outstanding customer experience and look to steadily grow our business with the help our excellent team.