Wednesday, 15 June 2016 22:59

Maaco Aims to Have Shops in Every State As Aggressive Growth Continues

Written by Victoria Antonelli

On May 26, Autobody News reached out to Rob Cambruzzi, Vice President of Maaco Franchise Sales & Development at Driven Brands, Inc., to learn more about Maaco's recent growth, future plans, and innovative customer service.

Q) What are the driving forces behind Maaco's rapid expansion?


A) Driven Brands, which is the parent company of Maaco, was acquired by Roark Capital last April; and if you don't know Roark, they're the crème de la crème of the private equity world for franchising. They have acquired more than 50 multi-location brands, which collectively generate north of $20 billion in system wide sales. With that amount of financial support and expertise, it has enabled us to leverage everything from better relationships to best practices, and everything in between. I think that joining the Roark Capital portfolio has introduced a lot of new people who may not have looked at the auto body world as a potential investment. That's the most significant change I've seen with the company since I started four and a half years ago.


Q) Has the original Maaco model changed? If so, in what ways?


A) At its core, Maaco is based on a term we use called “cosme-lision” or cosmetic collision, which consists of hits under $2,500. On average, cosmetic collision brings in about 58% of business to shops. The historic Maaco model remains intact. We still work with single guys who are looking to get into the industry and own one shop. However, the multi-shop game has gotten to be very strong over the last two or three years, with the percentage of multi-shop operators in the chain raising from single digits in 2013, to 40% of the chain today.


We’ve done a great job at taking advantage of areas in the market that are often passed over, like consumer sales and fleet maintenance. While we have had success leveraging our expertise in these areas, there always remains room for growth in other aspects of our business. We are continuously strengthening the third leg in our stool, through our growing insurance partnerships.


Q) Do you find that Maaco customers usually go through insurance or pay out of pocket?


A) One of our value propositions is that we can typically get the job done for close to what the customer's deductible is; whether it's $500-$1000. We're providing them an opportunity to pay for their repair out-of-pocket without having to make an insurance claim, worry about the increase in their rates and so forth. So, as of now, we do see more out-of-pocket payments.

Maaco prides itself on being easy, affordable and reliable, regardless of whether you need out-of-pocket or insurance work completed. But we’re also proud to have developed great relationships in the insurance industry and those partnerships are growing.


Q) Out of the “three legs of the stool”- fleet, retail, and insurance, which is growing the fastest?


A) The fleet piece is definitely growing the fastest. By the end of 2016, $100M in fleet work will be provided to franchisees through our corporate partnerships with national accounts. That's more than a 30% growth rate; and it has been occurring for the last three years in a row. There really isn’t any organized competitor that can offer our clients the same easy, affordable, reliable service that we are known for.


Q) What is the customer service like at Maaco? How do you stand out?


A) We really prioritize marketing; we spend close to $25M annually. Once we get the customer in the door, it's very important to us that they have a great experience. What many may not realize is how important retail is to our business success. Since a lot of what we're doing is selling retail, it needs to come across as an almost Apple-like experience.


Transparency is important in the industry, especially for Maaco, so we like to keep the customer up-to-date throughout the entire repair process. In order to make that possible, we launched a new management system called OneMaaco, which integrates status updates for customers via text or email, easy-to-read estimates and automated customer reminders.


The Maaco app was specifically created to complement the way Maaco franchisees run their shops by allowing customers to receive high-level estimates, find locations, and track the progress of their car.


As we continue to evolve, our sales process does, as well. In the near future, a customer could walk into one of our centers and see a 60-inch TV that the salesperson will use to walk through our process, whether it's for collision or paint services. The videos and other visual components of these digital boards provide user-friend details on our process and let customers see more on repairs that they are interested.


Q) How do you keep your technicians up-to-date on the latest technology?


A) We have an online program called Maaco University that is available to all franchisees; we update those materials constantly to include the latest in Maaco processes, OSHA regulations, etc. We're also planning a tech expo in October in Charlotte, N.C. Vendors are joining us at the Charlotte Motor Speedway to display the latest technology.


Q) Are there Maaco shops in every state?


A) Maaco is in all but two states. One of our value propositions, especially from the fleet side, is, if you have a company in every city and every state, we can help to make sure the paints match for every fleet.


Q) How many Maaco franchises are there total?


A) We currently have 480 Maaco locations. This year, our goal is to hit the 500+ mark. We anticipate growing that number to north of 500 within the next two months.

UPDATE: On March 11, 2017, The Maaco in Mansfield, Texas hosted a grand opening event to celebrate the new location being named the 500th store in the Maaco network.


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