CARSTAR held their annual National Conference for 2011 in Seattle, WA, from September 24 through 27. The conference drew in around 400 industry members and franchisees. During a teleconference leaders of the multiple shop operator (MSO) offered insights into their future plans for growth over the next few years.
CARSTAR’s CEO, David Byers, who was added to the team as of this year, started the conference by highlighting where CARSTAR is presently. Byers said the MSO is on track to reach total sales of at least $600 million, and that according to industry averages for independent shops, individual CARSTAR franchises make about twice as much per year.
Byers also talked about how the MSO has been able to continue to grow thanks to continued industry consolidation since the company’s inception in 1989 and an increasing trend of insurers moving towards using MSOs.
At the Conference Ryan Keller was named the new head of Business Development, and he is expected to help the MSO open 40 to 50 new stores in the next year. This is 2 to 3 times more growth than the MSO has been able to produce over the last few years. This dramatic increase in growth is expected because of a renewed focus on acquiring new stores and adding a lot of new staff, according to Byers.
Dan Young, Senior Vice President of Insurance Relations mentioned that part of CARSTAR’s success can be attributed to the way their franchises are set up. Although each store is a CARSTAR franchise, there remains one owner at each location and this enables the franchises to self-manage and have a single point of contact for insurers and customers per franchise.
Stacy Bartnik, Vice President of Field Services also talked about the MSO’s continued efforts to grow existing stores as well. She mentioned training existing shops on lean processes so they can improve cycle and touch times.
Gerald Wicklund, Owner of Wicklund’s CARSTAR was also on the teleconference. His franchise was the first franchise of CARSTAR and he is the second generation owner. He talked about the Conference’s focus on educating their franchises about effective marketing and website and social media management.
Wicklund also mentioned that the military appreciation efforts his franchise makes have been very effective marketing tools for his business.
“25 to 30 percent of my customers that come in the door have done their own research before I write the estimate,” said Wicklund.
Wicklund’s CARSTAR was also honored with the Outstanding CSI Award at the conference this year.
For more information please visit www.carstar.com.