June 14, 2024

Grease Monkey Owner Shares His Keys to Success

Grease Monkey owner Tom Tobin (second from right) and his wife pictured at the IFA conference

Award winner Tom Tobin discusses his three years as an owner

Grease Monkey® owner Tom Tobin (above, second from right) won a Franchisee of the Year award at this year’s International Franchise Association convention. The award recognizes franchise owners whose performance is outstanding. 

His win is impressive — even more so when you hear his story.

His story

Tom’s store opened in 2021 — during the pandemic. Because of the pandemic, drive-by traffic at his location had fallen. People were working from home and driving less. By the time traffic began to rebound, a construction project was underway in front of his store.

But Tom persevered, and now his business is thriving. 2023 was his best year yet, and Tom hopes to do even better this year. He says he’s on track to open a second Grease Monkey store and then plans to open a third.

Learning to pivot

Now Tom is facing a new challenge. He was opening a car wash at his store because a nearby car wash closed, leaving a gap in the market. But an investor bought and renovated the former car wash, and it re-opened recently.

Tom found a way to adjust. He sold the car wash equipment he’d bought and is converting the car wash bay into a brake bay that can accommodate more vehicles than the current capacity.

“That helps with our ability to give our guests what they’ve been asking for,” he says. “And we can provide something for our techs to help them advance professionally and make more money. So it helps all around.”

He says his ability to adapt and succeed is rooted in several key factors.

Grit, tenacity, commitment

Tom says it’s like the song Tubthumping: “I get knocked down, but I get up again.” He credits his faith as a source of support and says he believes that he and his family are where they’re supposed to be. He adds, “Just because things are built on faith doesn’t make them easy, and that’s OK. But you get up and go.”

The franchisor model

It’s important to follow the guidance that the franchisor provides because the franchisor has done everything that you’re going to do thousands and thousands of times, Tom says. His advice is to follow the model and then make it better.

His approach: Look at how you do things. Eliminate waste. Don’t accept mediocrity. If you err, you err on the side of what’s the best for the guest.

“I’m not trying to beat my competitors. I want my competitors to want to be like us,” he adds.

Put “serve” back in customer service

One woman told him that she drives almost three hours for oil changes at his location. “Her husband loves that she comes to our location. He trusts us. That means the world,” Tom says.

I always tell our staff, “We can’t change what’s going on in our guests’ lives, but we can make 20 minutes better for them.”

He enjoys it when people compare his Grease Monkey to Chick-fil-A or Buc-ee’s. “What they just told me is that we’re providing great service, and it’s very clean.”

Winning an IFA award

“I was just really, really proud to accept on behalf of our team. They work really hard,” Tom says about winning an IFA award.

“I didn’t realize the magnitude of what that meant when I was first told that we had won,” he says. At first, Tom thought it was an award from Grease Monkey, but then found out that he’d been nominated by FullSpeed Automotive (Grease Monkey’s parent company) and awarded by the IFA.

Franchisee support

Tom appreciates the support he gets from the Grease Monkey home office. 

“I feel like there’s nothing I can’t count on them for. Whether it’s marketing support, operational support, sanity checks on ideas that I have, encouragement. The thing I like about Grease Monkey is their culture of support and their heart. I think it’s rare.”

He also mentions the support he gets from fellow Grease Monkey owners. 

“We have a Texas WhatsApp group. I can pick up my phone right now and can have, literally, at least 10 franchisees responding. I can have that in probably 30 minutes,” he says

Learn more

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