Grease Monkey Has a Method for Choosing the Best Real Estate
If you’re thinking of opening a business, one of your first questions is probably, “How do I find the best location?”
Our store owners work with members of our Development Team. One of them is Joe Stephens, our Senior Director of Real Estate. Joe is relatively new at Grease Monkey®, but he’s an experienced professional. At his previous position, he was awarded by franchisees for his outstanding support securing great real estate, and he won MVP twice.
Joe uses a combination of travel and data analysis to find the best locations. Data analysis includes looking at demographics, population density, neighborhood growth trends, disposable income, and the mix of nearby businesses that can influence traffic.
Feet-on-the-ground analysis involves looking at areas that hit all the previous criteria, then examining details like traffic patterns, curb cuts, proximity to stop lights, and visibility for drivers.
We asked Joe to explain more about his role as a member of the Development Team.
When do franchisees meet you?
People meet me at Discovery Day. We’ll have an introductory call once the contract is signed, and then I’ll introduce them to a broker.
How do you search for real estate in a new territory?
I want to know about the real estate in a market before we have a franchisee there. So when we open a location in a new territory, I already know the market somewhat. I’ve built relationships with brokers over time. They send me properties constantly because they know I’m always looking.
I like to have several locations in mind for a new store. Sometimes people think they have the perfect location, and it falls through. Real estate is a constant churn.
What sort of things are you looking for?
Our type of real estate is harder to find. There’s not a lot of freestanding quick lubes being built, but you can find it. We like to put locations in the suburbs. I’ll use Houston as an example: Katy, The Woodlands, and Spring are high-growth areas. That’s what we look for.
Location, location, location
Are there common misconceptions that people have?
Yes. Probably the most common one is that the red flags you see at a site can be easily overcome. People think, ”I’ll just work harder or spend more money on marketing.” But you can’t overcome bad real estate.
What do you do when a franchisee likes a location that’s not quite right?
I give franchisees the data. You can show them successful and unsuccessful locations, and they’ll see the difference.
How do you know when you’ve found a good location?
I look for places with a lot of synergy. Find where people work, eat, and shop, like shopping centers and grocery stores. If you’re near these places, people will use your services. Your business becomes familiar to them because they see it when they’re out eating or shopping.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Grease Monkey sets you up for success. I want all our franchisees to be successful. It’s my passion. If you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life. I love that. It encapsulates what I do. I can’t wait to go to work.