February 6, 2020

How Grease Monkey’s Honest Business Model Was the Perfect Franchise Fit For Experienced Automotive Technician Andy Schmidt

Grease Monkey franchisee Andy Schmidt

Schmidt saw a need in his home community for an honest, hardworking and quality-driven repair shop and ultimately decided to invest in his own Grease Monkey location.

Andy Schmidt was not new to the automotive service industry when he opened his Grease Monkeylocation a few years ago. He earned an associate degree in automotive technology and began working as a service technician at a car dealership. After gaining experience in several different jobs, Schmidt decided it was time to do his own thing.

He began researching different franchise opportunities that would be viable in his home community of Livingston, Texas—a small town with modest means and blue-collar workers. According to Schmidt, he “wanted to invest in a business that would provide an honest service to the people in his community”.

“I knew I wanted to do something for myself, I wanted to be the boss” Schmidt said. “I’ve always been in car repair, so a business in this industry just made sense. There’s already a few car repair shops in town, but I thought, ‘What can I do that fills a need in my community?’ Because there’s already a few car repair shops in town, I knew there was a good market for it. However, I really didn’t think the existing shops were the best quality. I wanted to provide that for the town—an honest, hardworking, best-in-quality repair shop.”

And that’s where Grease Monkey came into the picture. Schmidt, along with his wife Cyndie, opened his first Grease Monkey location in the fall of 2017 in Livingston, Texas.

“I’m not a businessman and I don’t really have a business mindset,” Schmidt said. “I am just a blue-collar, hard worker. So when I started looking into different franchises, Grease Monkey was the perfect opportunity. When looking at other companies, yes, my name would be on the franchise agreement, but everything went back to corporate. With Grease Monkey, it was not only different, it was better.”

So, what was it about Grease Monkey that made Schmidt feel like the brand was different from all the other automotive-service options available? According to Schmidt, Grease Monkey possesses an honest business model that makes each franchisee and employee feel like they are a big part of the company. “Grease Monkey doesn’t push for sales,” he said. “They give you the freedom to run your business as you see fit. In a small Texas town like Livingston, the pockets aren’t deep and Grease Monkey’s model doesn’t push you to hit up customers for every dollar they have. When we started this business, we made the decision to build it honestly. We value our customers and want them to come back for great service and great prices.”

In addition to running a business that is honest and hardworking, Schmidt models his business practices after his previous employers—both the good employers and the bad. “Like anyone, I’ve had some really good employers and some really bad ones,” he said. “That really taught me how I want to be and how I don’t want to be in my business. I model myself and the way I run the business after the good ones and keep myself from being like the bad ones.”

Schmidt mentioned that he really tries to be invested in his employees and helps them with anything they need. “Our employees are the backbone of the business—if you treat them well, you will get that in return.”

Aside from being invested in his employees, Schmidt is also committed to supporting his community and sponsors the local high school’s fishing team. His wife Cyndie also values community involvement and supports House of Mary, an organization that helps women who are pregnant (prenatal and postpartum) by providing them a home and care for themselves and their child.

Looking to the future, Schmidt wants to grow his current Grease Monkey location and ensure top-quality service for every single customer. He felt that quality and honesty in a car repair shop was lacking in Livingston, noting that as the foundation of his business’ success, along with the desire to “get it to be the best it could possibly be.”

With regards to expansion, instead of buying a second location, Schmidt wants to reinvest in his current location. “I would like to grow into more heavy repairs; I still have a half acre of unused land that I’d like to use for bigger jobs. I would also like to get into the carwash aspect of Grease Monkey, Monkey Shine.”

Grease Monkey was founded in 1978 in Denver by entrepreneurs Bob Palmer and Alex Anderson. The duo noticed a gap in the marketplace for consumers to get their oil changed easily—a service that is necessary to maintain vehicle manufacturers’ warranties. The first franchised Grease Monkey opened in Westminster, Colorado in 1979 and the brand has since expanded to over 360 centers internationally.

The investment level for opening a Grease Monkey center ranges from $156,695 to $347,850 with a $35,000 franchise fee and a 5% royalty.  Franchisees who meet the established criteria are eligible for a 10% royalty rebate. Grease Monkey offers veterans and first responders a more substantial royalty rebate for their first two years of business. Candidates should demonstrate financial capability of a minimum $250,000 net worth and $60,000 to $75,000 in liquid assets, per unit developed. To learn more about franchising opportunities with Grease Monkey, visit http://www.greasemonkeyfranchise.com/