by Pit Stop
last updated 09/12/2020
Out In Front
by Pit Stop
last updated 09/12/2020
Pit Stop franchisees find success with NZ’s largest automotive service franchise
Blair Morgan only has one real regret. ‘I just wish I’d bought this business sooner,’ he says. ‘I have a much better lifestyle than I used to, a fantastic business and even better staff who handle everything impeccably whether I’m there or not!’
Blair owns the franchise for Pit Stop in Napier. With 43 stores, the wholly New Zealand-owned company is the largest chain of franchised automotive service centres in the country.
Blair’s background is an unusual one. Although he started his working life in the automotive trade, and even worked at Pit Stop Napier for many years, he then decided to do something completely different and went off to become a naturopath. ‘I kept in touch, though, and when my old boss decided to retire three years ago, I said there was no need for him to put it on the market – I’d buy it almost on the spot!’
Blair’s location is right in the middle of the town, ‘But a business doesn’t thrive just because it is in the right place – it thrives because of its name, its reputation and its ability to deliver quality service. The Pit Stop franchise does all those things. What surprised me initially is how good our name is and how much business it brings in – when I tell people I’m with Pit Stop, they often quote the jingle You’ve come to the right place,’ he says. ‘And we get a remarkable amount of word-of-mouth referrals, which turn into regular business if we do our job right.’
Pit Stop helps Blair achieve that, providing a structure and system that helps franchisees to manage their businesses well. ‘The franchise team are always on the ball,’ confirms Blair. ‘They listen well, we have regular meetings, and our suggestions are rapidly taken up and implemented. They also monitor performance across the key parts of the business and, if our figures are down for any reason, they are quickly on to it to find out why and help us improve. It’s a great business!’
From newbies to winners
Founded in 1978, Pit Stop is a one-stop-shop for all vehicle servicing, maintenance and repairs. With more than two million cars on the road and more being added all the time, the company is enjoying a growing share of a growing market. That means new opportunities in new locations for people with mechanical skills and the ability to manage a busy workshop using the Pit Stop systems, with investment starting from as low as $100,000.
In Auckland’s fast-growing area around Silverdale, Michelle Olivier has been thoroughly grateful for the training and support the franchise provides. ‘My background was in cars in South Africa – I’d been in the customer relations department of a big distributor – then I owned my own Montessori pre-school.
‘Simon, my husband, often joked that we should go into a business partnership with his cousin, Gary Cox, and that’s exactly what happened. I don’t think the family thought we’d ever buy into a garage, but we did. Now Simon has his own career, I manage our Pit Stop, and Gary is the chief mechanic.
‘In late 2019, we bought this great location with a superb reputation and, coming into a country with which we were not 100 percent familiar, it was the best move we could have made. When Covid hit, we would certainly have struggled without the support of the franchise behind us, but they were great and we soon bounced back. In fact, we have won Pit Stop’s Franchisee of the Month title four months in a row!’
The rewards you deserve
Michelle and her partners are delighted with Pit Stop. ‘You need to be organised, and you need to be patient to explain things to non-technical customers and deliver great customer service every time. The systems and the buying power the franchise gives us are excellent,’ she declares. ‘The business rewards us well.’
Les Seiler, Franchise Manager of Pit Stop, says, ‘As new franchisees, Michelle and Blair are underlining just how good the opportunity is. We are looking for similarly-motivated people to open greenfield sites around the country, so if you want to get into business with New Zealand’s leading automotive service brand behind you, call me now.’
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