Best Workplaces: Strickland Brothers 10 Minute Oil Change
Strickland Brothers 10 Minute Oil Change CEO Justin Strickland says he learned a lot from Mark Agan, the company’s vice president of operations and franchise development.
When Strickland was just starting out as a tech years ago, he worked for Agan at a shop that Agan managed.
Strickland remembers well the strongly positive culture that Agan created that kept him working there. That’s an experience that he wants to replicate now that he’s running things, and it’s been the driving force behind a burst of growth that’s happened over the last year.
There’s been a lot of change to implement at Strickland Brothers, which started in 2016 and opened its second shop in 2018. Strickland and his leadership team spent the next year making detailed plans to franchise, which began in 2020. Since then, it’s taken off.
“We signed our first franchise agreement on April 7, 2020,” Strickland says. “And have quickly awarded over 100 units in the span of about eight months.”
The success of Strickland Brothers’ franchise isn’t what made the company a 2020 Best Workplace. That’s the result. The workplace that Strickland and his team created is the bedrock of its success, and like the service process, the workplace and franchise cultures have benefitted from Strickland’s attention to detail and careful groundwork.
Those are the kinds of values Strickland experienced back when he worked for Agan.
“I loved the culture that he created in the store,” Strickland says. “My belief is that our managers, our leadership staff and our franchise owners can implement that same culture that Mark was able to build.”
SHOP STATS: Strickland Brothers 10 Minute Oil Change Headquarters: Winston-Salem, N.C. Operator: Justin Strickland Network: 22 corporate, 100+ franchised Staff: 138 (company-owned units)
Inside Strickland Brothers
Giving team members involvement in daily operations and successes instills a sense of importance in those roles and puts them in a position to strive for more.
The recent growth of Strickland Brothers is a story of how its leadership built its workplace roles to support that success, and it starts with inclusiveness. Strickland says that the leadership team cares about the development of the people at the company first, which in turn supports the development of the brand.
At the top of the company, Strickland knew early on that to have a successful franchise, workforce development would get his attention.
“My focus, candidly, has not been to sell franchise units,” he says. “It’s been to develop those people in our office. Develop the folks going to the franchising side.”
The result of that strategy has been a workplace that values workers and creates quality promotions from within the organization. Strickland says that it has been a collective effort every day.
As the organization grew, he wanted to grow involvement as well. One way to do that is to have site managers be the best ambassadors to prospective franchisees.
“Our area managers have done some things to be involved in the franchising side, in terms of some store tours with potential franchise owners,” he says. “They’ve actually sat in on a couple validation calls for us just to explain the culture at Strickland Brothers.”
The Strickland Brothers headquarters is in a business district of downtown Winston-Salem, N.C.
“I love what I do. I can't wait for Monday morning,” says Agan.
That office environment is where the core planning takes place for the company’s future, and it’s where Strickland and Agan have the most direct interaction with others in the workplace.
Agan says the culture centers around recognizing your role and making sure that you’re having a good time getting it done.
“You want to have fun. You want your crew to have fun stepping in,” he says. “It’s the same thing here at the office. I try to keep it light. Everyone knows that we have tasks that need to be completed. We have to move forward, but we’re going to enjoy each other while we’re here.”
He says that the company reinforces that ethos by supporting healthy employee interactions, including a bit of socialization during the day.
“We’re trying to grow the people inside this office, but we’re trying to have fun while we’re doing it as well.”
-Mark Agan, vice president of operations and franchise developmet
The Bottom Line
From the top of the company on down, Strickland says he wants to instill the value of servant leadership among his ranks. That idea is at the top of his core values structure.
When it comes to creating the best workplace for those frontline techs, Strickland says the company should form a culture as a benefit to being on the team. When he’s looking to retain those top performers, it’s the culture that keeps them around.
“And the transparency and openness of that is that it’s certainly not monetary,” Strickland says. “They’re coming in because they’re getting a start at life. They like cars, or maybe they really like the people they work with.”
With so much growth going on at the company, there’s another value that’s key to being a part of the Strickland Brothers workplace culture. It’s the top trait that Strickland says he looks for while interviewing job candidates.
“We look for people who embrace change,” he says. “And we look for people who can implement change.”