When contacted by NOLN, Brian Morrison was close to opening his 12th store location—a former Jiffy Lube that was familiar to the new owner.
“I used to operate that store when I worked for Jiffy Lube,” Morrison says.
An operator like Morrison is bound to come across a coincidence like that. Prior to running his own franchise, Morrison had two decades of experience at Jiffy Lube, learning the ins and outs of the business. When he started his network of SpeeDee Oil Change and Auto Service and Grease Monkey locations in 2019, he already had experience running dozens of shops.
Growth was in the plan.
The shop network is up to 12 now through the Carolinas. It’s tough to acquire and grow, but Morrison and his team have also improved operations, and with that, revenues. Morrison often references his first location in Spartanburg, South Carolina. It had six-figure revenue numbers before, but in 2022 the store did $1.6 million.
“We put some funding, mainly labor and staffing, and grew the business,” Morrison says.
Even as competition came into the area, Morrison added new services to the menu. The growth continues. Franchisor FullSpeed Automotive recognized Morrison’s franchise in the spring of 2023 at its joint conference in Nashville, highlighting the revenue success he’s had at the store level. Multiple locations surpassed $1 million in revenue in 2022. In fact, seven figures is the network average.
And here in this magazine, NOLN honors Morrison as a runner up for the 2023 Operator of the Year program.
Morrison’s going to need all that experience managing multiple locations, because he’s got plans for more additions to the network.
He says that his strategy has been to put the people in place to absorb that growth once it hits.
“Primarily, I believe it’s an investment in people,” he says. “There are usually not bad locations, some better than others, but if you plug your best manager or customer service advisor in the worst store, that won’t be your worst store for long.”
Morrison says he’s overstaffing a bit more than what the industry average might be. Shops that are short-handed start taking shortcuts, which is not a path to growth, he says. That goes for leadership positions, too. He says he has enough district managers to help spread oversight once new locations come online. But Morrison stays current with all his locations, visiting them periodically up and down Interstate 85.
Of course, this all can’t come together without training resources. Morrison says this is a big consideration, especially on the front end with new locations and team members.
“That takes a lot of our time and focus,” he says. “We've got a training program session event coming up soon with Tom Staker on the FullSpeed side. We've flown some managers out to his training in Colorado and found that to be very thorough and good. People were excited about going and came back motivated.”
While training support on the corporate side is a great benefit, franchise-level support of team members is the key to sustainable culture. Morrison says that their annual Christmas parties are big hits. Last year, they gave away 30 or so big-screen TVs and some bicycles.
The franchise also has a program that utilizes their talents.
“From time to time in this industry, employees will get into financial burdens,” Morrison says. “We've been able to purchase and repair vehicles for employees in need.”
This can make a huge difference for families. Without reliable transportation, school, jobs, groceries, and much more can be impacted. They might repair as many as 15 cars in a year for that program, he says.
“We have over 100 employees now, and it’s not uncommon for them to need some help,” he says.
Even with all the investments in people, Morrison’s franchise is on a growth trajectory. He’s looking toward the future with a bigger shop network and an ever-present need for vehicle maintenance.
“Why am I opening oil change shops with this shift to electric vehicles?” Morrison says in response to a question about EVs. “Until the vehicles can fly, they’re going to need tire and brakes. If we’re in tires and brakes, I guess it won’t matter.”
What Brian’s award nominator said about him:
“Brian promotes from within, based on merit. He consistently has top online reviews, his customer complaints are low, and the ones that do come through are quickly resolved. A large number of employees have been with him for years and come from diverse backgrounds. Brian is engaged with the communities in which his centers are located.”
From John McCloskey, franchise support director, FullSpeed Automotive