Take 5 Veep Thinks Franchise Rollouts Go Better With Money
Take 5 Oil Change is rolling out a franchising effort, after spending a couple of years building corporate stores.
Ted Rippey’s family built the 1-800 Radiator franchise from “this rinky-dink, two-unit parts warehouse” into a 230-unit auto parts company they sold to Driven Brands in 2015, now under the umbrella of private equity mega-firm Roark Capital.
Now, Rippey heads franchising for another Driven-purchased brand, Take 5 Oil Change, and he’s enjoying the well-capitalized rollout of the franchise effort.
With his father and brother, who built the 1-800 Radiator brand over 20 years, “We joked, if we ever do this again we have to find a way to do it with money,” Rippey said. “With Roark behind us, money isn’t an object. If we can make the business case to make unicorns fly over our store, we’ll do it.”
They haven’t used the unicorn idea just yet, but Take 5 is testing an entire week of free oil changes for grand openings, and it’s (unsurprisingly) proving super popular. In a recent Memphis launch, “We did about 1,300 cars our first week. An average opening would do 20 cars a day, so 140 in a week,” he said.
Take 5 was founded in the early 1980s by Monty Montgomery, in Louisiana. When Driven Brands bought it in 2015 there were about 65 locations and now the number has topped 300. “So in two years we’ve gone gangbusters,” Rippey said.
Average unit volumes at the oil change-only, all drive-thru stores are $1.2 million, he said, and “franchisees are going to make about 300 grand on that,” he said. “The ops model is incredibly simple. We’re just doing oil … gravity does most of it,” and so certified technicians are not required.
Right after the acquisition of 1-800 Radiator, Rippey was chief compliance officer for all of Driven Brands’ companies, but he prefers to move on after the initial stages. “I like starting things from scratch and then doing something new,” he says. Now 38, he started at his family’s firm while in high school and spent nearly 20 years with the brand until it was sold. “I love all those franchisees, I love that system,” but the opportunity to grow Take 5 was exciting.
“My father and I, and even my brother, we always joked, when we do this again, when we roll out a franchise system from scratch, there’s a lot of things we’d like to do different,” he said. “I’m the lucky one that actually gets the chance to do it again.”