Matthew Kirby and his family own three SpeeDee automotive franchises.
Matthew Kirby has always been interested in cars. He started in the automotive business when he was 14 years old. By the time he was in high school, he was fixing cars for his friends and their parents. Now, Matthew owns three SpeeDee Oil Change & Auto Service® automotive franchises in Texas.
His road to SpeeDee began when he started working as a mechanic at an automotive dealership. He also worked at a couple of quick lube businesses, ultimately becoming Operations Manager. Then a former manager of Matthew’s introduced him to the owner of a SpeeDee automotive franchise.
Matthew liked what he saw at SpeeDee and began working there. When his boss was ready to sell the business, Matthew jumped at the opportunity to become an owner. His family has been with SpeeDee ever since.
Do I need an automotive background?
Despite his own background, Matthew says it’s not necessary to know a lot about vehicles to own a SpeeDee. “The business model is set up for you to succeed,” he says.
In fact, for those thinking about buying an automotive franchise, some of the most important things to do aren’t automotive services:
- Hire staff members who have strong skills in areas that are weak spots for the owner. “If you love operations, but don’t like sales, hire for the sales role,” he says. “You don’t need to do everything.”
- Stay on top of product ordering, costs, and pricing to ensure margins are healthy.
- Keep customers happy; relationships are vital.
“This is essentially a retail business – dealing with thousands of customers a month,” Matthew says.
Success runs in the family
Matthew and his wife Delena were the primary operators of their three SpeeDee automotive franchises for 15 years, and now each of their children, Rashell Linnville, Collin Kirby, and Calub Kirby, manages a center. Matthew retains the role of chief operator.
Matthew’s sons operate two of the family’s SpeeDee locations. Both started as mechanics, then worked their way into upper management. His daughter and her partner operate the top store in the Gulf Coast region of Texas.
Matthew says, “Rashell came in as an entry-level employee, and it didn’t take her long to figure out she wanted to be running things.
“We never thought our kids would be in the business. You don’t realize how much your kids watch you and pay attention. It’s kind of neat to see how it blooms.”
How SpeeDee helps franchisees succeed
Matthew says he was attracted to SpeeDee because of the freedom that its franchisees have to run their businesses.
“A lot of franchises stick very, very closely to a model — you have to say this and price things exactly this way. SpeeDee has a great model, but you can adjust it,” he says.
Matthew also spoke highly of SpeeDee’s marketing team. “Marketing has probably been the best experience I’ve ever had. The marketing team has always done a great job on every level. I can attribute a lot of our success to the marketing efforts.”
The Kirby family plans to open two more SpeeDee franchises this year.