New SpeeDee franchise owner discusses becoming an entrepreneur
Lynn and Vanessa Malone opened a SpeeDee Oil Change & Auto Service® location in Ruston, Louisiana, in August 2021. Like many SpeeDee franchise owners, Lynn worked in other fields before deciding to join our franchise. We talked to him recently about his owner’s journey.
What were you doing before you became a SpeeDee franchise owner?
SpeeDee is my third career. I was in the vocational ministry for 28 years as a United Methodist pastor, and my first career was law enforcement. I worked with the Sheriff’s Department in my hometown of Jackson Parish for nine years.
Starting the business
Why did you want to start a business? How did you find out about the brand?
I have always had an entrepreneurial itch. In many ways, the ministry scratched that itch, but after I left, my wife and I decided it was time to be in business for ourselves. We started exploring available opportunities.
My dad was in the quick lube industry for many years, so I was very familiar. We found out the SpeeDee franchise in Ruston was available. It was perfect for us in terms of our family situation, and we were able to make a deal. The location had a lot to do with it and the knowledge that I had of the industry.
How does the franchisor support your efforts?
Support from SpeeDee has been top shelf all the way. Rob Cooper, our franchise support director, has spent time in the shop to observe and make recommendations. He is very responsive in terms of questions, answers, and support.
The marketing folks are top shelf, equally responsive and accommodating to our needs. Training was top shelf. I can’t fault SpeeDee for anything. Everything I expected they would do they have done, and they have done things I didn’t expect — just the responsiveness.
If I send an email asking for a call, 10-15 minutes later they are calling me back. (President and Chief Operating Officer) Wes Stephenson has called several times to make sure things are going well. Before we got into the business, he reached out to talk about SpeeDee and its vision.
Goals and growth
Do you feel like you’re reaching your goals or are on your way?
We got close to hitting my initial goal in 2021 (including what the previous owner did), and we had a record September. The previous owner built a very well-respected business. The biggest task I have is not to mess that up.
I would like to see the revenue grow, and I’m looking at ways I can do that. I’m considering the possibility of putting in an electric charging station. Another way I am looking to grow is to add more fleet accounts to grow that part of the business. Also, I’m looking at adding a mobile lube truck.
What’s your largest challenge been?
Staffing has been a bear. When I left the ministry, I was the lead pastor of a 2,000-member church and had about 65 people on staff. I’m very versed in human relations, but it’s a different world in the quick-change industry.
I was not prepared for the challenge of keeping staff and keeping them motivated. Rob Cooper has been very helpful — figuring out what the needs of the shop are, what we should be looking for when hiring people, how many people I need during different parts of the day, and those kinds of things.
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