June 14, 2024

Why a Former SpeeDee Corporate VP Decided to Step into the Pit as an Owner

SpeeDee owner Mike Guasch (on right) and his wife are shown with FSA President Ron Stilwell at the IFA conference.

IFA Award Winner Mike Guasch left the corporate office to become a franchisee

Long before he became a SpeeDee Oil Change & Auto Service® owner, Mike Gausch (above on right) spent decades contributing to SpeeDee’s success at the home office.

Mike started as a district manager at SpeeDee in 1992, and became deeply ingrained in the SpeeDee culture, training new franchisees and helping to launch over 50 stores nationwide.

Switching gears

The turning point came when Bryan Millsaps, a longtime SpeeDee owner, approached him with an opportunity. Bryan had a high-performing store, and the two men knew each other well. 

Bryan offered Mike a deal to take over the business. By then, Mike was the VP of Operations for SpeeDee, which involved a lot of travel. Mike was ready to step back from the frequent travel and took the offer, buying the store from Bryan, and taking ownership in January 2020.

Mike knew Bryan’s team as well, and the familiarity, combined with SpeeDee’s robust business model and Mike’s experience, made for a seamless transition.

SpeeDee support

Support from the SpeeDee home office has been instrumental in Mike’s journey. While he didn’t require direct support because of his long experience within the company, the resources provided—ranging from vendor relationships to operational programs—have been invaluable. 

Mike stresses the importance of following the SpeeDee process for success. “Read the Operations manual cover to cover. The most important thing is to follow the program, and use your resources,” he says.

Furthermore, the sense of community among SpeeDee owners in northern California, nurtured through their frequent communication and mutual support, has greatly enhanced the operations of all the franchisees in the area.

Build a culture

Mike says, “I think the real key to having a successful shop is building a culture within your shop with your employees.”

Mike offers competitive wages and strong benefits like vacation days, a retirement plan, and an incentive program. He keeps the breakroom refrigerator stocked with food for his employees.

“I’ve helped my employees along the way with cars,” he says. “We’ll pick up a used car from a customer, and we’ll fix it up and let them take it. Doing things like that, I think it means a lot to employees.”

By building a family-like environment, he ensures that his team is motivated and offers great customer service. This approach not only helps with employee retention but also attracts top talent, including two ASE-certified master technicians. Mike says that he rarely has open positions at his shop.

Serving the community

Mike’s focus on relationships doesn’t stop with his SpeeDee shop. He’s very involved in the community, working with several local organizations that have a variety of missions: assisting seniors, feeding the homeless, teaching trades at a men’s rehab camp to help them find jobs, and helping a women’s shelter.

“There’s a lot of seniors at my location. A lot of seniors on a fixed income. I take a lot of pride in helping them get their cars back on the road and taking care of some of those expenses at times. That’s what gives me happiness,” he says.

The rewards

Mike won a Franchisee of the Year award at this year’s International Franchise Association convention. This award recognizes franchise owners whose performance is outstanding and helps promote the brand.

IFA says, “Individuals are selected for their involvement in their communities, embodying the entrepreneurial spirit, fostering a strong and healthy culture with their workforce, and assisting their fellow franchisees when called upon.”

While franchise ownership requires commitment and hard work, the rewards—both financial and personal—can be substantial. Following a proven business model, using available resources, and building strong community and employee relationships are the cornerstones.

SpeeDee is more than a business opportunity; it’s a chance to be a part of something bigger.

Become a SpeeDee owner 

To take the first step toward owning your own business, download our free eBook.

To hear more about Mike, listen to his interview on the NOLN podcast. Host: Hanna Bubser.