Crash buddy: marketer moves from burgers to body shops as he helps steer Charlotte's Driven Brands through a major growth spurt.

Author:Martin, Cathy
Position:NC TREND: Q&A
 
FREE EXCERPT

Jose Costa is president of the $12 billion paint and collision division of Driven Brands, which has bought 14 businesses since 2013, the same year he joined the company. Revenue now tops $2.1 billion with the paint and collision division --including Maaco, Carstar and Drive N Style, an auto refurbishing business--representing about half. About 170 people work at Driven's headquarters in downtown Charlotte. His comments were edited for brevity.

MOVING TO DRIVEN, DID IT MATTER THAT YOU DIDN'T HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE IN THE AUTO INDUSTRY?

All of our management team came from outside of the industry. A lot of our franchise owners gave us a hard time when we first joined. They thought we had no idea what we were doing, and that we didn't understand the automotive industry. It has actually worked to everyone's advantage: Franchisee profitability is up, our numbers of locations are growing and we're innovating in many aspects of our business.

HOW IS DRIVEN BRANDS ACHIEVING THAT INNOVATION?

Probably the innovation we are most proud of is a retail concept that places Maaco satellite shops inside of Pep Boys and other retailers. Historically, body shops are in industrial parks, outside of town. We wanted to ... put satellite locations where consumers are shopping, where they spend more time. It's a concierge service, usually in high-traffic retail areas. We make it very convenient: Usually within 15-20 minutes well write you an estimate, well get you a loaner with one of our car-rental partners and you're back to your normal life. You come back in three to four days and your car is ready.

TALK ABOUT CARSTAR, ONE OF DRIVEN BRANDS' LARGEST AND MOST RECENT ACQUISITIONS.

Carstar is mainly an insurance model, where, if you have an accident, the insurance company refers you to a Carstar. So it's a bigger average ticket [than Maaco], which is mostly retail and fleet consumers who are looking...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP