Succeeding in a Male-Dominated Industry: Success as a woman franchise owner requires patience, trust and integrity.

Author:Inge, Katie

The automotive aftermarket is a fast-growing industry with strong ROI and growth potential, particularly for aspiring entrepreneurs interested in franchising. However, for a variety of reasons, there are still few women franchisees in the aftermarket, a trend that is slowly beginning to change. As a franchise owner of a Maaco paint and collision repair shop, I've built my business the same way most franchisees have, but with the added perspective of being a woman in what is still largely a man's world, as well as one of the youngest owners in the franchise system.

There's a lot I know now that I wish I'd known when I was first starting out--advice that can make a difference for a new business owner, whether as a woman, an aftermarket professional or a franchisee in any industry. As a business owner, I want to make sure all my customers know they can depend on my shop for solid expertise and advice. Any franchisee knows the key to customer satisfaction is a quality service or product. In addition, they need to know they can depend on you for good advice and opinions when it comes to their vehicle.

Before I began running my own shop, I was lucky that my father made sure I learned everything about the business, from the cars to the back office to working with customers and bookkeeping. I worked my way up from the bottom--from sanding to painting to learning everything about cars from the outside in.

As a franchisee, I pride myself on my business's reputation as a trusted collision and paint repair business. Many franchisees in the aftermarket may not have prior experience in car care or maintenance like I did, which is fine--what matters the most is that you, as an owner, build trust by following the tried-and-tested processes and systems of a reliable brand.


Every franchisee needs a strong team to ensure they're delivering quality services and a superior customer experience. As a woman franchisee, it is especially important to find a manager and employees that can back mr up no matter what happens at the shop.

I encourage other franchisees, whether in the aftermarket or in any industry, to fill their business with employees, and especially a manager, that can build an environment that allows everyone to focus on the task at hand--delivering quality services to the client.


Building trust with customers is about proving to them that you value honesty and integrity, both in what you say and what...

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