Global Franchises talks with the Group Director of Meineke’s Resale Department
Jeff Todd manages the resale department at Meineke Car Care Centers. The group is focused on assisting investors interested in diversifying their portfolios through acquiring existing Meineke locations. Jeff’s team focuses on educating both buyers and sellers. Before purchasing a location, buyers are given the information they need to understand the industry, what Meineke stands for as a company, and the appropriate steps to take while transacting. Meanwhile, franchisees selling their current locations are taught about market valuation of their businesses and factors that help increase that value.
What was your route into franchising?
My path to franchising and to the aftermarket industry was unique. I worked originally as an investment banker assisting private equity firms with leverage buyouts, eventually transitioning to an advisory role for mergers and acquisitions. This experience gave me the ability to understand an industry, business valuations within it and how to successfully complete a transaction. Eventually, I decided I wanted a better work-life balance and began investigating how to transition my skills into another industry. After meeting with the executive team of Driven Brands/Meineke, I was convinced it was the company to take me to the next phase in my career.
Why automotive franchising?
The automotive industry has begun its own transformation, and the era of independent centers with low transparency is dead. Instead, the market is shifting toward market consolidators that control multiple verticals – repair and maintenance, paint and collision, quick lube and distribution, to name a few. These types of consolidators have economies of scale and access to enormous amounts of data. For me, joining Meineke, one of the largest consolidators, and being a part of that industry transformation has been an amazing experience.
What affords you the most satisfaction about your work?
Helping our clients is how we measure our success, and what gives me the most satisfaction. Whether that means assisting a franchisee’s retirement through selling a business or managing a transaction for investors as they grow their platform, I truly believe we create value. Every day I get to work with a diverse group of franchisees as we continue to drive their growth. Each transaction is unique, and there is never a dull moment. I feel very fortunate to have been able to create a department that has a positive impact on the lives of so many individuals.
What aspect of your work offers the greatest challenges?
When it comes to buying or selling a business, it’s more than just the numbers; there is often a great deal of emotion involved. The seller has worked to build the enterprise and is proud of his/her accomplishments (as he/she should be) but this can often lead to overvaluation. Meanwhile, buyers often have preconceived notions about valuations that at times can be far off market. Managing the expectations of both parties through education and taking the necessary steps for a successful transaction where both parties reach a win/win situation is the greatest challenge.
How do you think other people would describe you?
Fortunately, Driven Brands invests heavily in its employees and I have had several 360 reviews, so I have a good idea of how I am described. The pillars of who I am and how I conduct myself are based on integrity, relentless pursuit of goals, being present in the moment and enjoying life to the fullest. I definitely have areas of improvement – in general, I can have a narrow focus on the task a hand and be quick to pass judgment – and while at times these can be strengths, I definitely work to bring a broader approach to my work when I can.
What’s the next step in your career?
As 2019 is the final year of our three-year project systemizing our transaction process and assisting with the baby boomer generation’s transition, I have begun seriously considering this question. My current role has allowed me to have a direct impact on many departments within our company, from operations to marketing to accounting. Given the versatility of my current role, I’ll be looking to continue down a path that requires me to wear many hats and fully own my work product.
If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
Switching from finance to franchising, I sometimes overlooked the importance of relationships, whether that was with broker groups, finance partners or even with other franchisors. As I’ve spent more time in the industry, relationships are clearly the most important aspect and I spend a considerable amount of time developing my network. If I could start over, I would have spent more time on this from the day I transitioned into franchising.
How do you relax?
I have a hard time checking out from work, mainly because I truly enjoy what I do for a living. I try to take two extended breaks a year. Typically, one will be related to the outdoors such as a backpacking trip and the other will be taking two weeks to see a new country and make unique friends. As I am writing this I am sitting in a café in Buenos Aires, while I travel for two weeks through Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.