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The automotive repair industry has always been one that is predominantly male. However, Maaco Collision Repair and Auto Painting, the leader in the $43 billion automotive paint and collision industry, is proud to be a franchise that has attracted a number of very successful females who own and operate their own facilities.
“Making the World More Beautiful, One Car at a Time”
Beth Berger and her husband Tom were both in IT when they decided to become business owners. They spent a year searching for the right investment opportunity, looking at everything from dog grooming to coffee shops, transmission repair to nail and hair salons. When weighing all the factors that went in to starting a business, Maaco appeared to be the most viable investment opportunity with the most potential. Based on their analysis, in October 2018, they bought Maaco of New Port Richey, FL. Two years later, Beth says “we couldn’t be happier with our decision.”
“Maaco provides a three-week deep dive into the business that is incredibly informative and thorough, said Berger. “We felt very well prepared.”
The Bergers are both active in the daily business, and Beth has no issue being in a predominantly male business.
“When I go out to write a repair estimate for a customer, you might expect some skepticism, but it is very, very rare,” said Berger. “And my team is great, too. As a matter of fact, we have a female paint technician as part of our production team, and she is awesome! She came to us with prior experience and a can-do attitude. She is one of the most valued members of our team!
“We love being able to see a tangible end product,” said Berger. “People bring in a damaged car and we make it beautiful again. To see the result and see their faces when we deliver their car back to them, it is very gratifying. We like to say that we make the world more beautiful one car at a time.”
“If I Can Do It and Be Successful, Anyone Can Do It!”
Farhana Naz graduated from Fordham University with a business degree and worked in media research for Nielsen. When her brother-in-law opened his Maaco repair facility in Windsor NJ, she began helping him part-time with managing the office. That eventually led to working full time, estimating and helping with production. In 2019, with the support and encouragement from her family, she became a Maaco franchisee herself and purchased her own store.
“Ten years ago, I would never have seen myself in the automotive painting and collision repair industry, now this is my passion,” said Naz. “I absolutely love what I am doing! I love the interaction with the customers, and I enjoy the challenge that each job represents as an opportunity to make someone happy.”
Naz encourages other women to consider the opportunity that running a Maaco franchise holds, citing the support that the Maaco team provides to their franchisees.
“The support that I received from the Maaco team was phenomenal,” said Naz. “They are with you every step of the way, with an in-depth training program, in-shop operations support, virtual coaching, whatever you need to be successful. I call it my Maaco family support team.”
Naz is proud of what she has accomplished in just two years. Their shop repairs and paints an average of 118 cars per month.
“Don’t be afraid to try something different, outside your comfort zone,” said Naz. “As long as you have a great training and support team, you will learn the business. If I can do it and be successful at it, anyone can do it.”
“You Don’t Need to Be a ‘Car Girl’ to Own and Operate a Maaco Franchise”
Caroline Peach went to school for hospitality management and administration at Hotelschool The Hague, in the Netherlands. She and her husband Matt owned an event cleaning company, working with such clients as NASCAR, various State Fairs, and Walt Disney World’s Wide World of Sports.
At the time, Disney was repairing and repainting their own trash receptacles, and with Disney’s attention to detail and wanting everything in perfect condition it was a full-time job. The Peach’s saw an opportunity, and soon they were doing the work for Disney, took over the repairs and having the trash cans painted at an Orlando Maaco.
“The volume of business was growing, and since we were not the primary customer for the local Maaco, they would work us into the schedule when they could,” said Caroline Peach. “So, we decided to open our own Maaco location.”
Suddenly, the Peach’s franchise was up and running, not just painting trash receptacles, but cars too. But that did not phase Caroline, who helps run the daily operations.
“Prior to opening, we attended Maaco University for a three-week training program. I knew absolutely nothing about cars, but the training program was so thorough, and the operations support you receive during the opening process was just great, it’s all very learnable.”
When asked how she has successfully managed dealing with customers and employees in a predominately male industry, Peach points to confidence and good communication skills.
“First of all, don’t be intimidated,” advised Peach. “When I start talking to a male customer about his estimate and what needs to be done, I win them over quickly because I can speak knowledgably about the process, and I do it with enthusiasm and honesty. Also, about 40 percent of our customers are women, so they could also be intimidated bringing their car in for an estimate. But when they see a woman coming out to do the estimate, it puts them at ease.
“You don’t need to be a ‘car girl’ to own and operate a Maaco franchise,” she noted. “It’s a great business, and a very profitable one. And it is all learnable with the right support, hard work and effort.”