Mr. Transmission/Milex - Franchise Q & A

Qa With Marsha Ruske Marketing Director At Mr Transmission Milex

How was Mr. Transmission/Milex originally conceived and started?

Milex Complete Auto Care and Mr. Transmission are longstanding, solid brands that have been continuously providing automotive repair services for over 50 years.   Moran Family of Brands acquired both brands in the 1990's with the intent on building a premier automotive aftermarket franchise system.  Unique to our franchise system is the flexibility to open a single brand unit or a co-brand unit which carries both brand flags.  Our co-branding model gives us a distinctive position in the industry by clearly outlining to the customer that we can provide bumper to bumper automotive repair. 

What was your original vision for your company? How has that changed over time? 

Mr. Transmission and Milex Complete Auto Care continue to evolve to meet customer demand, market conditions and revenue opportunities with innovation, ingenuity and collaboration. As a franchisor, The Moran Family of Brands is an organization offering automotive franchise opportunities perfectly positioned for long-term, sustainable growth.  We believe our franchising philosophy is important to continually grow our franchisees business.  Our core business philosophy is to develop and maintain long term relationships with our franchisees and customers. Our management philosophy is to value initiative, creativity and an independent mind. Our financial philosophy is to maintain profitability to accomplish our goals and be able to support our franchisees now an in the future. And our franchising philosophy is grounded in the understanding that when our franchisees are financially successful then we will all be successful.

 What do you believe is the single most important factor when choosing a franchise?

Do your research.  Make sure you fully investigate all the companies you have interest in and narrow down to the top 3.  Schedule visits with each of your top 3 to determine who would be the better choice.  You are entering into a long term relationship and need to make sure that your personality fits with the company you are choosing.

Why should someone choose your franchise over other similar franchises?

Our corporate mentality is very different from others in the automotive aftermarket industry.  We are a family owned and operated business and we have a family oriented environment when it comes to our franchisees and their customers.  We welcome ideas and feedback from our franchisees on how to make our system better for everyone involved. 

What makes your industry attractive?

There are numerous reasons the automotive aftermarket industry provides an exceptional opportunity for franchising. Not only does the industry continue to show annual growth, but a shift in consumer behavior has lead to changes in the industry and significant automotive franchise opportunities for our franchisees.  Some of the key automotive aftermarket industry facts include:

  • The Automotive Aftermarket is approximately a $300 Billion Dollar a year industry
  • In the United States, there are over 210 million licensed drivers and 250 million registered vehicles.
  • Despite rising fuel costs, the U.S. drove over 3 trillion miles last year.
  • For the first time, the average age of passenger cars reached 11-years. Light truck longevity is 10.

    People are keeping their cars longer and with that, there is a steady and ongoing need for general automotive and transmission repairs. 

    What types of qualities do you look for in potential franchisees?

    One of the reasons that our brands continue to experience success is our continued commitment to selecting franchisees that have not only the financial qualifications but who also subscribe to our culture and philosophy.  We look for franchisees that

    • Are customer service focused
    • Are honest and ethical
    • Are willing to collaborate to improve the system
    • Are committed to staff development
    • Possess strong management, marketing and/or sales experience
    • Have an entrepreneurial spirit

    There is no automotive experience required and those that are self starters and possess the initiative to work towards growing a business will find our franchise model attractive.

    What do your franchise fees and royalties cover?

    Our fees cover pre-opening support services such as site selection, lease negotiation and new business start-up planning including assistance with 3rd party financing and market planning.  In addition, we provide comprehensive manager and operational training in the following areas:  lead generation, financial management, personnel and safety systems, customer relations, marketing/sales and business to business sales training.   Our ongoing support includes a technical assistance hot-line, established supplier and vendor relationships, system-wide intranet, national warranty program, customer financing programs, national fleet, HR and personnel consultation, custom designed point of sale system and ongoing business performance analysis.

     How do territories work for your franchisees?

    Our FDD outlines an industry standard territory for each franchisee including an exclusive 3 mile radius surrounding location.  Additional territory options are available through our Area Development program as well.

    Why has your franchise model been successful?

    We do strive to live by our mission statement; Creating Customer Experiences that Result in Satisfaction and Loyalty, and expect our franchisees to do the same.  Offering our customer honest service at a fair price is what we have lived by from day one.  We have been able to create a proven business model that has given our franchisees the opportunity to build their own successful businesses to support their families for the past 50+ years.  Expanding our services to co-branding has offered our franchisees the opportunity to run two separate businesses under one roof.  This gives them a competitive advantage and also gives franchisees the opportunity to have twice the income potential with only the overhead cost. 

    Where do you see your franchise in 5 years and 10 years?

    With the average age of vehicles on the road increasing each year, customers are keeping their cars longer.  Older Vehicles tend to need more maintenance and repairs.  We are well positioned to address the customer demand for preventive maintenance services, general automotive repair and transmission repair. Vehicles are becoming more and more complicated and it can be confusing to customers to know what repair or service they may need.  With our co-brand business model, we offer the customer one solution no matter what their need is.  Providing honest and cost efficient services helps build a trusting relationship with customers, which is important to long term growth.  We also provide a more cost efficient solution to dealership repair services.  Consumers with older vehicles that are out of warranty will continue to look for alternatives to pricey dealership repairs.   We are positioned to address that need. 

    What is your favorite advice for new franchisees to help them succeed?

    Our most successful franchisees will provide this basic advice.. Follow the business system --- it works! 

    What would you tell potential franchisees that may be nervous about the financial burdens of starting a franchise?

    In today's economic uncertainty, we understand that many are hesitant to invest at this time.  It is especially important to remember that small businesses are the backbone to our economic recovery.  Finding a franchise model that has a proven business model and is a true customer need can help alleviate those concerns.  The automotive industry in particular is seeing an upward trend.  People are keeping their vehicles longer and that means they need to be serviced on a more frequent basis.  With a national bay shortage due to the recent dealership service center closings, automotive repair franchises are well poised to capture that market share.

    Can you explain your financial assistance?

    There are several sources of financing available to assist in this area through 401K ERSOP planning, Commercial Lending, Lines of credit and even leasing options.  In addition, we have a partnership with, an online portal that assists in sourcing financial avenues for prospective franchisees.   We also participate in VetFran and MinorityFran which provides additional assistance for those meeting the criteria. 

    On average, how long does it take to start a new franchise from the franchisees point of view?

    Our standard review process can be anywhere from 60-90 days depending on the diligence of the candidate.  Once a decision is made to proceed, our standard opening timeline is 120 days from signing agreement to grand opening.  If the franchisee chooses to build a center from the ground up we add an additional 6 months to that timeline.

    What was your background and experience before founding this franchise?

    Moran Family of Brands got its start in 1958 as Dennis Moran, the original owner of the company, began a career in the automotive aftermarket industry. Over the years Mr. Moran's entrepreneurial spirit was evident as he built the original business around automotive resale & wholesale and eventually saw the need for automotive and transmission parts and repair services. In 1990, Mr. Moran and his youngest daughter Barb founded Moran Industries and expanded the business model to include franchised repair facilities with the acquisition of Mr. Transmission. Through hard work, commitment to customers and development of innovative products and services, Dennis and Barb built the business into one of the leading transmission, auto repair and accessory franchises in the country. Barb has led the company through a changing industry and has served as the President and CEO since 1999.

    In 2010, Barb Moran, bought the business from her father and in 2012, Moran Industries became Moran Family of Brands to better reflect the multiple brands and services that the company offers and the commitment to building a family environment for franchisees.

    The  Moran Family of Brands management team has the combined experience needed in automotive repair, franchising,  management, operations and marketing to evolve to meet customer demand, market conditions and revenue opportunities with innovation, ingenuity and collaboration. The Moran Family of Brands is an organization offering automotive franchise opportunities perfectly positioned for long-term, sustainable growth.

    Do you have any franchisee testimonials or success stories that you would like to share?

    Roman Combs, Oklahoma City, OK
    Milex / Mr. Transmission

    "For me the road to becoming part of the Moran family was a long, well studied one that included a variety of business enterprises. Among the 30 or so options I considered , about 5 of them were different automotive franchise groups. Moran represented to me the type of family oriented company that would truly partner with me in my attempt to carve out my niche in the small business world. Thankfully, Moran has held true to that vision and provided me with invaluable tools, training and assistance through the early months of my tenure. Thank you!"

    Lowell & Cindy Hester. Sandy Springs, GA
    Mr. Transmission

    "Customers rely on you to help and are dependent upon your knowledge to assist them. It is paramount to keep yourself and your employees appraised of the ever changing makeup of today's automotive industry. Moran Family of Brands provides a constant flow of information and expertise to keep us up-to-date and in the know. This is how we have maintained such great relationships with our customers and peers alike."

    Susan Trumble, Florence, KY
    Milex / Mr. Transmission

    "We added Milex Complete Auto Care to our existing Mr. Transmission business in 2010 and it has been nothing but positive for us. We had to invest money for the equipment, but I have no regrets. We have recouped the investment in the time that I thought it would take and I am pleased with the return. We felt adding Milex was necessary to compete and to grow our customer base. We became even more profitable by doing that."

    Dean Bingham. Greenville, SC
    Milex / Mr. Transmission

    "My store motto is 'Can't never could, don't never did, and won't never will'. This is a mantra I drill into the minds of every employee because there is nothing that we can't do. It is through this mindset, the partnership with Moran and my dedication to our customers that I was able to lead the Mr. Transmission and Milex Complete Auto Care into further success in my area. The addition of Milex Complete Auto Care in 2006 has allowed me to grow my service offerings which in turn allowed me to grow my business. The partnership with Moran Family of Brands was instrumental in making the transition work."

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