Prioritizing Effective Franchisee Training Programs

Exclusive Insights

August 2022 | By Brad Fink, Vice President of Training and Franchise Development

Company: Christian Brothers Automotive | IFA Committee Member: Jamie Izaks

Unless required by their franchisor, many franchisees may not have prior experience in their franchise industry. In fact, at Christian Brothers Automotive (CBA), a majority of our most successful franchisees have no prior automotive experience before signing their agreement; they simply possess the characteristics and professional background we require.

When awarding franchises at CBA, we look for candidates who are coachable and have a deep appreciation for our processes, systems and business model. Given that those are the attributes we seek, it is imperative that we provide franchisees with the training time and resources they need to open and operate successful businesses.

Preparing New Owners 

It’s a common myth that franchise candidates need to have extensive industry experience. Additionally, for most concepts, there’s a significant timeline between the signed agreement and the opening of the business, allowing the opportunity for specialized training. The training and support offered by franchisors should build upon the qualities that make up a franchisor’s ideal candidate profile.

For example, a franchisee may already have experience in managing teams, but may lack experience in handling large volumes of inventory or keeping track of finances. His or her training should focus on learning the systems and processes that are unique to that opportunity, and fill in knowledge gaps as needed.

During the course of their first year, new franchisees who join the CBA system receive 275 hours of extensive training, giving them the opportunity to hone essential business skills and become proficient in “the CBA way.” Throughout an owner’s introduction to Christian Brothers Automotive, we prioritize continued learning opportunities in order to keep our franchise system freshly informed and armed with the skills necessary to best serve our guests.

Yet, at the onset of franchise ownership, a new franchisee can only learn so much without observing our business model in action. Beyond traditional training, franchisors can offer new franchisees shadowing opportunities with seasoned owners. For example, at CBA, franchisees shadow Certified Field Trainers–experienced and high-performing shops–for two weeks. During this experience, they learn more about back-office procedures, facilitating meetings and setting goals for their team.

Once our franchisees have a clear picture of the components that go into running their business, it’s time for them to begin thinking about the opening process. For many first-time business owners, launching a business can be nerve-wracking. Franchisors can set their franchise owners up for success by working with them to execute a grand-opening plan. Prior to opening, CBA owners are assigned a Marketing Coach to guide them through their local marketing efforts. Franchisors should aim to provide a wide breadth of resources to their franchisees, including guidance on promotional activities, advertising, networking and more.

Ongoing Support  

After a new franchisee launches their business, franchisors should continue to support them with additional learning opportunities.

Continued support and training programs work to further develop franchisee management and operations skills. For every two franchisees in the CBA system, there is one dedicated Home Office team member to work with them on achieving major KPIs.

Another way franchisors can offer professional development and growth opportunities to their franchisees is by hosting annual conventions. These events offer franchisees the chance to come together in breakout sessions where they can learn from industry experts about timely and relevant topics. Hosting a convention is a great way to illustrate to new franchisees the kind of ongoing support they’ll receive and will help them to foster relationships with other members of the system, helping to facilitate peer-to-peer learning.

At CBA, on top of our Annual Franchisee Convention, we also host a technician-focused event to foster the development of our shop team members.

In summation, adequately preparing franchisees with thorough training before and after they launch their business will ensure they’re set up for continued success.


Brad Fink is the Vice President of Training and Franchise Development for Christian Brothers Automotive, ranked number one by J.D. Power in Customer Satisfaction among Aftermarket Full-Service Maintenance and Repair Providers three times in a row*. The 254-unit company dedicated to providing seamless repair and maintenance services has never closed a shop in its 40 years in business.