Standing Out in the Franchise System

July 17, 2023
If you're considering joining a franchise network, consider which ones offer your business the chance to maintain as much independence as possible.

For Phil Rice, general manager of Huber Collision Center in Fredericksburg, Virginia, being a part of 1Collision’s franchise network is like being a member of a big, supportive family. Much like a family unit, he says, the company’s focus is on helping each of their shops succeed without trying to change what makes them unique. 

“Our identity has always been Huber Collision and we are proud of that,” says Rice. “Our desire was not to change our identity, it was to increase the quality of resources available through the partnership of a franchise operator.” 

And 1Collision was fully supportive of that. 

“I worked with 1Collision for roughly nine months before coming on board,” he says. “Never once was branding a topic of conversation. Our talks revolved around processes, culture, education and business.” 

1Collision made it clear from the start that Huber’s brand was Huber’s to keep—and that was a major selling point when identifying the right franchise partner. Here, Rice explains why. 

As told to Lindsey Gainer 

Finding the Right Franchise Network 

My father used to tell me a man is the average of the five people he hangs out with the most—and you are either pulling the average up or pulling it down. I knew I needed to surround myself with industry veterans that understand what today’s collision centers are doing, what our battles are, what our struggles are. And more importantly, how we need to evolve as a team. 

I don't think I am capable as an individual to guide this team or this business where it needs to go. No one person is. If I want to surround myself with like-minded people, the only way to do that without being an acquisition to an MSO is to join a top-quality network that has MSO-like resources, but encourages independence. 

That’s what I was looking for in a franchise partner and, as it turns out, that’s 1Collision in a nutshell—they encourage a strong, independent culture while providing their shops with MSO-level resources. The tools available to a network shop are truly only limited by the individual’s willingness to grow and learn. Just knowing that if I’m having a problem, I am a phone call away from getting help from someone—or multiple people—and they will assist me in resolving my issue in a way that’s best for our team … that’s invaluable. 

And it's not only about guiding me, it's about guiding my team, too. What happens if I'm in a car accident tomorrow and I can't come to work for a while? My team still has the depth and knowledge of 1Collision right there, ready to help. 

Building A Brand Around Integrity 

When we joined 1Collision in February of this year, we already had over 20 years of business under our belt and were a well-known shop in the community … so it was incredibly important that our brand remain intact. 

Our parent company is Huber Motor Cars, the local Mercedes-Benz and Volvo dealership … so when clients purchase a vehicle from Huber Motor Cars, they come to understand as part of the sales process that we have a collision center, too. Customers are familiar with the Huber name in our community. Because of that, having the ability to maintain our name and logo was an important part of finding the right franchise partner. We didn’t want to lose brand recognition. 

Our brand is much more than just our name and logo, though. It’s the integrity behind the work we do, and it's important that my team and I protect that integrity each and every day. We’ve worked extremely hard to build trust with our customer base by giving our best to every job, and owning and fixing mistakes when they happen. Honesty and excellence are synonymous with the Huber Collision Center name … and we’re continually strengthening the brand with every customer interaction. Our customer’s experience has and will continue to remain the same moving forward. 

The Final Word 

If you’re looking to franchise your business, do your homework. Talk to your peers and get recommendations. Then vet those recommendations thoroughly, and don’t settle until you find the right fit for your business needs. It’s an incredibly important decision, and one that can’t be made lightly. 

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