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Car Franchises: A Guide to Choosing the Right Investment

Are you looking for a way out of the rat race, but have no previous experience running a company?  If so, a car franchise may be a common sense solution to becoming your own boss.

Americans love cars. They represent freedom.  Whether traveling for a daily commute or taking leisure trips, most people are opting for private vehicle, instead of public transport since the COVID-19 pandemic.  This means that the automotive industry has grown in the last few years, in all areas, including car franchises.

Alternatively, public transport, such as trains, trams and buses, is at an all-time low as people continue to practice social distancing.  Since the United States is so spread out, it makes sense that people want dependable and comfortable vehicles they can rely on.

The reliance on vehicles by the average American makes the automotive industry a vibrant business sector with a lot of potential in a broad selection of pathways into car related industries.

Since the pandemic has slowed down of the production of new cars, used car prices have risen by 30%, more than inflation itself.  Because cars have become so expensive to buy, car owners are becoming more focused on vehicle maintenance.


When purchasing a franchise, you invest in a range of benefits that will put you ahead of the game against companies that start up without the expertise and support of an experienced partner.  You will also inherit a well-known brand identity.

A franchise logo and branding will give your trade unit instant curb appeal.  You will buy into an instantly recognizable trade name with a company that your future customers know and trust.

Car Franchises

Car franchises have a reputation to uphold.  They won’t just take your money and leave you to run your business by yourself.  Most car franchises provide world class training to ensure that your business will be able to provide the type of excellence that their customers have come to expect.

In addition to training, most car franchises provide a level of Human Resource functionality, helping your new business to comply with complicated financial, employment and safety regulations.

Most car franchises specialize in mechanical maintenance services for existing car owners, such as replacing tires and parts, and aesthetic facilities, such as valeting and cleaning.  All vehicles require regular servicing, and with cars becoming more expensive to buy, it is not surprising that maintenance car franchises are a viable option for entrepreneurs.

Some car franchises focus on sales.  Cars, medium-to-full-sized pickups, minivans, sport utility vehicles, crossover utility vehicles, cargo and step vans are the typical vehicles that car franchises sell.  Most car dealerships make an average of 20% markup on second-hand cars and trucks, making this another profitable sector.

Car franchises also cover various services, including car products, valeting services, car washes   and rental businesses.

Three-fourths of all automotive repairs are performed by independent auto repair shops, many of which are car franchises.

It typically takes several years for businesses to develop a trustworthiness reputation.  Car franchises help with this.  Name recognition of a car franchise helps generate trust from the start.  Whereas, independent businesses often struggle when they initially open up for business as they have to gradually generate the trust of their customer base.

After the stay-home lockdowns of 2020, many Americans opted to take vacations within the United States, rather than taking foreign trips, causing the popularity of national road trips to skyrocket.  According to research, approximately 44% of drivers in the United States have taken more road trips beginning in 2020 than ever before.  Car franchises who specialize in maintenance and repair have benefited from this trend, as many Americans are spending a lot more on their vehicles.

Currently, most people rely on their vehicles more than before, when they might have otherwise have relied on public transportation.

Nearly 50% of all car franchises specialize in mechanical repair.  Approximately 30% of jobs come from vehicle collision.  Another 10% of revenue comes from oil change and lube work.  The remainder comes from car cleaning and valeting services.

During this uncertain financial time, many drivers are opting to keep their vehicles for longer times, rather than investing in new vehicles.  This typically requires them to spend more money on repairs.

In recent years, the average length of time of vehicle ownership for new and used vehicles has increased by 60%.  In fact, the average age of vehicles on the road within the United States has risen to around 12 years old.  This is the oldest cars have ever been in the United States.  There is also a record high number of vehicles that are at least 25 years old on the road.

The car franchise sector is currently very strong and fertile.  The global car aftermarket industry is around $723 billion, while car franchises in the United States account for approximately $41 billion.  The car aftermarket industry is expected to reach $828.6 billion globally in 2023.   2023”.  There are currently more than 288 million cars currently on the road in the United States.

This is great news for those looking to operate a car franchise, as it means that the industry is only going to continue to grow in the future.  If you are looking for a stable and profitable business investment, opening a car franchise will most likely be a wise choice.

Franchising Vs. Independent

Car franchises require an initial investment range of $50,000 to around $500,000.  Most people need to seek investment and funding from moneylenders and banks to acquire this type of funds.  This is where car franchises become a more attractive proposition.

Nearly 50% of independent companies starting up without the support of an established and experienced partner go into receivership within the first three years of opening for business.   There are several reasons for this worrisome high statistic, but more often than not, it’s a lack of market penetration within the first few years of opening, while the business establishes a good reputation.

Businesses that start up with a franchise name brand recognition and a good reputation inherited from the parent company, usually hit the ground running.  The franchise business operation has proven its ability to work successfully, with a clear understanding of its client base and profit record, expansion and sustainability.  Banks and moneylenders tend to favor the franchise model because it is perceived that the financial risks will be lower.

Independent businesses can rarely prove the market viability of their business model, so they often struggle to achieve startup loans.

Franchises tend to be more reliable and stable, giving franchise owners the highest chance of successful penetration into their market area.

To help you navigate the vast range of automotive franchise opportunities, we have prepared a menu without top automotive franchises in 2023. We have purposely included franchises offering a variety of services and business options, in order to guide you through your journey.

Top Car Franchises in the United States

As automotive services continue to grow, so do the opportunities in the car franchise industry. Here is a list of top car franchises for 2023.  These franchises offer a variety of services and business options, from car rental centers to mobile vehicle repair we list the most automotive franchises, covering a wide range of services from car rental centers, and mobile vehicle repair, to car wash services.

Car Tools Franchises

The following are the top car franchises that are focused on selling tools to professional mechanics or hobbyists.

Snap-On Tools

Year Founded:  1920

Franchising Since:  1991

Existing Locations:  4600+

Snap-On Tools is a brand that is so popular with auto mechanics, it’s easy for them to miss the fact that they are a franchise.

Snap-On Tools has maintained a high quality of their tools, making them the most trusted and reliable brand in the industry.

In addition to being a low-investment entry franchise, Snap-On Tools offers free marketing and initial training for franchisees.  Also, they are flexible on how you run your business, whether you choose to run it as a mobile unit or a fixed shop.

Matco Tools

Year Founded:  1946

Franchising Since:  1993

Existing Locations:  1700+

Royalty Fees:  Varies

Matco Tools is another brand in the car franchise industry, which serves both professional car mechanics and enthusiasts.  They have 19 consecutive years of ranking in the Top 50 Franchise 500 by Entrepreneur Magazine.

Matco Tools also has some exciting marketing partnerships, including Universal Studios and the TV Brand Muscle Car.

This car franchise business offers opportunities in single-unit business options, as well as multi-unit franchises.  They offer one of the best support systems for their franchisees to help with customized growth, through the Matco Business System Training Program.

Other than the courses on sales, marketing, and tools, the program also includes support for using the proprietary Matco Business Application software program.

Auto Repair Franchises

These franchises include oil change, tire change, and collision centers.

Valvoline Instant Change Oil

Year Founded: 1866

Franchising Since:  1988

Existing Locations:  1000+

Royalty Fees: 4-6%

Valvoline Instant Change Oil has been in the industry for over 25 years.  They provide preventive maintenance services in local neighborhoods.

Valvoline has multiple opportunities for those wanting to start their own car franchise.  One option allows an independent to include their brand in its existing range, giving the franchisee more flexibility.

The Valvoline Instant Change Oil system makes it easy for franchise owners to recruit, assess and develop their employees so that they provide their customers with the best possible service.

For more information

Jiffy Lube Inc.

Year Founded:  1979

Franchise Since:  1979

Existing Locations:  2000+

Royalty Fees:  4%

Jiffy Lube Inc. is the preferred national chain in the industry.  It is the number #1 in the services they offer and is the top choice by many.  It is indirectly owned by Shell Oil, one of the biggest oil companies in the world.

Jiffy Lube has a communication portal for all company franchisees, called Jiffy Lube Connect.  This is a great way to learn and receive advice and knowledge from others who have had success.

For more information

Big O Tires

Year Founded:  1962

Franchise Since:  1982

Existing Locations:  450+

Royalty Fees:  5%

Big O Tires has ranked number #1in the Wheel and Tire category by Entrepreneur magazine.  In addition to servicing and selling tires, the company also offers standard maintenance and repair, including oil change and lube, air filter replacements, and brake services.

Big O Tires franchisees can feel confident they will be receiving high-quality training and a reliable supply chain network.  The company’s established business model also offers the opportunity to own a multi-unit franchise, which is a great option for more ambitious business owners.

For more information

Glass Doctor

Year Founded:  1962

Franchise Started Since:  1977

Existing Locations:  150+

Royalty Fees:  5-7%

Glass Doctor offers complete glass service, repair, and replacement services, including window tinting on any vehicle.  They have also extended their services to residential and business glass. There are more than 150 locations in the US and Canada and 13 additional locations globally.

Glass Doctor is a well-established company with a proven track record and belongs to a bigger home services group called Neighborly.  This is a great benefit, as you will receive high-end training and support, as well as access to their billing and scheduling software.

For more information


Year Founded:  1980

Franchising Since:  1989

Existing Locations:  700+

Royalty Fees:  1.5%

CARSTAR is one of North America’s largest Management Services Organization networks.  They are also well known for their nationwide customer warranty which is proof of their consistent high-quality auto repair services.

CARSTAR is the only one in the industry that has a dedicated purchase team who negotiates directly with their suppliers for their franchise owners’ benefit.  This means that you will be able to will be able to access unbeatable prices from over 50 partners in their network.

For more information

Car Rental Service Franchises

These franchises include top vehicle rental companies who offer high quality service to both the customer and the franchisee.

The Hertz Corporation

Year Founded:  1918

Franchising Since:  1941

Existing Locations:  3,000+

Royalty Fees:  7-9%

Hertz is amongst the best and most known car rental brands globally.  They offer franchising opportunities within the United States, Canada and internationally

Hertz offers their franchisees one of the best lists of strategic partners that will consistently bring in customers.  This includes airports, hotels and other companies.  Additionally, franchisees can take advantage of more than 10 marketing channels offered by the parent company offers.

Avis Budget Group

Year Founded:  1946

Franchising Since:  1953

Existing Locations:  4,000+

Royalty Fees:  7.5%

The Avis Budget Group includes brands such as AVIS, Budget, Zipcar, and Payless Car Rental.  This brand is not only well known in the United States, but also globally.

This business model offers franchise opportunities at various investment levels, depending on the country, number of customers and the brand you choose to invest in.

The average franchisee relationship with Avis Budget Group is 23 years.  This is proof of the brand’s success.  Avis Budget Group also builds strong relationships with its franchisees by offering continuous training, website support and a marketing library.

Car Washes

These franchises are in the auto wash industry.

Tommy’s Express

Year Founded:  1969

Franchising Since:  2016

Existing Locations:  227

Royalty Fees:  4%

Tommy’s Express is an award-winning car wash business that has car washes located all over the country.  They are well known for their high-quality car care services.

Tommy’s Express has improved upon its franchising system and upgraded it to superior industry standard for optional growth in each car wash territory.  This helps to make sure that the franchisees have the opportunity to thrive.

For more information

Super Wash

Year Founded:  1982

Franchising Since:  2001

Existing Locations:  280

Fees:  Varies

Super Wash is a family-owned and operated franchise that has been America’s top expert in self-serve and touchless auto wash.  They guarantee superior service for every single vehicle!

Super Wash offers an all-inclusive turnkey solution that covers everything from the site selection and obtaining zoning permits to construction, installation, and management.  They will continue to provide top-notch support after your car wash is open as part of their commitment to their franchisees.


Year Founded:  2002

Franchise Since:  2008

Existing Locations:  300+

Royalty Fees:  6%

DetailXperts is an excellent choice for car wash business owners who want to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to auto wash technologies and services.

DetailXperts offer superior full service for vehicle cleaning and they are also dedicated to sustainability and eco-friendly solutions. Their patent-pending technology guarantees an excellent car wash every time.

Their support to franchisees include up to 40 hours of comprehensive classroom training, on-site guidance and instruction and extensive marketing strategies with materials for referral tools.

DetailXPerts has three business models that you can choose from:  Free Standing Auto Detail Shop, Mobile Detailing Unit and Free Standing Auto Detail Shop Plus Mobile Detailing Units.

Final Thoughts

If you understand and love cars or simply enjoy seeing them, then you are half way down the road trip to success.  The other half is the booming vehicle repair market.

With so many opportunities for car franchises, you can reach your dream to become your own boss. There has not been a better time to join the car franchise world, even with no automotive experience.

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