A technician paints a car at Maaco, where three new certification levels have been rolled out.

When Bob Benjamin became Maaco’s new president about a year ago, one of his first moves was to ask for a complete overhaul of the auto repair franchise’s certification process. It’s beginning to pay off, according to the man tapped to head up the project.

The idea behind the overhaul was to beef up the types of customers shops could serve and in turn add to top-line sales. Dave Gross, an 11-year Maaco veteran, is VP of certification and strategic development since last fall. Gross is seeing progress, he said, since the program’s official launch in January.

Maaco was one of several auto repair franchises interviewed in July for an auto aftermarket story coming up in the September issue.

In the past, Maaco shops had “a retail focus,” Gross said, meaning they served mostly individual customers and had only one certification level. Now they have three levels.

The top level, diamond, designates those centers “that want to improve relationships with the OEMs,” he said, or original equipment manufacturers that have exacting standards.

The second level, platinum, helps shops attract business from national accounts obtained by corporate, such as rental car accounts..

The entry level, gold, is for shops that “have proven to us through certification that they’re capable of delivering upon the brand standards.”

The idea was “to identify which customers they’re geared up to serve…and the end goal is to move everybody toward diamond or platinum,” he said. “We’re collecting a lot of data right now and we’re really happy right now with the program.”He expects a “large majority”of franchisees certified to one of those levels by the end of 2019, although he couldn’t share exact figures just yet.

“It’s exciting to see a 47-year-old chain get behind a new certification program, embrace a lot of the changes going on in the industry, to position 500 locations to be successful with whatever changes continue to happen,”he said.



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