Take 5 Oil Change rolling out "Fast, Friendly, Simple" brand
Talking with Jeff Gross, co-owner of the first Take 5 Oil Change franchise service center in Washington, is more like sitting in on a pep talk with Vince Lombardi or Bear Bryant.
The emphasis on teamwork and an unceasingly positive attitude – along with the occasional football reference – shine through as Gross expounds on launching the inaugural Take 5 location at 9205 N. Newport Highway.
“I’m looking forward to being the coach of an amazing football team,” Gross said of his approach to leading the employee roster at Take 5. “Ultimately, this is their win, their game.”
Gross and fellow co-owner Ryan Galford enter the local oil change market with the cachet of a brand that has been growing by leaps and bounds since Driven Brands Holdings Inc. took over the company in 2016. At that time, there were fewer than 50 Take 5 franchised service centers in the U.S. and Canada. There are now over 800. The number of sites has doubled in the past year.
“The numbers are amazing,” Gross said. “They’re McDonald’s-like numbers.”
Driven Brands is the largest automotive aftermarket services company in North America with familiar names like Meineke and Maaco under its umbrella and a network of over 4,600 locations spanning 15 countries. Annual revenue rings in at over $5.6 billion.
The growth of Take 5 under Driven Brands has not included any compromises on quality and customer service as evidenced by back-to-back J.D. Power survey awards for customer service satisfaction in 2021 and 2022.
“The key to our success is to be honest and do it right,” Gross says. “Everything we do, we show you so we can’t rip you off.”
Take 5’s “Faster Than You Think” marketing campaign resonates with customers looking for reliable service and a quick turnaround. Motorists can remain in their vehicles while the oil change and check-up are completed in around 10 minutes.
Galford said he signed on with Take 5 and Gross after realizing both shared a priority of making a difference.
“Jeff has this vision, this goal in life and that’s to help people,” Galford said. “That’s what really brought me on with Jeff. We have that in common – just wanting to help people.”
A native of Wisconsin with a background in private equity and investment banking, Gross originally considered investing in the automotive field on the tires side when he learned about Take 5 while in Texas. When the company offered Gross two options to kick start Take 5 in a new region – the Spokane area or Reno/Tahoe, he chose the Inland Northwest.
“I like Spokane,” he said. “It’s a nice, pretty version of Milwaukee.”
Gross and Galford plan to open up two more sites this year – one in Spokane Valley at Broadway and Sullivan and another on the south hill near Trader Joe’s. The positioning follows a Take 5 blueprint of opening locations near retail hubs.
The North Spokane store will be one of only two locally owned and operated Quick Lube locations. Once Take 5 Spokane opens its second location, it will be the largest, locally owned and operated oil change company.
“It’s about convenience,” Gross said. “We know people are usually on their way somewhere else.”
The tandem is also looking at areas like east Spokane Valley, Airway Heights and Pullman with a big-picture goal of having five sites operational by the end of 2024. Currently, the closest Take 5 is in Ontario, Oregon.
The local expansion is part of a larger unfurling of the Take 5 brand that includes over 950 sites in the pipeline.
The first site in the Evergreen State will occupy a space that once housed a Supercuts salon. The new Take 5 will take up some 1,400 square feet and feature three bays.
Galford said that he and Gross learned about the way Take 5 “is changing the stigma of fast oil changes” during a month-long training in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Driven Brands is based.
“It’s no-pressure sales,” Galford said. “We’ll check the air filter and recommend a change if needed but that’s it. We’ll look at the wiper blades and ask them, ‘The last time, it rained, could you see? Were you safe?’”
Take 5 orchestrates what is known as “The Show” when customers pull up. The performance begins with a smile and a water within 30 seconds. Two to three employees are assigned to each vehicle. During the service, each team member calls out what they are doing. The result resembles a customer’s personal pit crew.
Take 5 also offers a Small Business Fleet Program. Saving start at 10 percent (15 percent before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m.) and go to 30 percent or more. In addition to discounts on oil changes, members receive price breaks on wiper blades, air filters, and coolant exchanges.
Along with industry priorities like protecting engines, preventing sludge build-up and improving fuel economy, Gross and Galford are all about building up their employees. Each Take 5 site averages 10-12 on staff.
“The fun part is watching them grow,” said Galford who brings 20 years of operations experience to his new role. “I enjoy watching them improve their lives and the lives of the customers.”
Take 5 Spokane workers start at $16 an hour and are bumped up to $17 within 90 days. Galford and Gross also rewards employees with 15 percent of all profits earned over $100,000 annually per location.
“We’re trying to promote our people internally and externally,” Gross said. “The goal is to build the person. I want them to take care of the customer and each other. If they do, they will take care of the business and themselves. I can’t wait to see what our people do in the future.”
The Take 5 Spokane team volunteered more than 150 hours to local charities in the last month. The team’s favorite place to volunteer is Our Place Community Outreach, they help feed more than 500 families. “I’m really proud of them,” Gross said.
Galford and Gross’s approach to customers, employees, and compensation is unconventional, but both are savoring the opportunity to prove it works and then share it with other entrepreneurs.
Learn more about Take 5’s fast, friendly, and simplified oil changes here.