Jiffy Lube Franchisee Cautions Women Against Working From Home

Joye Griffin has entrepreneurialism in her blood. The successful Jiffy Lube franchisee and her husband, Dave, turned a small car wash business into 54 stores in a little over a decade. Here, she shares her tips of the trade with MORE. An edited version of the interview follows.

by Samantha Lear
Joye Griffin Jiffy Lube franchise business owner
Joye Griffin, Jiffy Lube franchisee, visits each of her 54 service centers every three weeks
Photograph: Courtesy of Getty Images

More: This doesn't seem like a typical business for women. Did you have any experience with cars before getting into it?
Joye Griffin: I grew up in a very entrepreneurial family. My father and grandfather both ran their own businesses, so it was kind of in my blood. I wouldn’t know anything different.

More: What advice would you give to budding women entrepreneurs?
JG: It’s an interesting position to be a woman in any profession. There’s a lot of juggling of the work and personal lives. One thing that was nice was that when our children were younger, because my husband and I were business owners, we could tag-team situations. If one of us needed to be at the office and one needed to be home, we could do that. We could also work from home.

Especially now, with technology, it can be much easier to balance. However, I would also caution against working at home, because I know from experience that it’s easy to get distracted and think ‘I can just throw in a load of laundry.’ You have to be very structured in regards to work versus family time. It obviously doesn’t always go as planned, but if you have a good structure that helps.

More: Where did you grow up?
JG: In a little rural town in Utah, my grandfather ran a service station. When I was a little girl, he would let me come over and help. He would check the oil and everything under the hood, and he’d let me pump the gas and count the money. It was really fun. My father was in the gas and fuel distribution sector, so I would go with him in his gas truck. Because it was a rural area, a lot of the local farmers had heating oil and needed diesel and gas for farming equipment. My father would go to their homes and fill their big tanks. It’s kind of funny that it all came full circle.

More: What were you doing before you decided to get involved with a franchise?
JG: Dave and I have always been business owners. We met in college and at the time Dave had a mobile detail business that he had started to get himself through school. Once we were married, that grew to five retail carwash locations, and as we were building another one in 1999, we decided to add a fast lube portion. That was our first introduction into the Jiffy Lube world. We applied for a franchise, and since 1999, we’ve grown to 54 locations in three different states.

More: What made you and Dave decide to become involved with a franchise?
JG: With a franchise, you get a good basic structure of what needs to be done. Franchising was really our only option. First, with a franchise, there’s the structure already there. You pay a royalty fee to a franchise and then they give you a plan. I don’t have to come up with every new idea or every new program or report. I can go to them and they can help me with that.
Second, there’s the sense of accomplishment as you watch your employees moving up the ladder. Over time, you get to know them and their families and when you see that they’re doing well, it’s rewarding to know that you’re helping them.

More: How did you divide up the responsibilities?
JG: I mainly focus on customer experience—what someone experiences when she goes into one of our service centers from the time she pulls onto lot to when she leaves. This includes the type of products that we use, how our employees treated her, what the facility looked like. And I oversee the accounting and administrative part of our business.

I’m also on the Jiffy Lube international team for customer services, which shares insights for best practices on a corporate level. We meet monthly with our team of franchisees from around the country to talk about what we can do to ensure that our customers have a better experience. We try to see things through our customers’ eyes, because without them we wouldn’t have a business.

More: You now own 54 locations in Colorado, Utah and Nevada. How do you do it all?
JG: Our three sons are also involved in the business and we divide up and visit every store. We have trainings, management meetings, talk to customers and observe the facilities. I watch what’s happening at each customer touch point to make sure that the customer is being serviced to our standards.

More: What’s the biggest challenge or obstacle that you’ve faced?
JG: Our biggest challenge is not being there more often and keeping our employees well-trained and up-to-date. A lot of people will say to us “you just change oil, how hard can that be?” They have no idea of all the different manufacturers and the different requirements for each vehicle.

More: Any surprises about your chosen path?
JG: It’s a 24/7 job and we’re okay with that. When you’re a business owner, you really don’t have time off. We try really hard to keep that balance, but things happen. For instance, I just got back and found out that there’s been a big fire in Reno. So we’ve been emailing back and forth with our employees there, making sure that their families are okay.

More: What makes a woman successful in business?
JG: I’ve found two things that I really admire. First, they usually lead by example. Whatever it is they’re asking of their employees, they’re also doing it themselves. Second, they give back to their community.

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First Published Tue, 2011-12-06 19:11

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