::this post ID is 2121::::in categories of ..Automotive....Features..::

Finding success with a Speedy franchise

 Speedy-4171By Mike and Jackie Ouellette
We’ve been together for 16 years, but only recently began working as a team with our new Speedy Auto Service franchise, specializing in while-you-wait repairs, maintenance and inspections. The business model fits our skill sets and our family’s needs.

Mike
I was born here in North Bay, Ont., and had a fun childhood. My hobbies when I was young included hockey and coin collecting, but I was not interested in cars!

After I graduated from high school, I worked at a restaurant. I started out washing dishes and eventually became the kitchen supervisor. I stayed there for nine years. I was very dedicated to my work and didn’t have a lot of side interests. The way my mom and dad raised us, when you’re done school, you have to work.

When I left the restaurant, a good friend got me a job at an automotive repair franchise, though I had no previous automotive experience. In my family, I was the second youngest among four boys and we had one sister. One of my older brothers, Mark, was very into automotive work, fixing engines as a hobby with his friends on weekends.

I started right at the bottom, sweeping floors. I didn’t like the boss and only stayed there for one year before switching to another automotive franchise and installing mufflers, which is where I really learned the trade. My parents were surprised, as I was the last person they thought would work in this business, but they backed me 100 per cent.

I was very shy at the time, so it was difficult to suddenly be facing customers. My bosses at the franchise—two brothers, Danny and Leo Vaillancourt—put me through the Dale Carnegie Course, which is designed to build your communication skills, self-confidence, people skills and leadership abilities, improve your attitude and reduce stress. It really brings you out of your shell, helping you understand how to listen and talk to people and express yourself.

Now I’m a people person. I ended up working at the auto shop for 25 years, with our customers dealing directly with me. That job gave me all of the experience I needed for my current role.

At one point, the owners discussed the option of me buying shares in their family business. I got excited about the possibility, but after push came to shove, it turned out those shares weren’t coming through. I felt like a kid in a candy store who’s not allowed any candy.

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