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Franchisee Spotlight: Tom Wood Group’s Journey to Spiffy Indy

posted 16 December, 2021 by Jackson Balling
Franchising

If you were to ask us what the “perfect Spiffy franchise” looks like, we’d be hard-pressed to give an easy answer. One look at our Indianapolis franchise can help you understand why. If you live in the area, you’ve likely heard the Tom Wood Group name before.

They own and operate over 20 dealerships and franchises throughout Indianapolis and the Midwest. Their newest venture with Spiffy Indy is just the most recent example of how they’re staying ahead in the automotive industry.

We spoke with Bill Demaree, Group Director of Fixed Operations for Tom Wood, about how Spiffy fits in the Tom Wood business portfolio, expanding into mobile maintenance, and what makes Indianapolis such a great market.

This interview was conducted a few weeks before their Spiffy Indy franchise launch on December 6, 2021, and has been edited for clarity.

What was the road that brought you to Spiffy?

We've been looking to get into the mobile service business for several years, trying to determine what's a good fit for a franchise dealer to get into that market. It has been kind of difficult, to be quite honest. But when John Wood saw the [Spiffy penguin logo], that's what lit up his eyes. He enjoyed the branding, and as we went down this path, we got excited about what we saw with the [Spiffy] app. That has a lot of meaning to the business model, and we think the development of that is pretty strong. 

Trying to go to mobile service on your own without really having a structure of the process, nor having an app, would've been a challenge. Instead, going with Spiffy just seemed a lot more refined and easier for us to navigate - especially for something we've never done before.

What made you feel like Spiffy was the right fit for your portfolio of businesses?

I think having the full package, the partnership of looking at where you guys are now, and how you're developing a lot of your own product in-house is appealing to us. We feel like our partnership is going to be strong. As Spiffy develops, we develop, and as Spiffy expands, we can expand. 

It gives us the opportunity to get into a market that we've wanted to get in, and I think getting into this business model has a greater advantage for growth versus one of the OEM models. If I went with an OEM model, then I'm doing mobile service for [them] and I have to buy [their] oil or filters. It's much more regulated compared to the Spiffy model, where now I'm servicing fleets and residential for current and potential customers. It ends up benefiting our entire customer base.

What was the specific draw to mobile car care in Indianapolis?

For starters, it’s a great opportunity to expand the Tom Wood brand. While we’re able to branch out into mobile servicing for fleets, supporting that industry has been a part of all the brands we offer already. But I also think that this allows us to leverage our Spiffy brand to be more visible in the local market.

What about franchising with Spiffy has stood out to you?

The training was intense, starting with the online Spiffy University platform. I did not expect that I would’ve gotten as much out of it as I did, or that I would get enjoyment from sitting for nine hours and taking a bunch of tests. I didn’t expect the level of advanced training that the Spiffy Operations team has spent countless hours building.

What was your experience training on-site at Spiffy HQ like? 

We were there for a full week in early November. I’m still sore, but it was good! We won the “Car Detail of the Day” honors, so I think it went pretty well. I haven’t rolled out of a suit and underneath a car in many years, which was a surprisingly good experience. We were getting dirty, rotating tires and whatnot. It helped me feel like the fit [with Spiffy] was good for us. It mixes well with our vision as an organization.

When you’re looking ahead to the next couple of months, what about launching this business excites you the most?

Our market is wide open for it. I think our market is past due for the opportunity to offer residents the ability to order up a mobile service that can come directly to them. My wife is a perfect example: she needs air in tires, her oil change is way past due, and her vehicle has never been detailed. And she yells at me all the time, and I'm like, "Honey, I just don't have time to mess with it." I think I'm the norm. 

I believe in the market that we're in, from Zionsville, Carmel, and Westfield to Fishers, Brownsburg, and going around in the North and West sides of the city. We have a market of folks that I think are going to eat this up. 

Then there's the airport, where [Tom Woods] has a Sixt Rental Cars location. We also own a Big O Tire store [in Whitestown], so we're looking quick and heavy on a tire van to service the airport and some of the fleets with tires. I think it's just adding the last segment of our business model on my responsibilities of what I do for the businesses.

This is a piece of it that I feel like we've been missing for years, and I just haven't had the time to build a process, figure it out, get and stock the van. Joining forces with Spiffy has allowed us to slingshot this a lot quicker than it could have come.

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Thank you so much to Bill for chatting with us about how Spiffy Indy fits in with their vast portfolio of businesses at Tom Wood Automotive. It’s been exciting to see them own their launch and can’t wait to see how they grow from here!

If you’re interested in booking a car wash or detail with their crew, click here to get started with $20 off your first service.

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Posted in Franchising

Written by Jackson Balling

Jackson is our Content Marketing Manager, bringing over five years of professional experience in creative copywriting, audio production, and video editing to the Spiffy Marketing team.
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