One of our company goals has always been to bring Spiffy to all 50 states, even way back in the early days. That constant objective makes many of our franchise launches exciting since they’ve allowed us to bring our brand of mobile car care to more people than ever before. With our recent Oklahoma City franchise launch, led by Stephen Fleming, we were thrilled to check Oklahoma off the list.
We recently spoke with Steve about his unique career history, the path he took to owning a franchise, and what made Spiffy stand out in his search. This interview was conducted a few days before the Oklahoma franchise launch on December 13, 2021, and has been edited for clarity. You can download the full version here or via the “Download Here” button below.
What was the road that brought you to Spiffy?
I've done a lot of different jobs, starting with aircraft maintenance for F-15s during my time in the Air Force. I went to school at the University of Central Oklahoma and moved into the professional world with a management position at AT&T. From there, I moved into logistics and transportation while completing my MBA at Oklahoma Christian University. Then, I ended up coming to work in an office management role with my wife at the psychiatric practice that she owns.
I knew I wanted to do something on my own. I would always sit and complain to my co-workers that it would be nice if somebody would come to take care of my oil change. Just pick my car up and do it, so I didn't have to drive and sit somewhere, having to find rides and all that. So I started researching mobile oil change, and Spiffy just showed up in one of my searches. My first thought was that it was something I've always wanted. And If I want it, I think other people do. The more I researched it, the more this felt like what I wanted to do next.
"Having been in a couple of different big businesses, I've seen stagnation and it's a killer, but that's not an issue here. It seems to be "We don't stagnate; how do we get better?"
What was your experience like after you reached out to our Franchising team?
There's that period of feeling things out. But as I learned more, nothing surprised me or caught me off-guard. Everything seemed like what I expected to see. I was still excited because it was something that I thought I would love to have created, but there's no way I could have come up with the technology. So to have that package already built and being able to start from there just put Spiffy leaps and bounds above everybody else.
I went to the Discovery Day event and I enjoyed the presentation. It was great. I remember telling Mike [Tolzman, VP of Operations and Training], the thing that absolutely sold me was when they did the progression of the vans. As you see that, you see the foresight, you see what Scot and Karl are trying to accomplish going forward, and how they are looking a couple of steps ahead. But to see where they started and where they moved to, really got me excited. Not only is this something that I like, I love the concept, but here are these guys that keep looking at what can they improve with what they currently have and where can they go next?
Having been in a couple of different big businesses, I've seen stagnation and it's a killer, but that's not an issue here. It seems to be "We don't stagnate; how do we get better?"
How was the training experience for you?
I mentioned before that I wasn't surprised by too much of the materials I'd read or certain things I learned during my visit to headquarters. But when I went for training, I was surprised. There was part of me that thought, "I've washed a car, I understand this." And then I watched the pre-training videos and learned a lot, but still felt like I understood what I was getting into. But then you do it, and that's when you truly understand.
Some other franchisees and I cleaned a car together, and we stood around it just saying how cool of a process it was. We were so impressed with what we did by using your right process and chemicals. You realize that you didn't know what you were doing before this moment, and you feel that sense of accomplishment by just looking at the finished product.
Here we are, a handful of forty-somethings buying this franchise, and we got such a kick and enjoyment out of doing the work and seeing how wonderful it turned out. That was a surprise. I thought I'm just gonna wash a car and I've been here, done that. This was a completely different experience when you do it the right way.
What about Oklahoma City kind of stands out as a great place for a business like Spiffy?
I think there are some business models here that employ fleets quite a bit. There's an opportunity for some smaller fleets, but fleets nonetheless. There's a lot of oil industry and aeronautics here. We have a pretty thriving medical community, as it turns out. There's an opportunity with an influx of money coming into Oklahoma City right now. It's a fast-growing city, the metro area is well over a million people now. The cost of living is lower in Oklahoma, so people have a little bit more disposable income.
Anything that even compares to Spiffy doesn't do mobile oil change or tires. There's not much competition for that. And most of the mobile car wash and detailing are Mom and Pop businesses with one or two vans, which tend to be more expensive and the technology is not anywhere near what Spiffy offers. It just seems like there's a good entry point for people interested in something more.
Thank you so much to Steve for chatting with us about bringing Spiffy to Oklahoma City! It was a delight to have such an insightful conversation and we look forward to what the future holds for your business!
If you’re interested in booking a car wash, detail, or oil change with his crew, click here to get started with $20 off your first service.
If you’re looking to learn more about starting your own Spiffy Franchise, contact us today!
Posted in Franchising