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Imagine owning a family business and the entire family works there every day. For the Royer family, owners of CARSTAR Little Elm in Little Elm, Texas, working together is a celebration of their passion for performance and commitment to their customers.
“One of the biggest benefits of working in a family business is the sense of accomplishing something together,” said Karla Royer, co-owner of CARSTAR Little Elm. “Building a family business is working together on a plan for the future. We trust our managers and employees, but there is something special about working with family members that you trust and respect.”
Royer grew up in an oil and gas service business owned by her parents and has always enjoyed being in a family business. She and her husband John started in the collision repair industry in 2013 when a business associate of John and a family friend called him to ask for help turning around a collision facility in which he had invested.
“One of the first steps they took was joining CARSTAR,” said Royer. “CARSTAR provided the blueprint on how to operate a shop even though John had no previous experience in the industry. The shop grew over the years and after my kids had graduated from college, and I started working at the shop in production and front-end support. John had oversight of the business and we worked together. A decision was made by ownership to sell the business, and John and I decided to open up our own CARSTAR in Little Elm, Texas. We purchased an independent collision repair shop in Little Elm that had been there for 20 years. Our son had expressed interest in starting a business, and this is one that we had experience with.”
Royer said CARSTAR has been a great resource and partner along the way.
“We set goals and started building our business,” she said. “We worked closely with the CARSTAR team along the way. It has been quite a journey with the timing of when we joined, but we were still able to hit our three-year goals. We didn’t exactly plan the way it would happen, but we are excited to have our own successful small business.”
Establishing clear roles and responsibilities is essential for a working family business, said Royer.
“I’m the bookkeeper and help in all areas as needed on a daily basis,” said Royer. “John acts as the general manager and oversees the production process and KPIs, and works with CARSTAR on a variety of franchise issues and does the hiring. After working at Enterprise out of college, our son Seth has become a service writer and plays an important role in helping to manage our business.
“There have been surprisingly few issues from a family standpoint. We respect each other’s roles that are well-defined and trust that each of us is doing our work. It has been rewarding as we enjoy helping people get their vehicles repaired. Based on Google Business Reviews, we pride ourselves on being the highest rated shop in North Texas with a 4.9 (out of five) star rating. On top of that, our son just got married this past weekend and has lived with us since the pandemic began. Even though we all live together and work together, it has been as good as we had hoped.”
Royer offered some advice for families who want to start a business together.
“We have found success by not getting in each other’s way,” she said. “We get together frequently to discuss challenging issues but have to remind ourselves that iron sharpens iron. We respect the differences in ourselves and our roles and do our best to come up with solutions that can satisfy all of us. Defined roles are important, but also don’t bring work home with you. That doesn’t mean you can’t work at home as we frequently do, but it means the roles we play at the shop are left there at the end of the day and we are family at home again.”