Maintenance Matter: Six Elements That District Managers Must Pay Attention To

 The district manager job is the most challenging position in the retail and franchise industry. They require a multi-unit vision to be able to oversee units as a whole but also under their particular situations, challenges, team dynamics, results, and opportunities. 

To deal with these demands and have a high level of excellence, the district manager also needs certain skills to perform better and manage, lead, supervise, identify opportunities, cause change, and inspire people, all within the same amount of a regular hour workweek. 

The American Franchise Academy has detected seven critical responsibilities that district managers must execute to be effective and successful at their job. In this session, we'll cover #5: maintain.

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Why is this a critical responsibility for district managers?

This duty has to do with maintenance and ensuring that all of the leader's units are clean and in good working order. But why is this so important for the business?

To start, how the stores look reflects the image of your business. Remember that each franchise has a specific image and expectation from your customers, and your business leaders should keep up with those brand guidelines, both in terms of working order and cleaning. 

This responsibility also has to do with the work environment because you want the unit to be sanitary and in good condition, not only for the customers but also for your people. That’ll make the unit safe for everybody. This is very important nowadays, especially with all the staffing challenges that the industry is experiencing

And last but not least, this is crucial because if anything happens or something is not working right, you may experience revenue interruption. That means you won't have sales and, therefore, you’ll lose business. 

Do you know how many units can your district manager oversee? View this vblog to learn our recommendation.  


The six elements of the maintenance responsibility

There are six elements that every district manager needs to oversee all of the units in their zone. 


1. A unit preventive maintenance plan

Your district manager and your team must be a step ahead of your equipment, especially if your business model has a dependence on equipment, for example, car washes. Having a maintenance plan will get you ahead of the game to make sure the equipment does not break down, which ultimately will save you money, and prevent downtime and revenue interruption.


2. A unit cleaning maintenance plan

Having this plan will ensure that the environment is proper and that your workers, customers, and vendors feel great to be in your business.


3. Prepare a maintenance budget, policy, and process

There are going to be investments in the maintenance of the units. You need to document a clear policy for the budget, defining how the money should be spent and the process for approval. In consequence, you’ll be able to delegate this task properly, and your people will make the best decisions, at the right time.  

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4. Have a redundancy plan

If there’s a piece of equipment that is critical for your business or that breaks down easily, you may want to have two of the same to have an automatic redundancy plan.

Unfortunately, you can’t have two pieces of everything, that would be very expensive! But you can have a plan so your district manager can act immediately if something malfunctions to make sure he can correct and redirect quickly


5. Prepare a contingency plan

You’ll never know when a natural or manmade disaster will affect your business. But if you have a contingency plan that your district manager can execute, you can assure your operations will continue, and your business will recover faster.

When the power outage happened in the whole Georgia region, I was overseeing several Olive Gardens in the area. One of our coolers, filled with product, stop working because of the blackout. But thankfully, the brand had a contingency plan and we were able to act quickly.

A service company brought us an 18-wheeler truck with a refrigerated container so we could store the products there until the power came back. For that reason, we saved tens of thousands of dollars of inventory!


6. Execute effective unit visits

The district manager needs to have properly structured visits to have a follow-up on all of these elements. Then, they have to make sure that all of the systems, processes, and procedures are well executed and implemented with a high level of excellence. 


As you can see, all of these elements are critical to ensure the high performance of your business. If you are a multi-unit franchisee or a district manager, The American Franchise Academy can help you! We train these district leaders so that they can have a more structured job, guidance, development, and find work-life balance.

We do that with our Multi-Unit Leadership Certification Program, where we give them the skills, abilities, and tools they need to do the job right and successfully. Go to and register for our next free information session, where you can learn all about this program.

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  • How well does your district manager execute the six elements of this responsibility?
  • Are your leaders familiar with the budget, processes, and maintenance policies?
  • If equipment malfunctions, how quickly can you or your district manager react? Are you prepared to maintain your operations?
  • Do you have a contingency plan for natural or manmade disasters?



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