Best Practice

Thinking about Adding a Technician?

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  What Comes First? The Cart or the Horse?   If I had a dollar for every time a Tire and Service Owner told me that he couldn't afford to add a technician ... well I would have a few extra bucks ;-). In most cases, adding another technician is the best avenue to increase your revenue and improve your customer service.  So why do so many dealers struggle to add additional technicians? Here are the top 5 reasons: Can't afford the additional payroll. Will take away work from other technicians. Not enough car count. Can't find qualified techs. Not enough time to hire. While all may be valid reasons, I have found that most dealers just need some help figuring out HOW TO GROW!   To get you off on the right foot, here is some "Stuff" to THINK ABOUT when adding technicians:   There should be a strong correlation between what you spend in payroll and in the case of adding a technician, service sales (total sales minus tire sales). Shoot … [Read more...]

The New Reality – Tires as Loss Leader?

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All Tires $5.00 over cost! Tire Loss Leader pricing is becoming a prevalent form of advertising for large and regional chains as they work to maintain market share against like competitors and surging New Card Dealers. Independent Tire Dealers are watching tire margins shrink  (further) as they struggle to match large and Regional Tire Chain pricing.  Once a strategy regulated to the Car Dealers, advertising "dollars off store cost" is now being  adopted by an alarming number of large retailers.   How can an Independent Tire Dealer Compete with this strategy? While the thought of competing with Large Chains head to head may be daunting for some Independants, I believe that the Independent Tire Dealer can still compete and thrive against the Big Guys.   Here are a few strategies that Independents are using to  fend off the competition: Figure out what your competitive advantage is - and leverage it! Offer value added services such as a complementary car washes, … [Read more...]

Private Exchanges Gaining Momentum

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Private health insurance exchanges may be gaining traction. According to research from Mercer, 56 percent of employers are considering moving to this model for active or retired employees, tripling in number over the last year. That's good news for RTS, which will help employers and employees by offering them a one-stop-shop for their benefits from multiple insurance providers. Open enrollment will begin this fall with the first policies going into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. Patrick Murphy believes that private exchanges will help employers better manage their costs and reduce their administrative burden while ensuring that employees have easy access to the coverage they need. Because of these advantages, RTS plans to introduce a private exchange for 2014 and beyond. With a private exchange, the model turns to a defined contribution benefits approach, allowing the employer to provide a set amount for employees to spend on benefits. This leads to more stable, predictable costs. … [Read more...]

“Cadillac” Tax Reduced

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The “Cadillac tax” that is part of Obamacare might not cost employers nearly as much as initially estimated. The Congressional Budget Office projects in a new report that taxes on employers' high-premium insurance plans will generate roughly $80 billion over the next 10 years. That figure represents a decline of almost 42 percent from the $137 billion in excise tax revenue in the CBO’s February forecast. Starting in 2018, the IRS will impose a 40 percent excise tax on employer-sponsored health benefits totaling more than $10,200 for individual coverage and $27,500 for family coverage as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The 40 percent non-deductible tax takes is designed to discourage plans from including features that promote over- or unnecessary use of medical care, such as low or non-existent deductibles and co-pays. The CBO’s latest report says that it lowered the forecasted excise tax revenue figure because of new trends in employer-sponsored … [Read more...]

Want to fix your Business? Focus on People First

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As leaders, how often do we delegate critical people "interactions" and tasks to others? Is interviewing new team candidates the first thing that gets delegated?  How about the training? It's been my experience that the delegation of critical people tasks happens more times then not.  Why?  Because it's hard work to hire people!  Its very time consuming!  Lets face it .. its a pain in the butt to keep training and coaching people!  But if you want to build  great teams, "hands on" is absolutely necessary. Show me an underperforming business unit, and you will most likely find the leader disengaged with his/her people and preoccupied with administrative tasks. As a leader, there is nothing more important then the time you spend with your people. If great performance starts and ends with great performing people, you must spend the time it takes to hire the right candidate and invest the time it takes to develop that individual.   Want to fix your business? Spend time … [Read more...]

Why you should be doing Work Place Marketing

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Work Place Marketing, is a form of "grass root marketing" that centers around reaching out to people or associations that work within the trade area of your service center (s).  Most of us have done some type of Work Place Marketing. Typical Work Place Marketing examples range from handing out coupons or flyers in nearby shopping strips and office parks, to having discount cards printed up for large employers, schools and associations.   Statistically 35% of consumers buy tires & service while they are at work. Traditional media that targets residential households is not the most effective way to reach these consumers. How do you get a message out to people that park their vehicle within a few miles of your store front EVERY DAY? You get out of your stores and Knock on Doors! While the traditional coupon, flyer and printed discount card will get them in the door, how do you convert that first time customer into a loyal passionate fan? RTS has put … [Read more...]

5 Tips for Airtight Time & Attendance

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If your employees are pushing the envelope on tardiness and absenteeism, maybe it’s because you haven’t clearly defined what’s acceptable and what’s not. It’s up to management to set clear attendance expectations and take action when employees are pushing the boundaries. Here are some ways you can clearly define the dos and don’ts of your attendance policy, so that everyone in the company is on the same page. 1. Set clear expectations. If you’re fine with people leaving the office when their work for the day is done, say so. However, if your staff needs to be in the office for a certain length of time each day, then you’ll need to set specific work hours and inform your entire workforce. “Examine the culture of your workplace, what makes sense for the business,” says Emily Dusablon, HR advisor for Insperity. “Do you have hours that your business is open to the public? Or are you the type of company that allows employees to determine when and where they perform work?” Let … [Read more...]

Oilinator – Simply Awesome Oil Absorbent Shop Pad!

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Kitty Litter? Really? Thirteen years ago, when I left the store manager ranks for my first multi-unit assignment, the number one way to clean up oil spills was .... you guessed it, KITTY LITTER!!!! Circle back to today, according to my friends at Autoparts International, shops still prefer to clean up oil spills with KITTY LITTER!!!! In the age of the iPhone, Droid and web 2.0, how is it still possible that shops are cleaning up oils spills with kitty litter? Enter stage Right - Spillinex's Oilinator - People you have to see this video staring my good friend Dan Fitzgerald from Bridgestone Complete Auto Care, Mission Viejo.  In the video, Dan demonstrates the future of cleaning up oil spills - and it appears to be a game changer! Spillinex has been kind enough to make available to Retail Tire Solutions, Free Oilinator Pad samples to the first 25 dealers that request them here. Good Selling!   … [Read more...]

Finally! A Rewards Program for Tire & Service Dealers

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The Only Marketing Program You May Need   Over the past few years, I have worked on a platform to provide a custom marketing solution for Independent Tire and Service Dealers. Today, I am really excited to announce the availability of the Retail Tire Solutions Loyalty Rewards Plus Marketing Program.   This Marketing Platform will change the way you market to your customers forever!  It very well may be the only marketing program you need going forward! Why it took so long? One of the most difficult problems associated with offering marketing programs to Independents, is the reality that there are so many different POS systems being utilized by Tire Dealers and almost as many single store operators. Marketing programs that have the ability to Reward current customers,  Win Back lost customers, Acquire new customers, Improve Gross Sales and provide you with some pretty cool Tools that measure return on investment (across many platforms) can be fairly expensive to the average … [Read more...]

Are you kidding me?

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Are you kidding me?  That was my response to Steve, a good friend of mine, when he told me that some of his Independent Tire & Service clients sell oil club programs in hopes that the customer DOES NOT redeem them. Yes - You heard that right! I told Steve that strategy made no sense.   Especially when you take into consideration that it takes approximately $350 to gain a new customer.   The main reason to sell club programs is to encourage loyalty and repeat business. To make sure we are all on the same page, an oil club program is a program that sells multiple oil changes at a significant discount,  trading future gross for loyalty and repeat business.  I also like idea of selling alignment policies and "super coupon" programs. You should probably know by now ... I am a Big fan of just about anything that encourages customer growth! Key Point - it's not how MUCH its How MANY - How much a customer spends every time they service their vehicle with you is less … [Read more...]