Workers’ Comp Cost Rising – With Limited Options?


Over the past few years, I have worked with Gary Chavez, a contributor to RTS to provide a workers comp solution exclusively for the Independent Tire and Service Dealer. Today, I am really excited to announce the availability of a highly competitive Workers' Compensation Solution exclusively for the Independent Tire and Service Dealer. What makes TDS Workers' Compensations Solution different is that the product not only saves you money, but the products are tailored to suit the unique needs of the Tire and Service Industry.  TDS Workers' Compensation Products come with flexible payment options and can be coupled with your payroll and benefit programs to give further significant savings. Click Here to request a Free No Obligation Workers' Comp Quote Now! Tire Dealer Support Workers' Compensation Solution Includes: Affordable, pay-as-you-go workers’ comp coverage (no down payment) Stable rates year-to-year No audit premiums or other surprises 24/7 injury hotline for … [Read more...]

Rising Health Care Costs Should Not Drain Your Company’s Bank!


Health care costs, already a significant drain on many small businesses, may increase further following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, expected this summer. The central question of the case examines the individual mandate, which is set to go into effect in 2014 and will require most Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. If the individual mandate is struck down, the Court will also decide whether or not other components of the law must be dismantled as well. If the individual mandate stands, employers will likely find themselves carrying more employees on their health care plans, including those with pre-existing conditions. Employers may already find themselves offering coverage to more people because some parts of the Affordable Care Act are already in effect. Children may now remain on their parents’ health care plans until they are 26 years old, and adults who were uninsured for six months or more because of … [Read more...]



People - It really is all about People. Yes we fix cars and trucks - install tires and wheels. But in the end,  its about People solving Peoples problems working with People. A few question to ask yoursleves as we prepare to start another day as automotive tire and service professionals. Do my people know what is expected every day? Do they understand their role? Do my people have goals? Do my people have the tools (training) to meet expectations? Do I keep score every day? Track important stuff like (Customers Serviced, Sales, Service Sales, Payroll, COGS .. etc) Do I provide regular (daily) feedback to my people? These are basic questions that mean everything to the success of your business, but easily overlooked. Need Help? Here are a few articles to get you going in the right direction. Five Qualities of Remarkable Bosses Keeping Score in Retail Tire & Service Retail Tire and Service Tracking Tools As always - Im here to  help!  Contact me … [Read more...]

12 Factors of Successful Managers


If you were to ask any owner or key employee of any business what their average revenue per employee is, chances are they would scratch their head and give the same look that we get when asking our teenagers whether they've cleaned their room. Now, this doesn't mean that they're not effective at what they do, it just reinforces our negligence when it comes to what I call "Workforce Optimization." What do we expect of employees, do we communicate those expectations effectively to them, do they know why the company has those expectations of them and do they have the tools to meet or exceed those expectations? Whether front line, back office, white, grey or blue collar, employees must know how their efforts contribute to the overall success of a business. Although this tends to be one of the most significant factors impacting employee performance, let's take a look at 12 indicators that resulted from Gallup interviews across the world, representing various industry and organization … [Read more...]

HSAs – The “New Way” to do Health Insurance


What are they? HSAs are tax-advantaged medical savings accounts available to taxpayers who are enrolled in an HSA-qualified high-deductible health plan. The funds contributed to the account are not subject to federal income tax at the time of deposit. Unused amounts in one year can be carried over to following years and added to subsequent contributions. This is a tremendous opportunity to take advantage of tax incentives as well as lower the cost of managing our own health care. Something this good must have limits, right? Of course. However, before looking at what the coming year has in store, What changed in 2011? Effective Jan. 1, 2011, expenses incurred for over-the-counter medicines, with the exception of insulin, will not be eligible for reimbursement under a health FSA, HRA or HSA without a prescription. The penalty for using HSA funds for ineligible expenses increased from 10 percent to 20 percent. Changes for the next year include.... 2012 HSA Contribution … [Read more...]

Carry Your Burden!

Business owners often charge customers what they feel is a fair price to provide various services. These services are usually carried out by the company's employees, which means there is a cost to deliver these services since employees are the most expensive asset (remember that post?) any business has. So, the million dollar question that you consistently should ask, is "What is my payroll burden?" This is the fully loaded amount that each of your employees cost you above the gross payroll that you committed to paying them. This burdened amount, should include: FICA (employer portion) SUTA (State Unemployment Rate) FUTA (Federal Unemployment Rate) Workers' Compensation (rate per $100 of payroll) Benefits (employer contributions) Soft Costs (associated with administering employee responsibilities, such as employee reviews, payroll, disciplinary action, etc.) Once you know your full employee burden, you will get an even more firm grip on your margin, down to the hour or job, … [Read more...]

Red Rules for Tire & Service Dealers


At the end of the day, no matter what you believe - a standard is whatever you are willing to accept. Activities such as: hand torquing every wheel prior to the vehicle leaving the shop; double checking the oil level, filter and drain plug after performing an oil change and insisting that your people use protective items in every vehicle -  these activities seem like no brainers. However; It has been my experience, that if you don't communicate these expectations to your people, its tough to hold them accountable. Draw A Line in the Sand Here is a example of Red Rules that are used by one of my dealers: The following is our group’s “Red Rules”.  A Red Rule is the minimal acceptable level of performance that will be accepted from this point forward. We will offer every customer a Preferred Customer Card. All oil change conversations will include the option of a Maintenance Package. Every customer will be informed of our 2 and 3 year alignment policy. Every store will … [Read more...]

Compensation for Tech/Assistant Manager


Frequently, I run into situations where Tire Dealers require a lead technician to run their store to cover days off.  This arrangement usually doesn't create a problem, that is unless your technician is on a flat rate pay plan and flags over 100 hours a week.  Then in most cases, your technician is losing money while minding your store. Ideally, you want your technicians working on vehicles full time and your sales management - managing and selling full time.  I liken the Tech/Asst Manager position to one of a utility player in baseball.  It's tough to be the really good at two positions; however, it can happen! If you must employ a utility player, I suggest using a modified compensation program.  One that pays flat rate for all days that your technician is turning wrenches in addition to a hybrid comp-plan, that includes a small salary plus a percentage of store's total monthly Net Service Gross Profit. It may look something like this: Flat Rate Hourly Rate: $15.00 Monthly … [Read more...]

Employees: Assets or Liabilities?


Anyone in business will likely give the same answer when asked about their most valuable part of their business: their employees. It seems to be an obvious answer for any successful owner. The employees drive revenue, deliver the product or service that the company has committed to market and leave the necessary impression upon customers that will drive them to return to do business with the company. So, you may find it ironic that the very same group that is considered the most valuable part of any business also poses the greatest threat to its success and long-term health. However, there is a business strategy that, if implemented properly, can guarantee a return on investment that will exceed any marketing or sales strategy that a company has ever attempted. This can be accomplished by managing the capital that matters most, the human kind. Human Capital seems to be the new business buzz, but I believe it is finally receiving its due attention. For many, the transition from … [Read more...]

Book Review – Rework


I don't usually post book reviews, as a matter of fact this is my first one on RTS, but I just finished Rework by Jason Fried and David Hansson and feel that this quick read (97 pages) is a must read for any small business owner. Fried and Hansson draw on their real world experiences of building and sustaining their highly successful software productivity company 37 Signals. The book gives candid and thought provoking advice for the small business owner that (mostly) goes against the conventional wisdom of your local Small Business Association, but then again, its tough to argue with Fried and Hansson's success. A few quotes from Rework that resonated with me: On Work: "To do great work, you need to feel that you're making a difference.  That you're putting a meaningful dent in the universe.  That you're part of something important." "If you're going to do something, do something that matters ..." On Direction: "When you don't know what you believe, everything … [Read more...]