What is next in Health Care Reform?

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The effective date of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was March 23, 2010, although various provisions have their own effective dates from January 1, 2010, (the small business income tax credit) through 2018. The start of 2013 saw the launch of a number of key provisions, among them Medicare tax increases, limits on Health FSA deferrals and the requirement that W-2 reporting note employer and employee payments for certain health care items in 2012. But 2014 is the year when most core pieces of PPACA will be put into effect, notably the mandates that employers with 50+ employees provide health insurance and that individuals obtain minimum essential health coverage for themselves and their dependents, whether or not they have access to coverage through their employer. Equally momentous, beginning Jan. 1, 2014, states are required to have opened a state-run health insurance exchange, or to have partnered with the federal government to open an exchange. In … [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...]

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...]

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...]

What is the Best Kind of Advertising?

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Answer? A program that insures your bays are filled every day with customers that will purchase Tires and Service from you, at reasonable gross margins. There shouldn't be any mystery about that. The question is - what does that program look like? Well if you are a Big Retail Chain or New Car dealership, the program looks a lot different then if you are a small or midsize Independent. Big Retail and New Car Dealers have the resources and budgets for sophisticated database programs, amazing websites and over the top digital campaigns, while still spending big bucks on traditional advertising. To assess ROI on each campaign, Big Retail and New Car Dealers have really cool tools that can analyse every metric under the sun. If you are an Independent (if you advertise at all), you probably have a web site, FaceBook page and Twitter Account (or at least I hope so). You may do some ADVO or Money Mailer type advertising monthly and a declined service/reminder program. For big events, … [Read more...]

When it’s Time to Hang it Up

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What does Mick Jagger, Rickey Henderson, Jerry Rice, Brett Favre and Chris Chelios have in common?  Give up? - YES!  All were (are) legends in their respective professions and - YES - neither appeared to have a well thought out  exit strategy.   One could even argue, all stayed in the "game" a bit too long. What is a Exit Strategy? Wikipedia has a pretty good definition:  "An exit strategy is a means of leaving one's current situation, either after a predetermined objective has been achieved, or as a strategy to mitigate failure.[1][2][3] An organisation or individual without an exit strategy may be in a quagmire. At worst, an exit strategy will save face; at best, an exit strategy will peg a withdrawal to the achievement of an objective worth more than the cost of continued involvement." Why you should have an Exit Strategy? As much as you would not like to admit it, you can't keep doing what you are doing forever.  No one in the history of man has been able to pull that off … [Read more...]

Why its a good Idea to Offer an Inspection to Every Customer

I live in Arizona where there is no requirement to have an annual  safety inspection performed on passenger and light truck vehicles.  According to Info.com only 26 States now require regular inspections of automobiles "to rid the highways of dangerous vehicles with bald tires, wobbly suspensions, smoke-filled exhausts, and defective brakes and lights."  You can find that list of States here. If I owned a Tire and Service business in a State that doesn't require regular safety inspections, I'm not sure that I would need another reason to recommend a full mechanical inspection on every one of my customers vehicles at least once a year.  I would charge for that inspection as well. If you do need another reason to offer (sell) inspections to every customer, here is another one!  It has to do with identifying customers that are interested in having a safety inspection performed on their vehicle.  Believe it or not, there are lots of customers that are interested in having a safety … [Read more...]