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...]

“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...]

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...]

Exiting My Business – Why Should I Plan?

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I talk to many business owners and I always ask the question, “How and when do you plan to exit this business?” It never ceases to amaze me how many people tell me, “I am never going to leave my business; this is my life.” Let me put that myth to rest immediately. Every business owner WILL leave their business. They may leave it vertically or they may leave it horizontally, but they will leave it. That being said, it is obvious that exit planning is very critical to business owners, but especially small business owners. Why? Let’s look at some statistics from the Small Business Administration. There are approximately 23 million businesses in theUS. Of these businesses, 99.7% have fewer than 500 employees. In other words, small business! Over 65% of these businesses are family owned or closely held businesses. Over 50% of small businesses are owned by individuals over 50 years of age. What does this say? There will be more businesses hitting the market for sale in the next … [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...]

Automotive Seminars & Update to RTS coming soon!

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Hi All ! Its been a busy few months!  I just wanted to update you, and let you know what I have been up to and what you can expect from RTS in the near future. Last October, I left TCi/Michelin to help out a Co-op up in Portland called NW Tire Factory.  Tire Factory is a group of  fantastic Independent Tire Business  owners located mostly in the Pacific Northwest.  Tire Factory is owned and operated by tire and service dealers just like you.  I made short work of building a sales team, developing a recruiting and value add program for their membership and even made a few friends along the way (Hi Steve, Andrew and Rob!). Prior to my detour in Portland,  I was working on a program called "The Complete Winning Strategy".  CWS is a comprehensive retail operations workshop and coaching platform inspired by my 18 years of  leading and assisting retail tire and service  teams.    The program assists store leadership in defining roles, setting goals as well as providing ownership … [Read more...]

Reality Check – How effective are your Team’s Phone Skills?

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Problem: Hundreds of Tire Sales are lost every day as a result of improper phone techniques.  Some Tire Sales Associates (or whomever answers the phone) fail to understand that the entire objective of the phone quote is to get the customer to the store. A good place to start to improve your phone skills is to ask yourself: How effective are your people on the phone? What is the main objective when the phone rings with someone asking for a price on tires? Do you have a strategy?  ie. quote lowest, price match, financing? Do you practice?  ie. role play, part of training program Do you have a phone script?  ie. written standard script posted near the phone I work with Tire Dealers that have opted to pay for a service that "phone shops" their store a couple of times per month.  The "phone shopper" company records the call, then emails the recording to the dealer.  The goal of the telephone phone shop program is to assist the dealer in improving telephone sales … [Read more...]

Tool Day – Free Payroll Productivity Worksheet

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Starting today, and every Friday (fingers crossed), I will work on posting another retail tire and service tool.  Today I am posting a Daily Payroll Productivity Worksheet that I put together and it seems to work really well.  The Worksheet is pretty straight forward, enter your Total Sales, Service Sales, Technician & Sales Associate payroll information daily and in turn the Worksheet will produce: Vehicle Service Associate Payroll percent to Sales Customer Service Associate Payroll percent to Sales Total Payroll percent to Sales Effective hourly rate of pay for Flat Rate Technicians and your Sales Team There is even an area to adjust for Fringe (taxes, benefits, etc) and spiffs for your sales team. Benchmarks are listed at the top of the page.  Most Retail Tire Stores shoot for: 20% Vehicle Service Payroll/Service Sales   10% Customer Service Payroll/Total Sales 30% Total Payroll/Total Sales You can find further posts covering additional tools that … [Read more...]