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...]

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...]

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...]

RTS is looking for Contributors

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I started Retail Tires Solutions a few years ago as a place to post solutions and best practices for Independent Tire Dealers that I supported in the Western States.  I felt then (and still do) - that there really wasn't many good resources for tire dealers to get practical information and support. Shout Out! I am looking for new contributors to share best practices, insights, inspiration, new products or anything that would provide the RTS Community with some "Good Stuff" to help Independent Tire and Service Dealers. What does "Good Stuff" look like? Best Practices Business Philosophy Customer Success Stories Grass Root Marketing Ideas Why you do what you do ... How you built you business Or anything else that would provide guidance to fellow Independent Tire and Service Dealers. What's in it for YOU? On an average month, this blog site gets a few thousand page reads.  You could become famous ;-) or more likely, your contribution could provide the inspiration for … [Read more...]

Red Rules for Tire & Service Dealers

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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...]

Free Updated Vehicle Inspection Form

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Today, I am posting an updated inspection form based on feedback that I received from several dealers.  We fixed a typo in the Brake section, changed the color scheme and added numbers to the Vin Code section for easier reference when building estimates.  You can download the updated inspection form here. Or click here for our Inspection Form Package, which includes 10 Vehicle Inspection Forms, 1 Tire Inspection Form, 2 Estimate Forms and 1 Work Order. … [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...]

Is it Time it Rethink your Retail Strategy?

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Independent Tire Dealers face new challenges every day!  Fact is that selling and installing only tires is increasingly becoming a recipe for failure.  Faced with shrinking margins and fierce competition from large chains, clubs and internet wholesales, the Independent Tire Dealers must focus on strategies that provide "one stop" vehicle maintenance services as well as tires just to keep their current customers.  "We do it all, if we let our customers go anywhere else for automotive related services, we may lose them for ever." says John Marino from Marino's Auto Service in Sun City AZ.  "We recently just started stocking tires, because we don't even want our customers to buy tires from anyone else.  Our tag line is "Customers for Life", and we mean it!" National Chains will do whatever they can to put tires on your vehicle, even to the point of losing money.  A Regional Director for a large National Tire & Service Chain recently explained it like this, "It costs us $350 to get … [Read more...]