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...]

“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...]

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...]

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...]

Quick Tip! Gross Builder – Add On Balance

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Add On Balance If your like most Tire Dealers, you give Life-Time FREE rotations away with the purchase of a set of Tires. Forward ahead to the first time to your customer comes back for their FREE tire rotation -  It may go something like this - "Sir we will rotate your tires for FREE,  but you really should balance the tires as well - That will be $29.99 - Want us to take care of that for your?" Question:  How does one FEEL when you take their FREE service away from them? Answer:  Probably not so good. Solution:  Task your Service Manager to insure his/her Technicians are checking the tire balance on at least one tire - every time they pull wheels. So the conversation should go like this:  "Mr Grier; While rotating your tires, our technician checked the balance of one of your tires, your right front tire is out of balance by almost an ounce!  That condition will most likely cause premature tire wear and a vibration in the steering wheel at highway speeds.  It may … [Read more...]

3 Bootstrapping Customer Driving Techniques

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One of the most stressful times in any retail environment is when you are staffed to the hilt but no customers are walking through the door.  You look to your left and to your right and you have hourly employees that you are paying to just stand around.  I have been there.  Not Fun!  While there in no sure-fire way to instantly acquire customers, there are some techniques that many dealers use that seem to be pretty effective. #1 Alway have a box of oil change coupons on hand like these.  If there are no customers in your location, then its a safe bet that your sales and technicians are probably not too busy.  With the oil change coupons in hand, point your staff to the nearest traffic intersection to hand out the coupons.  You will be pleasantly  surprised how may coupons are redeemed in the coming weeks. #2 Have an "A" Frame board on hand with an "unbeatable" oil change offer like this.  Put the "A" Frame out in front of your location when you have empty bays. #3  Have Free … [Read more...]

Declined Services – a Goldmine of opportunity

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An admittedly unscientific poll of a couple hundred dealers in the Western Part of the United States suggest that only 30% of dealers actually have a declined service program in place. Considering that as an industry, customers that are presented with declined service notifications return for service 20% of the time, it seems like a no-brainer to start a declined service program. Most retail automotive repair POS systems have a declined service software packages built in, so if your does, lets start using it!  Some dealers utilize data-base marketing companies to administer their declined service program, while still others (I have a few customers that are still working out of a cigar box  ), still use a simple handwritten post card and a phone call. If you are among the 30% that are actively engaged in reaching out to your declined service customers, I am sure you are reaping the benefits.  If you are not, let’s get started!  Need help or advice? Contact me. Good … [Read more...]