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...]

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...]

Employee Wage Update:

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January will see a number of state minimum wage increases across the nation.  Arizona ($7.35), Montana ($7.35), Ohio ($7.40), Oregon ($8.50), Vermont ($8.15), and Washington ($8.67) will all increase. Owners are encouraged to check for state and local variances for certain occupations or situations. The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor has a helpful Web page for state minimum wage requirements.  However, this Web site posts changed rates once they become effective; it does not post future or expected changes. … [Read more...]

Credit Card Financing Tips from GE Money

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There is a great series of  three short videos that I recommend that you view over at GE Money's site.   The videos discuss real world strategies on how to introduce financing to your customers. I am a big fan of utilizing in-house customer "preferred" cards to finance purchases.  Inpart because its a proven fact that store-card customers spend more money, complain less frequently (mostly due to elimination of buyers remorse) and are much more loyal to your business then bank card or cash customers.  Check out the videos and let me know what you think. The videos are only about 4 minutes each.  You can find the videos here. Be sure to down load the talking points also found on the very same page. … [Read more...]

Switching over to WordPress

Just a quick post to let you know that I am in the process of switching my site over to WordPress from iWeb.  WordPress will give me a lot more flexibility to incorporate some new content.  In the mean time, you can still access my old site here. I hope to have this new site up to snuff in the coming days. Thanks! Pat … [Read more...]

Tips to Build a Rocking Estimate

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“Nothing happens until something is sold”.  The age old advice that I am sure all of you have heard a few times more then you would have liked.  The truth is however, that this advice is “spot on” as my Irish cousins would say. If you have to sell something to make money, then its probably pretty important that your people selling your products and services: 1) Know how to “build” an estimate 2) Can have an informative conversation with your customers about your services. 3) Can Sell. Now that we have that out of the way lets talk a little about your selling tools.  I call them critical tools to success: 1) An inspection form. 2) An estimate from. 3) Standards in which you base your recommendations on. Inspection Form: Inspection forms come in all shapes and sizes and colors.  A good inspection form allows you to document vehicle system failures as well as indicate areas that should be addressed to prolong the life of the vehicle.  I prefer … [Read more...]

Tracking Tools

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A few weeks ago, I posted an article about the importance of keeping Score.  Some of you have contacted me and asked me for some tools to track daily sales and KPI’s as well as employee productivity. I am currently working on a fairly comprehensive tracking tool that will incorporate break even, payroll productivity as well as a profit building application that I hope to complete in the next month, but until then, feel free to use the following tools Store Daily Tracker Service Manager Tracking Sheet Retail Sales Tracking Sheet Tire/Asst Manager Tracking Sheet Good Selling! … [Read more...]