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...]

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...]

A Day in the Life of Retail Tire & Service

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  It all starts with a Plan - Here is Mine - What's yours? ;-)     … [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...]

Alignment Strategy – What’s a Good Job?

Can you hear me?

A good way to gauge whether or not you are maximize your Alignment Opportunities is to base you Alignments sold verses PAT. PAT = Potential Alignment Ticket Potential Alignment Tickets are work orders (invoices) that you have sold two or more retail tires on. I would focus on a goal of 70% Alignments Sold to Work Orders that you have sold two or more tires. Track it Daily for best results! If you need a tracking sheet, check these out. Good Selling, Pat … [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...]

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...]

How to Grow New Customer Count by 40% in 90 Days

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In Automotive Retail; statically speaking, the average new customer costs a dealer somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 to acquire.  These customer acquisition cost are mostly related to advertising expenses and promotional “lost liter” services. So you spend $300 to get yourself a new customer.  A customer, that if you do a good job will be a customer for life; spending on average between $300 – $1000 per year. Sounds good right?  Now for the bad news – As an industry, our customer retention rate for first time customers is only 30%!  That means that for every ten new customers that come into your shop with that $15.99 oil change coupon, only three will return. Not too good, right? Sounds like we are not doing a good job MOST of the time with our new customers (as an industry). Why don’t they return? There are lots of reason, but the reality is we didn’t do anything to WOW our new guests.  We didn’t do anything to differentiate ourselves from the … [Read more...]