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...]

“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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]