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...]

Finally! A Rewards Program for Tire & Service Dealers

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The Only Marketing Program You May Need   Over the past few years, I have worked on a platform to provide a custom marketing solution for Independent Tire and Service Dealers. Today, I am really excited to announce the availability of the Retail Tire Solutions Loyalty Rewards Plus Marketing Program.   This Marketing Platform will change the way you market to your customers forever!  It very well may be the only marketing program you need going forward! Why it took so long? One of the most difficult problems associated with offering marketing programs to Independents, is the reality that there are so many different POS systems being utilized by Tire Dealers and almost as many single store operators. Marketing programs that have the ability to Reward current customers,  Win Back lost customers, Acquire new customers, Improve Gross Sales and provide you with some pretty cool Tools that measure return on investment (across many platforms) can be fairly expensive to the average … [Read more...]

Are you kidding me?

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Are you kidding me?  That was my response to Steve, a good friend of mine, when he told me that some of his Independent Tire & Service clients sell oil club programs in hopes that the customer DOES NOT redeem them. Yes - You heard that right! I told Steve that strategy made no sense.   Especially when you take into consideration that it takes approximately $350 to gain a new customer.   The main reason to sell club programs is to encourage loyalty and repeat business. To make sure we are all on the same page, an oil club program is a program that sells multiple oil changes at a significant discount,  trading future gross for loyalty and repeat business.  I also like idea of selling alignment policies and "super coupon" programs. You should probably know by now ... I am a Big fan of just about anything that encourages customer growth! Key Point - it's not how MUCH its How MANY - How much a customer spends every time they service their vehicle with you is less … [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...]

When it’s Time to Hang it Up

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What does Mick Jagger, Rickey Henderson, Jerry Rice, Brett Favre and Chris Chelios have in common?  Give up? - YES!  All were (are) legends in their respective professions and - YES - neither appeared to have a well thought out  exit strategy.   One could even argue, all stayed in the "game" a bit too long. What is a Exit Strategy? Wikipedia has a pretty good definition:  "An exit strategy is a means of leaving one's current situation, either after a predetermined objective has been achieved, or as a strategy to mitigate failure.[1][2][3] An organisation or individual without an exit strategy may be in a quagmire. At worst, an exit strategy will save face; at best, an exit strategy will peg a withdrawal to the achievement of an objective worth more than the cost of continued involvement." Why you should have an Exit Strategy? As much as you would not like to admit it, you can't keep doing what you are doing forever.  No one in the history of man has been able to pull that off … [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...]

Why its a good Idea to Offer an Inspection to Every Customer

I live in Arizona where there is no requirement to have an annual  safety inspection performed on passenger and light truck vehicles.  According to Info.com only 26 States now require regular inspections of automobiles "to rid the highways of dangerous vehicles with bald tires, wobbly suspensions, smoke-filled exhausts, and defective brakes and lights."  You can find that list of States here. If I owned a Tire and Service business in a State that doesn't require regular safety inspections, I'm not sure that I would need another reason to recommend a full mechanical inspection on every one of my customers vehicles at least once a year.  I would charge for that inspection as well. If you do need another reason to offer (sell) inspections to every customer, here is another one!  It has to do with identifying customers that are interested in having a safety inspection performed on their vehicle.  Believe it or not, there are lots of customers that are interested in having a safety … [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...]

Using Groupon to Sell More Tires and Service

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FN-ENgWO8I&feature=player_embedded Who uses Groupon? Groupon's main demographics are hip/active young people with money to spend.  The typical Groupon user is a college educated single female, a tough segment to market to with traditional media.  They also are avid users of Social Media - Blogging, Facebooking and Twittering about their purchasing experiences. Check out these Groupon Auto Tire and Service Examples: Big O Tires Oro Valley AZ Sold 305 Auto Tech of Las Vegas Sold 379 Oil Can Henry's Sold over 1,621 Tires and Brakes for Less Sold Out! How Much does Groupon Cost? Groupon cost nothing unless your Groupon is sold.  Once your Groupon meets the requirements you established up front, Groupon takes a percentage of the Groupon coupons that they sell for you.  That's it! Why Groupon? Why not?  Statically speaking, it cost the average Independent Tire Dealer $350 to obtain one new Customer.  Groupon cost you a fraction of the … [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...]