Stay-at-home orders and social distancing rules have led to more utilization of mobile tire installation services in recent months.
"I’ve never seen this much excitement” around mobile tire installation, says Joe Flores, co-owner of GoMobile Tires, a Portland, Ore.-based mobile tire installation company with franchise operations throughout the United States. “I can’t even put a percentage on it without sounding over-the-top.
“So much attention was brought to online sellers” after the enactment of stay-at-home edicts. “You’re cooped up at home, you have money still coming in and you’re going to shop online.”
Those online buyers need professionals to install their tires, he notes. “It’s all about convenience. And it’s another layer of service a tire dealership can buy into.”
Flores reports that GoMobile franchisees are expanding their fleets due to the extra demand they are experiencing. “We have a guy in Las Vegas who has stepped up to two vans. We have a guy in St. Louis who’s ready to order another one. Our franchise in Pittsburgh is ready to order another. By the end of summer, we may very well be in up to 20 different cities.”
At the same time, ensuring technician and customer safety will remain a high priority at GoMobile, according to Flores. “Our techs maintain social distancing, with six feet of separation, and wear their masks, whenever possible. Techs avoid entering customers’ cars, whenever possible. They ask customers to place wheel lock keys on windshields.”
When installation is complete, GoMobile technicians do not require physical customer signatures and instead send out invoices electronically, taking payments online or over the phone.
Jeremy James, who operates a mobile tire installation service, Tires to Your Spot, in the Leesport, Pa., area, says the no-contact aspect of his business “is very attractive to most people in times like this. There is little-to-no outside influence from a safety concern – no other people in close contact and no other clients getting their vehicles worked on. I don’t need to get in a vehicle to move it to a lift, like some brick-and-mortar shops do.”
James is convinced that the pandemic “will change the market for mobile tire installers in a positive way."
"Prior to COVID-19, we were growing quite well on the backs of saving people time and making unwanted chores more palatable,” says Jack Benzacar, president of Tire Butler, a mobile tire installation service based in the Toronto, Ontario, area.
“People who value time will pay a premium" for special services, he notes. "At the same time, everyone values health. Protecting one’s health has become another driver in our growth. No one is afraid of staying in their own home.”
Tire Butler, which operates a dozen service vans, has offered mobile installation for nearly 10 years. “We were contact-less before it ever became a buzzword,” according to Benzacar.
“Nothing will be the same” after COVID-19, he says. "Just like restaurants have had to adapt to outsourcing delivery, so will the tire business.”