Dealers say recruitment and regulations are top challenges in 2015
What issues will preoccupy tire dealers in the next 12 months? Employee recruitment, government regulation, margin pressures and casing supply, according to dealers we contacted. Although the year is new, the top issues affecting dealers’ operations are not. Many dealers cited these same challenges in 2014.
- Recruiting talent
“How can our industry recruit young people? It seems as though young people aren’t as enthused about cars as they once were and it appears that high schools are ushering all students toward college and away from hands-on type of work. I think many kids today would prefer making much less money at a shopping mall than making more money working as an auto technician or sales person in our industry. I think society has given our industry a bad/dirty brand image. We hold people’s lives in our hands with every car/truck we work on, even more so than a pharmacist or EMT would, yet those industries are recognized as important and our industry is recognized as dirty. Let’s change that image in 2015! It starts with our industry all being on the same page and focused on a clear, common goal.” — Joe Flynn, president, Flynn’s Tire Group doing business as Flynn’s Tire & Auto Service, Middlesex, Pa.
“Lack of qualified applicants. Pressure from insurance companies on covered drivers is keeping us from hiring some applicants.” — Nick Phillippi, general manager, Nebraskaland Tire Co. Inc., doing business as Nebraskaland Tire, Kansasland Tire and Coloradoland Tire, Lexington, Neb.
- Government regulations
“The state of California and workers’ compensation insurance are the biggest threats to our business today.” — Chris Mitsos, vice president, Mountain View Tire & Service Inc., Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
“The biggest challenge has been health insurance and workers’ compensation in New York state. They both continue to take a larger percentage of our operating budget.” — Robert Kellogg, president, Warren Tire Service Center Inc., Queensbury, N.Y.
“Our biggest challenges continue to be government influence on the mine industry as well as health care coverage and rising costs. Our current government administration is forcing small business to a point of smaller margins and reduction of workforce in order to maintain a viable company that is directly impacted by the mine sector.” — Noah Hickman, president and owner, H & H Industries Inc., Oak Hill, Ohio
- Margin pressures
“Internet pricing is killing our margins. The margins are getting so razor thin these days it is really affecting profitability on tires.” — Ricky Benton II, vice president, BTS Tire & Wheel Distributors/Black’s Tire & Auto Service, Whiteville, N.C.
“Tier One product being sold by large dealers to wholesalers and then wholesalers giving the product away by adding a $5 bill to it.” — Tom Bowman, vice president, commercial division, Belle Tire Distributors Inc., Allen Park, Mich.
“We continue to shift our approach in order to grow revenue. A significant portion of our retread market has been derived from over-the-road coal haulers and non-highway-service medium trucks. With the national reduction in coal tonnage, we’re reallocating our marketing efforts to other market segments. In 2015, we’ll focus more on local markets. Our construction and OTR retreading business has increased this year over last year because we have applied more concentration from coal areas to construction. In the truck market, we will be focusing on smaller local fleets that don’t have their own repair shops. This segment of our business has been growing every year.” — Lewis Wexler Sr., chairman and CEO, Free Service Tire Co. Inc., Johnson City, Tenn.
- Casing supply
“New tire shortages are creating obstacles for growth, casing supply has gotten better but pricing remains higher than previous years. Pricing for Chinese medium truck tires continues to trend downward placing pressure on Tier One and Tire Two as far as value.” — Scott Bennett, vice president, sales, Service Tire Truck Center Inc., Bethlehem, Pa. ■
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