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For the dealer, by the dealer

When Manny Geno took over the family tire business in 2006, he wanted to transform it from a grease monkey, good ol’ boy shop to a destination for customers who need tire and automotive work in the small town of Booneville, Miss.

Geno, 38, says he’s worked hard to make Geno’s Tire Pros the success he envisioned, but he’s also had some help. He joined Tire Pros in 2008, and since then business at his six-bay shop has more than doubled.

“I don’t attribute that all to Tire Pros. I’ve worked my butt off,” Geno says. But the group helped him along the way, and gave him the tools he needed to transform the business. “Tire Pros helped me get there quicker and easier than if I did it on my own.”

For Geno, the biggest help came in the form of marketing and advertising support.

“I think I’m probably similar to most small businesses. You get the Yellow Book, the billboard people, the radio people calling all the time. You try not to be rude to them, but you get overwhelmed,” Geno says. “Tire Pros had lots of benefits, but that’s probably what tipped it.”

He had never tried to plan and budget a year’s worth of advertising at once, but now he does with the help of the Tire Pros marketing staff. His marketing representative has worked with other tire dealers in similar rural markets, and shares what has worked for small town dealers elsewhere. On top of that, the nitty-gritty details of advertising are done for him. He sets his annual advertising budget and decides how much will be spent on billboards or direct mail.

His total budget is separated into monthly bills that Geno pays directly to Tire Pros. He reviews proofs of any advertisement, but otherwise doesn’t have to handle anything else. “What I would consider to be a headache is gone.”

Groups around the country cater to independent tire dealers and offer everything from the marketing and advertising support Geno appreciates to customized websites and credit cards, road hazard warranties, special pricing and rebates. Even staff training is offered by some.

Here’s a roundup of dealer-led groups that provided information to Modern Tire Dealer.

Program: ATDServiceBAY

Offered by: American Tire Distributors Inc.

Website: www.atdservicebay.com

Who’s eligible? Independent tire dealers and repair shops with minimum annual purchases of $25,000.

Number of participants: More than 26,000

What are you offering new in 2015 to help dealers? We are introducing new advertising opportunities, from plastic postcards in the mail to social media and web graphics that can be used on bay banners, yard signs and window clings.

Tire brands offered: ATDServiceBAY dealers can leverage the many tire brands that ATD offers. ATD’s inventory crosses all tiers of the category from flag brand tier one through price competitive import brands.

The most popular service you offer: The Tire Protection Plan, which is designed to give a consumer’s tires nationwide coverage against road hazard damage. Enrolled dealers sell the plan to consumers, keep the proceeds and are responsible only for a consumer’s claims within a 25-mile radius. Consumers who are traveling outside that radius and have a claim call a toll-free telephone number and are directed to one of 30,000 locations that will honor the warranty. This is a very popular program with our dealers because it allows them an additional income stream while providing their customers with the peace of mind they want.

Program: Big O Tires & Service Centers

Offered by: TBC Corp.

Website: www.bigotires.com

Who’s eligible? The minimum requirement is $100,000 in liquid assets and net worth of $300,000. The initial franchise fee of $30,000 is waived for military veterans.

Number of participants: 400

What are you offering new in 2015 to help dealers? Big O Tires is currently driving to achieve significant expansion, which means opportunities for existing franchisees, new franchisees and successful existing independent auto/tire business owners. Incentives for new franchisees include discounts on royalty fees for the first two years, including a reduction of more than 50% in the first year, plus an advertising match of up to $25,000 during the first nine months of operation. Incentives for independent business owners converting their existing shops include the benefits offered to new franchisees, plus a waiver of the initial $30,000 franchise fee; access to a $75,000, 36-month loan for tire inventory; and up to a $25,000 match to convert signage or remodel an existing building.

Tire brands offered: In addition to our exclusive premium Big O branded product including the Big Foot A/T, and house brands Aspen and Mesa A/P, we offer Michelin, BFGoodrich, Cooper, Goodyear, Dunlop, Yokohama, Sumitomo, Nitto, Continental, General, Hankook and Pirelli.

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Program: Independent Tire Dealers

Offered by: Community Wholesale Tire Distributing

Website: www.ITDroll.com

Who’s eligible? Independent tire dealers who partner with Community Wholesale Tire and promote the ITD brand with high quality customer service and professional looking facilities.

Number of participants: 130

What are you offering new in 2015 to help dealers? Our improved dealer website helps our dealers increase their sales and market awareness. Also, ITD University training sessions focus on sales and marketing, as well as improving shop efficiency.

Tire brands offered: Our key brands include Bridgestone, Firestone, Goodyear, Dunlop, Kelly, Toyo, Continental, General, Pirelli, Kumho, Hercules and Mickey Thompson.

The most popular service you offer: Our ITD University classes are well attended and have provided our dealers with a lot of specific ideas and practices to improve their businesses.

Program: Independent Tire Dealers Group LLC (ITDG)

Offered by: Independent Tire Dealers Group

Website: www.itdgusa.com

Who’s eligible? Independent tire dealers across the U.S. who buy a minimum of $200,000 from authorized ITDG vendors and suppliers.

Number of participants: 140 members with more than 550 locations in 41 states.

What are you offering new in 2015 to help dealers? Our program has been quite stable for many years. Without offering specific details, some of our vendor and supply programs have been enhanced from prior years. The ITDG program continues to offer improved margins immediately and culminate with a year-end volume bonus and dividend for stockholders.

Tire brands offered: Cooper, Hankook, Laufenn, Continental, General, GT Radial, Sampson, Advance, Nexen, Pirelli, Kumho, Sumitomo, Yokohama, Landsail, Diamondback and various brands through TCi Tire Centers, Carroll Tire and NTW.

The most popular service you offer: Access to our negotiated supplier/vendor programs with ongoing access to reference material via the ITDG website.

Program: Mickey Thompson Marketing Alliance

Offered by: Mickey Thompson Performance Tires and Wheels

Website: www.mickeythompsontires.com/mtma

Who’s eligible? Any brick and mortar retailer. The program is open to dealers in the U.S. and Canada, and is designed for private owners, not corporations. We have single store owners and a chain with 26 stores in the program.

Number of participants: More than 600

What are you offering new in 2015 to help dealers? We are looking at offering new display options and a possible co-op program to help dealers advertise our brands.

Tire brands offered: Mickey Thompson and Dick Cepek

The most popular service you offer: The marketing alliance program.

Program: Mr. Tire/Big 3 Tire

Offered by: K&M Tire Inc.

Website: www.mrtireoutlet.com and www.big3tire.com

Who’s eligible? Nearly any consumer retail, commercial or farm tire dealer that can purchase 400 tires of any brand from K&M Tire that meets our exterior appearance criteria and falls within our delivery service area.

Number of participants: 742. (588 Mr. Tire locations and 154 Big 3 locations) In some states the Mr. Tire name is trademarked by another entity, so only Big 3 is available in those states. Elsewhere, both names are available.

What are you offering new in 2015 to help dealers? More exclusive consumer rebates on passenger and light truck tires, including some commercial and farm tire brands for the first time ever. We are expanding our Automotive Parts Rebate Programs to include two new members, and expanding our preferred vendor program participants to include a leading producer of motor oil and lubricants. We’re offering online access to custom wheel applications and purchasing and increasing quarterly earn-back potential for member dealers on select Yokohama products. Finally, all members are eligible to participate in the Bridgestone/Firestone national consumer rebate campaigns.

Tire brands offered: For passenger and light truck tires: Bridgestone, BFGoodrich, Continental, Cooper, Dunlop, Fierce, Firestone, Fuzion. Commercial truck tires: Bridgestone, Continental, Double Coin, Firestone, Dunlop, General, Goodyear, Hankook, Kumho, Michelin, O’Green, Roadmaster and Supercargo. Farm and utility tires and tubes: BKT, Carlisle, Cultor, Firestone, Goodyear, Hi-Run, Mitas, Titan, Trelleborg and Co-op Tubes.

The most popular service you offer: Exclusive consumer and automotive parts rebates.

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Program: myTireShop

Offered by: Jack Williams Tire Co. Inc.

Website: www.mytireshop.com/dealerinfo

Who’s eligible? Engaged programming dealers with Jack Williams Tire Co.

Number of participants: 65

What are you offering new in 2015 to help dealers? Our website, www.mytireshop.com, is an online shopping site that directs retail tire shoppers to local independent tire dealers. We also offer extended financing, a no interest credit card and enhanced tire sales training.

Tire brands offered: Continental, General, Mastercraft, Yokohama, Michelin, BFGoodrich, Uniroyal, Kumho, Nexen, GT Radial, Hemisphere and Goodyear.

The most popular service you offer: Nationwide warranty tire road hazard and service program with roadside assistance.

Program: RNR Tire Express and Custom Wheels

Offered by: SPF Management LLC

Website: www.rnrwheels.com or www.rnrtires.com

Who’s eligible? Qualified candidates that desire to own and operate their own franchise

Number of participants: 13 franchisees with 72 locations in 20 states

What are you offering new in 2015 to help dealers? A brand new website with the ability for them to localize and SEO to their location. New social media roll out of PPC, SEO, etc. New logo design. New in-store POS.

Tire brands offered: All major brands of wheels and tires are available at RNR locations.

The most popular service you offer: Award-winning radio, television and print promotions.

 

Program: Tire Factory

Offered by: Tire Factory Inc.

Website: www.tirefactory.com and

www.jointirefactory.com

Who’s eligible? Independent tire and service dealers who meet membership criteria

Number of participants: 149 members/owners, consisting of more than 200 locations, plus 15 affiliate locations, which are not branded members of the co-op.

What are you offering new in 2015 to help dealers? Technology solutions to drive member growth and profitability, which include a branded and integrated point-of-sale (POS) system; MechanicNet, a digital marketing system that includes customer contacts via email, postcards and texts of vehicle status updates, plus customer reviews, reminders of auto service previously denied and a complete car repair history online; a website, www.tirefactory.com, with more than 500,000 indexed web pages for individual members; Epicor, a rapid and accurate mechanical quoting system that drives up margins based on industry actuals and processes quotes in minutes with automatic parts ordering and costing data; a new member onboard training program which focuses on sales and customers, as well as technology and products; and a Web-based training platform, Tire Factory University, which gives dealers and their employees access to retail – and retention-friendly topics. A staff can sharpen its skills without leaving the sales floor.

Tire brands offered: Goodyear, Cooper, Dunlop, Kelly, Yokohama, Hankook, Falken, Nokian, plus exclusive brands Summit, Runway, Trazano, Blacklion and AgPro.

The most popular service you offer: There are three: Direct tire costs in small quantities from member-owned regional distribution centers; the Tire Factory website, which is found at www.tirefactory.com, as a driver to member stores; and promotions and discounts from key manufacturers, that are accompanied by POS sales kits. Plus, there’s been a large trend of dealers adopting the branded POS system. 

Program: Tire One/Tread Pros

Offered by: U.S. Autoforce

The program offers three levels of commitment. For more information contact Chad Moon, TireOne program director, at cmoon@usautoforce.com.

Program: Tire Pros

Offered by: American Tire Distributors Inc.

Website: www.tirepros.com

Who’s eligible? Independent tire dealers

Number of participants: 650 stores as of March 10, 2015

What are you offering new in 2015 to help dealers? Increased national and regional marketing exposure; a robust training program targeting both owner profitability and improved store operational efficiencies; four exclusive marketing campaigns focused on ‘buy local’ through the independent Tire Pros dealer; and, a boosted credit card program, now with the lowest fees ever and featuring frequent enhancements to manufacturer consumer rebate programs.

Tire brands offered: Most tier one and tier two major brands, plus numerous tier three and tier four products.

The most popular service you offer: Our full-service marketing department works with Tire Pros dealers to create individual marketing plans, then manages all aspects of their advertising from creating a professional annual plan, selecting the right media, negotiating the pricing, paying the invoices and managing the dealers co-op to ensure the maximum benefit for the dollars available.

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Program: Tire Solutions

Offered by: Tire Solutions Inc.

Website: www.mytiresolutions.com

Who’s eligible? Independent tire and auto centers that meet program requirements

Number of participants: 165

What are you offering new in 2015 to help dealers? We offer independent tire and auto centers an innovative marketing program that includes retail pull through and dealer rewards.

Tire brands offered: Hankook, Toyo, Vanderbilt, Sumitomo, Harvest King, Towmax, Goodyear, Sailun

The most popular service you offer: Helping dealers increase car counts with personalized marketing and training.

Program: Treadmaxx

Offered by: Kauffman Tire Inc.              

Website: www.kauffmantire.net

Who’s eligible? Tire retailers

Number of participants: More than 2,000

What are you offering new in 2015 to help dealers? Value-added vendor programs, POS and credit card systems, parts purchase programs, retail showroom design, database marketing, website development, national account purchasing program for oil and programs geared toward managing labor costs.

Tire brands offered: Goodyear, Dunlop, Kelly, Too, Cooper, Mastercraft, Pirelli, Continental, General, Kumho, Starfire and Carlisle.

The most popular service you offer: Delivery of tires

Program: Xpress Tire & Auto Service

Offered by: Conrad’s Tire Service Inc.

Website: dealer.xpress-tire.com

Who’s eligible? Automotive tire and service installers who meet certain purchase volume criteria

Number of participants: More than 125

What are you offering new in 2015 to help dealers? Many of our dealers are predominantly repair service oriented. What we do is get them engaged in the tire business. On an ongoing basis we give them a strong internet position, active advertising via direct mail, cable and radio. We take a retailer approach to wholesaling. A major objective this year is to help train our dealers on how to sell tires.

Tire brands offered: Cooper, Goodyear, Dunlop, Kelly, Michelin, BFGoodrich, Uniroyal, Starfire, Doral and assorted private labels.

The most popular service you offer: The public website, at www.xpress-tire.com. Each dealer has its own landing page and the ability, if it chooses, to quote tire availability and pricing.   ■

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