On the Rise: Ryan Jennings
Store Manager | Mark's Tire Service | Age: 21
What was your first job in the industry?
I started as a tire tech in my family's single location shop when I was 13.
What attracted you to the industry?
I have been around the tire industry my entire life, but as I grew older, I saw the amount of opportunity there is for someone willing to go straight into the workforce out of high school.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
The biggest challenge I have faced is having the patience to get through the slow season. The first time we had a slow week, I nearly pulled my hair out looking for things to do. After a few days, things started to pick back up. The next time we had a slow week, I had a list of potential accounts for me and our salesman to call and visit.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
My dad, Mark, is the one who brought me into this business and every day I'm glad he did. When I was young, I saw so many people respect him for being the straight forward, honest businessman that he is. He has taught me so much about helping people and being a good person.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
My biggest accomplishment has to be increasing sales by 40% in one year. I'm also proud of the reputation we have received as being an honest, hardworking shop.
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your work day?
My responsibilities include opening and closing the shop, ordering tires, tubes and any supplies we will need, dispatching service calls, booking appointments in the shop, creating and billing invoices, and putting on tires in the shop and in the field when things get backed up.
What’s one thing you wish someone would have told you before you took your current job?
I wish someone would’ve told me how little it matters to be the cheapest shop in town. I am always fair to my customers in how I price products but at the same time, price isn’t everything. Most of the customers that come through our shop just want someone they can trust and depend on, and every day I strive to be that person.
Tell us about your family.
My father has been in the tire industry for 30-plus years. In late 2011 he started his own company. Soon after, my mother left her job to help my father with bookkeeping. My parents worked very hard to be where they are today. I hope to continue that legacy and take our company to the next level.
What did you learn about yourself in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic?
We opened our second location (the store I operate) in late January 2020, pre-pandemic. Our first couple months had very steady growth, but when April came so did a lack of sales. I learned during this pandemic that when things get tough, don’t look where you are, look where you want to be. Take things one step at a time with a clear goal in mind and sure enough, by the end of the year we exceeded all expectations.
How do you recover from a bad or stressful day?
When I have a particularly stressful day, I like to go home and just sit with my family and laugh about all the chaos we each experienced that day.
What’s your favorite, can’t-miss podcast?
My favorite podcast would have to be Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership. There was one episode about sales that completely changed my view on outside sales. It went into detail on how we are all supplying the same product, but it is the customer service we are selling.
What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today?
The biggest issue we are facing not only in the tire industry but every industry that relies on physical labor, is a lack of workforce. Kids are forced to decide between going to college and going into the trades without being shown the benefits of going to work and learning a skill.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
Twenty years from now I hope to have continued growing our family business throughout California. This may sound like it’s from a Disney movie, but I believe if you have a goal in mind, you can achieve it with hard work and passion. I have a passion for this business, and I would love to see it grow into something spectacular.