Value of Program Groups is in 'Eye of the Beholder'

April 5, 2021

Program and dealer groups have been around for decades. But due to continued consolidation, changing consumer preferences and other factors, it could be argued that the need for these organizations is greater than ever. 

Available soon, the April issue of MTD will provide a detailed look at the wide range of program and dealer groups that are available to U.S.-based independent tire dealers.

We’ll examine national groups, regional groups that are offered by other independent tire dealerships, groups that are administered by tire manufacturers and even franchise groups and programs that are available to dealers in the U.S. (Our list - a first for MTD - will examine nearly 50 groups.)

From monthly fees, offered tire brands and exclusive territories to support items like credit card programs, signage, training and more, you’ll also discover what these organizations offer to their members.

Now, are program groups right for everyone? Not necessarily. 

“The importance of a program group of dealers - or the idea of joining one of these groups - is all in the eye of the beholder,” says Dave Miller, director of marketing for K&M Tire Inc., which offers the Mr. Tire/Big 3 Tire program to its customers.

“Dealers can be successful going it alone or dealers can be successful networking with a group of other like-minded business owners. 

“If dealers value networking, sharing best practices and utilizing program and group perks through the strength in numbers of a dealer network, they will certainly find value and success by joining those groups,” says Miller.

“It’s critical that dealers have a partner that adds some level of stability and consistency,” says Dave Marks, president and CEO of the Independent Tire Dealers Group LLC (ITDG).

In a previous role, Marks worked for a company that belonged to ITDG and has seen the value of program group membership from both sides of the table.

“Think about supply problems,” he explains. “Someone gets bought or sold and dealers say, ‘Uh-oh, what will happen to my program? Can I buy this product anymore?’ By having a partner out there fighting for them, it adds stability to their day-to-day business.

“If (dealers) spent all of their time adapting to new vendors or programs that might have changed, they would be outside of their business instead of inside, making sure it’s running properly and focusing on their customers and systems.”

The April MTD also will feature comments from other program group advocates.

If you already belong to such a group, the information may validate what you have experienced. If you don’t belong to a group, the information could provide food for thought. And if you’re the type of person who is perfectly happy going it alone and plans to continue doing so, I would guess that the information will still be of value. 

We hope you enjoy this look at program and dealer groups!