Tire Taxi Brings Services Directly to Customers

Feb. 21, 2023

The idea for Tire Taxi, a company that offers mobile tire installation and other services, was created in Akron, Ohio, in 2020. The idea for the firm started with a conversation that took place in a bar.   

Dennis Murray, marketing manager for Tire Taxi, was getting a drink with his longtime friend and the man behind the idea. (Editor's note: Tire Taxi’s owner requested that MTD not publish his name.) 

The employee had just taken his work van to an auto service center and was complaining about how long it was taking his van to get serviced and how that time resulted in lost money.

“I looked at my buddy and said, ‘We could do something about this. There has to be a solution.’”   

It took less than a year, according to Murray, from that conversation until Tire Taxi bought its first mobile service van.  

“After we got our first van, we showed up on the same Amazon employees' lot  and found he owned 50 Amazon delivery vans through Amazon’s Delivery Service Partners (DSP) program," says Murray.  

DSPs are sub-contractors for Amazon who handle maintenance for Amazon vans. 

“We brought our van to his lot and showed him how easy it could be to get his vehicles serviced right at his location. He loved it.” 

Right now, Tire Taxi employs six people – including a franchisee of Tire Taxi – and operates five vans.  

Murray says he and his silent partner noticed a lack of local infrastructure for providing cargo van tires and services. 

“If you look at the tire industry, the largest chunk of tire businesses are commercial truck tires and passenger and light truck tires,” says Murray.  

“So on one side of the fence you have your commercial fleets that support these truck (tire) shops and then (fleets use) retreading to keep (their) prices down. On the consumer side, you have brick-and-mortar companies that set up shops on busy roads to get consumer vehicles.  

“In the last five to 10 years, there has been this emergent section in cargo vans that neither one of those infrastructures supports very well.”   

According to Murray, cargo vans have the same kind of tires that retailers work on, but the services they need are more commercially-oriented. 

Commercial tire dealers also may not be fully equipped to work on small tires, he notes. 

The Tire Taxi business model 

Murray’s first mobile service van offered only oil changes and then gradually moved on to selling tires and performing related services, such as tire rotations and repairs.  

Tire Taxi also provides oil changes and battery service. 

“We have a new tire changer balancer and we’ve got a full oil tank in the van that uses W2 oil because that’s what almost all of these cargo vans use and there is a waste oil tank under the van,” explains Murray.  

Even though most of its business comes from commercial and DSP contractors, Tire Taxi offers residential services and will drive straight to a customer's home or worksite to work on their vehicles.  

“Retailers are always trying to solve the waiting problem,” says Murray.  

“They will put free coffee or snacks or a big comfortable couch with a TV in their waiting area. With Tire Taxi, we let our customers pick their waiting area.”  

Customers can go to Tire Taxi’s website and book services or call and book a service. 

Murray says that most of his employees' work happens from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. and again from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.  

The earlier slot is designed to help customers before many go to their jobs for the day, he explains.  

The latter slot enables Tire Taxi to serve clients when they are working. 

Usually, Tire Taxi’s HVAC, electrical and plumbing customers have about 50 vans that are serviced according to a schedule. 

Tire Taxi also offers franchise opportunities and has a “beta franchise” starting in Columbus, Ohio, now.  

“Our strategy right now is to be operating with 50% company vans and 50% franchisee vans,” he says.  

The value 

“Part of the value of our company is that we break that cost value trade-off – meaning we can give customers great service at a reasonable cost, and one doesn’t have to suffer to promote the other,” says Murray. 

“We are on-site … and our cost structure is significantly lower because we didn’t have to pay for a super-expensive warehouse.”  

He says customers choosing to work with Tire Taxi are not losing as much money as they would at traditional service centers while their vans sit for hours.  

The company hopes to add 10 vans to its fleet by the end of 2023. 

About the Author

Madison Gehring | Associate Editor

Madison Gehring is Modern Tire Dealer's associate editor. A graduate of Ohio State University, Gehring holds a bachelors degree in journalism. During her time at Ohio State, she wrote for the university's student-run newspaper, The Lantern, and interned at CityScene Media Group in Columbus, Ohio.