New and used retail tire stores are popular small businesses because of the frequent service and replacement needs for consumer vehicle tires and tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS). As the number vehicles on America’s roads increases each year, opportunities to serve this customer base grow as well. Automotive repair shops may also consider expanding their business by adding tire installation and repair as a service to their customers.
Business plan: it is generally a good idea to work with a business consultant or accountant to create a business plan and review the initial investment, projections of revenue from sales, and expenses, to make sure the business will be profitable. Some questions to think about are: 1) What kind of training should I have?; 2) what distinguishes my business from competitors in the area?; 3) how will I advertise my services?; 4) is my business in a good location?; 5)what equipment and supplies do I need to start?; 6) where can I get equipment and supplies from?
Training: in addition to any required local, state, and federal registrations and licenses, a highly regarded tire industry educational resource is the Tire Industry Association (TIA). The TIA offers a variety of certifications for commercial and passenger vehicle tire selection, inspection, mounting, and repairs (website reference).
- How to Stand Apart from Competitors: A growing business opportunity in tire installation and maintenance is servicing and installing Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS). TPMS equipment is present on all late model vehicles after (Year?) so developing a comfort level with how to program, maintain, and replace sensors provides an opportunity to expand the offerings of your business. Training on TPMS can be provided through TIA courses, industry suppliers, such as: Schrader Bridgeport and Dills;. All Tire supply has previously published an article on TPMS (Here). Offering tire service may provide new business opportunities in some markets. Additional ways to stand out against competitors is to provide great customer service and perform high quality work in your shop. Understanding how to properly and safely perform a tire repair according to industry standards is a key aspect of this.
- Advertising: Perhaps the best and cheapest way to advertise is through “word of mouth”. A satisfied customer is one of the strongest ways to gain new business through referrals of friends and family. Print media advertising seems to be losing ground to web-based advertising. Nearly everyone usually does a web-search of an unfamiliar business, so consider maintaining a website with helpful information about your business. It is also important to manage your online reputation, since negative reviews by unsatisfied customers can discourage new customer from trying your service.
- Location: Positioning your business in a high vehicular traffic area with increase the visibility of your business and improve the likelihood of new, drop in customer traffic. A commercial real estate broker in your area can help identify possible locations.
- Equipment and Tools: The equipment needed to mount and demount tires safety and efficiently is a tire machine. This typically includes a fitting to inflate a newly mounted tire. As part of a good quality service operation, a tire balancing machine also required equipment. For most small to medium volume stores, one tire machine and one tire balancer should be sufficient. Next, vehicle lifting equipment is considered. A two post lift, can handle most passenger vehicles and is recommended for tire service as well as other automotive service needs. A less efficient approach for high volume work is the use of floor jacks. It is important to get trained on the safe usage of vehicle lift devices, and make sure lifts are inspected on a regular basis. A two stage air compressor is also needed. Various tools are needed for a tire store: impact wrenches, buffers/drills, tire stands, TPMS activation tool. One should expect to spend close to $20,000 (in 2016 dollars) to outfit a 1-bay tire repair garage.
Supplies: Various consumable items are needed- chemicals, lubricants, solvents, TPMS sensors, valves, wheel weights, patches, and so on. All of these products can be sourced from a single supplier, such as All Tire Supply.
- Suppliers: One should use a supplier with a long track record of reliable service to the industry and sells a range of quality products. The model that has gained a high degree of acceptance is to be on a mobile warehouse delivery route which brings tools and supplies to your site of business on a regular basis and can also meet your equipment needs. At All Tire Supply, we provide a complete range of tire maintenance supplies, tools, and equipment via our Houston Texas storefront, website, or through our mobile warehouses which serve south Texas. If our mobile warehouses do not serve your geography, and you are interested in opening a franchise in your area, visit here.
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