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Free tire rotations


mmotley

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I would like to hear how others are selling tire rotation services when places such as 'Discount Tire' and others offer free tire rotations when you buy tires from them? I try to sell a tire rotation every 5,000 miles with their oil change, and offer at '5K mile service' which includes the oil change, tire rotation, and vehicle inspection(measure tires, brakes, test battery, fluids, etc.) and stamping their maintenance book. 75% of the time I get the response 'Oh, I get my tires rotated for free down at [insert business name here]. How much for just the oil change?'

 

How are you guys competing with this? Is it just my inexperience with making sales? Should I press on and mention 'you wont have to wait in line' or 'we already have it on lift, are you sure?' I don't want to come across as a pushy salesman, but it's really starting to get under my skin.

 

UPDATE: I just phone shopped one of these chain stores locally and they told me they offer free lifetime tire rotation AND spin balance! Is there this much profit in tire sales?

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We have the same problem at our shop. I know exactly how you feel.

 

Most of the time we state that it takes 10 min or less and that in it self makes the sale or brings back customers later on down the road. I would also like to hear other shop owners suggestions regarding this topic.

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There are a couple of different ways to look at this situation. Here is one way to approach it.

 

Package your oil changes as 5k or 7.5k services with the tire rotation included. When the customer asks "How much" for the rotation - You say - "No Charge" it's part of our 5k service. Using this method you need to get ride of any reference to an "Oil Change". Everything you do is a "Service".

 

We are trying to move to that type of a package, but I have to say it can be a challenge with some of our customers, particularly owners of domestic cars. I find that import car owners are more inclined to the "service" interval package.

 

We do free rotations on tires we sell as long as the vehicle is in for an oil change. It does help to lock those customers into our shop and we get the first look at brakes, steering and suspension components etc.

 

You may want to think about just doing it so the customer doesn't go back to another shop.

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  • 1 year later...

My shop is not open yet. But I have extensive knowledge on how these big box stores work. Yes, your are doing a rotation for free, but, it opens up other avenues for revenue. You take those tires off and you get to look at the brakes. Check the suspension, look at bushing, etc. People hear free and they take advantage of it, but it gets people in the doors. As far as profit in tires, there is not much. 20% at most and thats for the cheaper tire.

 

When we open, I will not offer a free rotation with tires bought from me, I will offer a free rotation with my oil change. It takes me 2 minutes to do, and I do it while the oil is draining. I make it habit to roll the tire to the other end of the car and look for nails or any foreign object. Feathering of tires , etc. If I see something, I spray it, If it leaks , I notify customer. They are happy I picked up on it before it became a problem and now I just made money on a quick tire repair.

 

This is how these big box stores survive, upselling and upselling quick services. Wipers, tire repairs, bulbs, belts , alignments. Free is not always free, you will make money some how. I laugh when I see ads for a $60 brake job, it's to get people in the door. Once there in a $60 brake job becomes $300. It's not a bait in switch its, clever marketing. $60 was just for a pad slap, but than you factor in the caliper thats hanging up, the warped rotor and so on.

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Welcome to the site, I hate to argue with you but I believe it is absolutely bait and switch marketing. It is also the type of marketing that attracts the low price shoppers. I understand there are a lot of stores that have this type of business strategy which certainly can work (obviously box stores, franchises etc) however their success is driven on a high car count and probably not much in the satisfaction department. I guess it really does depend on how you want your business to look. I'd rather not compete on bait and switch tactics and getting a million cars through my door.

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We offer free rotation with every new tire, its part of buying tires they join our family. Rotations are required to get any warranty from their manufacturer so we remove any excuse for the customer not to rotate. Do we look at the brakes when we do a free rotation? Of course. That's not the intent though, our intent is to sell tires with a lifetime (tread wise) of services as a thank you. This keeps them coming back. I suggest they get their free rotation the same day they get their oil changed, its more convenient for everyone but we still will do a 100% free rotate a LA carte if they want.

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** Case Study **

 

This is an actual case study from Feb. 25-27, 2015.

 

Free rotations ** Free rotations ** Free rotations!! This is like exploratory surgery!! You can't see "nuttin" til you get the car on a lift, take the tires off and do some exploring. A lady came in Wednesday afternoon around 4:30 (we close at 6) with a coupon for an oil change service with tire rotation and inspection for $22.95. The vehicle was a 2001 Explorer AWD. She said she also had a "clanging" noise under the car, and to be sure to check the anti-freeze. I asked if she had owned the car for long and she told me "10 years." We drove it in the parking lot and heard a hell of a noise and brought it in the shop. I told her that it was unsafe to drive because it had a drivetrain problem that we would check out the next morning, and that I would provide her a complimentary rental car. She was good with that. After inspection yesterday, we found that the noise was from the front propeller shaft CV joint. During the full inspection, we found that the SUV also needed front brakes, front left hub bearing, rear brakes, brake fluid service, throttle body cleaning w/ fuel service, and a new radiator. I called her and told her of my findings, and told her the price (almost $2,000) and that I could have it ready Friday. She said to make sure there was nothing else that was needed and to please go ahead with the repairs. She got the car yesterday afternoon, and said she was very pleased with the fast service and the rental car, and I please because I gained a new client!

 

This is why I use coupons and why I offer free rotations (Or part of the package rotations.)

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** Case Study **

 

This is an actual case study from Feb. 25-27, 2015.

 

Free rotations ** Free rotations ** Free rotations!! This is like exploratory surgery!! You can't see "nuttin" til you get the car on a lift, take the tires off and do some exploring. A lady came in Wednesday afternoon around 4:30 (we close at 6) with a coupon for an oil change service with tire rotation and inspection for $22.95. The vehicle was a 2001 Explorer AWD. She said she also had a "clanging" noise under the car, and to be sure to check the anti-freeze. I asked if she had owned the car for long and she told me "10 years." We drove it in the parking lot and heard a hell of a noise and brought it in the shop. I told her that it was unsafe to drive because it had a drivetrain problem that we would check out the next morning, and that I would provide her a complimentary rental car. She was good with that. After inspection yesterday, we found that the noise was from the front propeller shaft CV joint. During the full inspection, we found that the SUV also needed front brakes, front left hub bearing, rear brakes, brake fluid service, throttle body cleaning w/ fuel service, and a new radiator. I called her and told her of my findings, and told her the price (almost $2,000) and that I could have it ready Friday. She said to make sure there was nothing else that was needed and to please go ahead with the repairs. She got the car yesterday afternoon, and said she was very pleased with the fast service and the rental car, and I please because I gained a new client!

 

This is why I use coupons and why I offer free rotations (Or part of the package rotations.)

 

 

This is a wonderful success story. I would like to see though the ratio of coupon customers that you close out on big tickets like this in ratio to the time wasters. In a perfect world all these coupon customers can be converted however thats not the case.

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This is a wonderful success story. I would like to see though the ratio of coupon customers that you close out on big tickets like this in ratio to the time wasters. In a perfect world all these coupon customers can be converted however thats not the case.

M-Spec, I don't know if I really want to calculate the ratio...the time wasters have already wasted enough of my time. I had a lady to come in for the special oil service today, declined any extra work, but said she's bringing her husband's car tomorrow for an alignment. I asked what kind of car...she said a Blazer. I asked if she meant Trailblazer, and she said no...it's a 2000 S-10 Blazer. Guaranteed it's a POS with a worn-out front end. But have plenty of good work lined up for tomorrow and Friday. It's warming up a little here. Was 67 today and had all the shop doors open and we were washing cars. I hope business picks up a lot for all of us! I wish you and your shop well, M-Spec!!!

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M-Spec, I don't know if I really want to calculate the ratio...the time wasters have already wasted enough of my time. I had a lady to come in for the special oil service today, declined any extra work, but said she's bringing her husband's car tomorrow for an alignment. I asked what kind of car...she said a Blazer. I asked if she meant Trailblazer, and she said no...it's a 2000 S-10 Blazer. Guaranteed it's a POS with a worn-out front end. But have plenty of good work lined up for tomorrow and Friday. It's warming up a little here. Was 67 today and had all the shop doors open and we were washing cars. I hope business picks up a lot for all of us! I wish you and your shop well, M-Spec!!!

 

 

Thanks carolinahigear! I wish you the same too! Right now we are looking at anothe 6-8 inches of snow. I'm with Joe on this now, this winter is a DRAGGGG!

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** Case Study **

 

This is an actual case study from Feb. 25-27, 2015.

 

Free rotations ** Free rotations ** Free rotations!! This is like exploratory surgery!! You can't see "nuttin" til you get the car on a lift, take the tires off and do some exploring. A lady came in Wednesday afternoon around 4:30 (we close at 6) with a coupon for an oil change service with tire rotation and inspection for $22.95. The vehicle was a 2001 Explorer AWD. She said she also had a "clanging" noise under the car, and to be sure to check the anti-freeze. I asked if she had owned the car for long and she told me "10 years." We drove it in the parking lot and heard a hell of a noise and brought it in the shop. I told her that it was unsafe to drive because it had a drivetrain problem that we would check out the next morning, and that I would provide her a complimentary rental car. She was good with that. After inspection yesterday, we found that the noise was from the front propeller shaft CV joint. During the full inspection, we found that the SUV also needed front brakes, front left hub bearing, rear brakes, brake fluid service, throttle body cleaning w/ fuel service, and a new radiator. I called her and told her of my findings, and told her the price (almost $2,000) and that I could have it ready Friday. She said to make sure there was nothing else that was needed and to please go ahead with the repairs. She got the car yesterday afternoon, and said she was very pleased with the fast service and the rental car, and I please because I gained a new client!

 

This is why I use coupons and why I offer free rotations (Or part of the package rotations.)

 

Not to argue, but I could say the same about a customer I just sold a tire rotation to and got over $1000 in recommendations.

 

I think M-spec hit it on the head, wonder what the ratio is of time wasters to people who actually buy recommendations is. Also, how are you paying your employees to rotate tires for free? If you are using a low-end lube tech/hourly guy, is he REALLY looking over the brakes, hub, etc all that well? If you are rotating for free because other places rotate for free, will you also price match the other services they offer?

 

Sorry, but if I'm rotating the tires (ASE Master Certified with L1) then I am charging for it. If I'm gonna put it on my lift, use my electricity, use my tools, I'm gonna charge. The people I hire I feel are worth paying for their work, so I will not rotate for free. I've started telling my customers that if they want the high school drop out down the road making $8 an hour to rotate their tires, and have to wait while he does it, go for it. Or they can spend a few bucks and let us rotate their tires while we change the oil and filter.

 

Also something to remember, when you take the wheels and tires off, you are now responsible if a wheel comes off after they leave. Your also on the hook for cross-threaded lug nuts you might come across. I've made my decision, it's not worth it to rotate for free.

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I believe that packaging the rotation of tires with other services is not a bad way to go. For instance, selling a tire protection package when selling tires would include free tire rotations. It will be unlikely in the instance that the customers comes back for just a tire rotation. Also if you are performing some work for the customer already and part of your process is to provide a thorough complimentary safety inspection you can always add a complimentary tire rotation as an added value. The small things you can do can always add value to your services and help differentiate your business from others. And of course if you are paying flat rate, always pay your technician. A good technician will be highly motivated to perform thorough inspections which will help your advisors upsell = much more money that you "lose" on a free tire rotation.

 

I also explain to the customer that we always properly torque every wheel which the industry as a whole doesn't seem to do. They know what I mean right away and appreciate we go the extra mile to perform the right job.

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The package deal is the way to go. Show your clients you care with a complete inspection and service package. This only works if your shop has processes that keeps the information from the inspection flowing from an astute technician to a talented service advisor that does the presentation and has a good closing ratio. Xrac nailed it with "Free rotations attract people who care about their cars. It is one of the best moves I have ever made". I works!

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I'm an ase master tech L1 certified, I own the shop, and I rotate for free. My tech gets paid to make customers happy. I'm not giving away our time, I'm not shopping the car, I'm simply caring about my customers tire investment. Customers appreciate it and come back. A free rotation costs me $2 in coffee, $1 in candy, 15 minutes of lift time. Add another 15 minutes of visiting. The average tire lasts 40k miles, so I give away an hour of lift time an hour of therapy and $12 in refreshments if I do it every 8-10k miles. The final free rotate gets me another 4 tire sale. They almost always ask me to check something during the free rotate, I check it and they call me when they want it fixed. Rarely do we repair anything without an appointment. If a customer wants to bitch about tire wear and they never had a free rotation done, what argument do they have?

 

The most successful tire dealers in the country give free rotates, free flat repairs, and do it regardless of where the tires were bought with a smile. For the record I don't rotate other guys tires for free, just the ones we install. I haven't overcome that obstacle yet, my ego prevents me from rotating my competitors tires for nothing.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
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