According to Plimsoll’s 2007 analysis, the online tire enterprise is the 32nd fastest growing company in the UK tire business and blew away industry sales averages by posting sales growth of 80 percent. So, what’s the secret? The ever-increasing number of “fitting stations” listed as Blackcircles franchisees is one reason for the business’s rapid growth, but the company’s use of conventional media strategies appears to be another way it has kept traffic coming.
As Blackcircles prepares to sign up its 300th franchise garage, the company has also launched a service designed to give consumers instant access to mechanics across the UK. The move follows the launch of www.mechanic-torque.co.uk, in which consumers can post queries about their car and receive an expert answer from a Blackcircles franchise mechanic. Since launching in early 2006, the Blackcircles franchise network has spread across the UK. The franchise arrangement sees local independent garages retain their identity, but gain access to Blackcircles’ stock checking and ordering systems. Blackcircles plans to increase the number of franchises to 500 by December and 800 within a year.
The company has also launched a mobile tire franchise and aims to increase its 35-van network to 100 by the end of the year. Franchises are allocated on a geographical basis ensuring that participants can grow their business. With a 98 percent customer satisfaction rating and 40 per cent referred business every month, Blackcircles is continuing to see strong revenue growth and expects to break the £10 million turnover barrier this year. This goal is being aided by a host of endorsements from companies and organizations including J Sainsbury, the British Chambers of Commerce, Air Miles, Auto Trader and Shell.