Roger's Tire Service focuses on customer service and community relationships

Roger’s Tire Service focuses on customer service and community relationships

Roger’s Tire Service does things a bit differently. Your first hint: the business performs daily operations out of a barn.

For an average consumer, a tire shop or dealership is probably a facility with multiple technicians, lifts and tire service equipment; they may even think of a specific shop with multiple service bays and locations.

While these things may sound like characteristics of a “normal” tire shop or dealership, Roger’s Tire Service, does things a bit differently. That all starts with the owner, Roger Pitchford. Your first hint could be the fact that Roger, a tire industry veteran with over 35 years of experience, opened a shop in under three weeks in 2021.

It’s not just the fact that the shop opened in no time during an economically difficult time, but Roger’s Tire Service performs daily operations out of a barn. Roger felt this was his best course of action to get things up and running quickly to serve a client base eager for his expertise. The shop, fit with two “workstations,” no lifts and some vehicle jacks, was perfect for Roger.

“We have enough floor jacks in the building to sink a boat,” he jokes. “I got lucky enough with doing the work I did and knowing all the people I did to have a client base right away. It is not a fancy building. It’s weighted, it’s heated, we have doors, concrete and all the stuff we need. The farmer who I rent from was more than willing to give me that opportunity, so we jumped on it and that’s where we ended up.”

K&M-Rogers-Tire-Stock-1400

Opening to serve a need

Roger started his career in the tire industry in 1987. His first “tire job” was at Parrott Implement, an Ag tire shop and John Deere dealership based out of Richwood, Ohio, a small village around 50 miles northwest of Columbus. He knew nothing about tires before this job and spent most of his time working on a hog farm as a younger man. However, he was hired to step in as the “tire guy” at Parrott, answering order calls, replacing, repairing and whatever else he could find to do.

He may not have anticipated this when starting at Parrott Implement, but he made a career for himself as soon as he stepped through those doors. For 35 years, Roger made an impression on the Richwood community, developing a client base that trusted his commitment to honest and reliable service tailored to the local farming industry.

In 2021, Parrott Implement was sold to Ag-Pro – a franchise Ag tire supplier – and Roger says he didn’t feel like he fit their plans. Roger figured his time, at least with tire service, was done.

There was still a need in the community for Roger’s services, though.

K&M-Rogers-Tire-Jack-1400

“When all the farmers found out [Parrott Implement] sold, they came to me and were like, ‘Well, what about us? Who’s going to take care of us?’ So, after talking to the farmers and my two sons, we decided that it’d be best for me just to go out and start my own tire business,” Roger says.

Within three weeks of finding out Parrott’s was sold, Roger went from having no intention of opening a tire shop to getting it done, thanks in large part to Spencer Pierce and Alex Pitchford, Roger’s sons who chipped in to get the business started.

“My two amazing sons sat down and discussed what we thought it would cost to get up and running and be able to put some inventory in the building, buy machines and all the stuff we need,” he says. “We came up with a number and between me and my two sons, we did all cash.”

K&M-Rogers-Tire-Machine-1400

Roger says he chose to run his business out of a barn because he wanted his client base to feel taken care of as soon as possible. He found the first place he could find that was ready to go and went with it.

“We looked at a couple of buildings and we decided on this one just because it was the most ready to go,” Roger says. “Other than the equipment and supplies that we added in, it’s just an old farm shop. It’s nothing special whatsoever.”

K&M-Rogers-Tire-Team-1400

Running the business

Roger spent the first six months at Roger’s Tire Service doing things by himself. If an order needed to be made, it was Roger on the phone. Outside service appointment request? Roger would head over in the service truck to perform whatever repairs were needed. It wasn’t until six months later that Roger hired Garrett Miller – his first and only other full-time employee.

“Garrett worked part-time for me at Parrott Implement when he was in high school,” Roger explains. “Once I started this company, he would come in when he had the time and help me in the evenings and even on Saturdays. Then in February, after I got started six months before that, he had enough faith and jumped on board full-time. Garrett’s just a phenomenal young man, I couldn’t ask for a better young man to hire.”

Roger also hired a high school student this year for some part-time help, Tyler Krebehenne.

“Some weeks we only get eight to 12 hours out of Tyler, but between me and Garrett, he learns so fast,” Roger says. “Now he’s the kind of technician that can put tires on a vehicle while Garrett can be on the other end doing a semi, and I can be going back and forth between the two of them helping them both, and I have no worries about it.”

On a day-to-day basis, Roger and Garrett work together to run Roger’s Tire Service. Garrett will usually go out on service calls three or four times per week, which Roger calls “goin’ out to the country,” but can do most things in the shop as well if needed, including taking calls on orders.

Roger says his main client base is farmers with Ag equipment – in fact, about two-thirds of his business is Ag-centric. While they don’t do any vehicle-specific service, Roger says Roger’s Tire Service will try to help as much as they can if there’s an issue with a tire.

“The easiest way to describe what we do is: if it’s round, we can change it or fix it,” he says. “We service everything from big ag tires, rear tractor tires, big four-wheel drive tires and combine tires. Heck, even clear down to a payload tire, a farmer’s implement tire and a lot of garden tires. We take care of everything.”

The biggest problem he faces on a day-to-day basis comes from only having one other full-time employee. When Garrett is out on a service call, Roger knows he’ll be gone for at least two to four hours – meaning he’ll be alone at the shop until Garrett returns. He’s sometimes the only one answering phones, changing tires and handling customers, something he says could be fixed in the future if he hires another few full-time folks.

K&M-Rogers-Tire-Storefront-1400

Roger explains that having a “get it done no matter what” mentality sets the business apart.

“If we’re overwhelmed, we just suck it up and do it,” Roger says. “We don’t even think about it, we just do it. Even if we have a full schedule and I have a farmer who calls me and has an emergency, I will figure out how to get it done in the shop that day. We just work more hours. Even though the shop doesn’t open until eight and we close at five, I would say four days a week, we don’t leave at five.”

So, why would anybody pick Roger’s Tire Service over any other Ag dealer, tire dealer or shop in the Richwood area? Roger says it’s because the competition can’t beat his customer service or his relationship with people in the community.

“Our customer service is just unmatched by anybody else,” he says. “We go above and beyond to make sure our customers are taken care of. Not to mention the trust I developed with my customers. You wouldn’t believe how many tires we will sell when a customer just says, ‘Hey, I need a set of tires for my car, what do you recommend?’ They have no idea what they’re buying until the day I put ‘em on the vehicle. They just trust me enough to pick the right tires that will keep them safe. I wouldn’t put a set of tires on a customer’s vehicle that I wouldn’t use myself.”

K&M-Rogers-Tire-Bay-1400

Positioning for future success

Roger knows that he can’t stay where he’s at forever, especially since he aspires to grow and help more customers. First things first – Roger needs more space. Sure they have a few work areas and multiple tire changers, but there still aren’t dedicated service bays. He also needs more storage. Currently, Roger can only store about 50 to 100 implement tires, and a few more passenger tires on top of that.

“Expansion just has to happen,” Roger says. “Something a former boss, Charlie Soltis, used to put into my head was that you don’t let somebody else run your business. And I feel that as long as I’m renting, I’m technically not controlling my business.”

They rely on farmers’ service bays when doing a remote job. Roger also says he wants to expand his mobile service fleet. Currently, they use a dual-rear-wheel truck with an air compressor to perform most mobile service orders. He just ordered a new service truck from Stellar Trucks to upgrade his service fleet.

In terms of looking for a new location to expand, Roger would much rather build something himself. He says he wants a shop with at least two service bays designated for cars and truck tires, two bays for big trucks or Ag vehicles, two drive-thru bays, updated equipment and big doors to be able to store and perform work on farm equipment, instead of doing it outside or on the customer’s land. He already has three plots of land in his eye, but he won’t make any decisions without his two sons and Garrett, who he considers the future of Roger’s Tire Service.

“There’s three different pieces of land that we are looking at,” he says. “By building a purpose-built tire shop, we can have a building that we can perform multiple repairs in, have more technicians, and one that has a very nice waiting room. We deal with so many families, we need a nice clean waiting room where they can go sit and watch television. It would be a blessing to have a shop that’s built specifically for us.

I would hope that within the next three to four months, we’ll get a piece of land bought and have a specifically built tire shop to run our company out of within two years.”

Whatever Roger does, he just wants to do it right. Just because he wants to expand now doesn’t mean he will; he wants whatever is best for his customers.

“I’d rather wait six months or a year and build what we want than to build something right now just because we can,” he explains. “I don’t want to think a couple years down the road, ‘man, I wish it would’ve been bigger,’ or ‘man, I wish we would’ve done this.’”

At the end of the day, Roger just wants what’s best for his customers – he wouldn’t even be in this business, or a K&M Top Shop finalist if he didn’t put his customers over everything else. How did he make it this far in such little time? Roger says it’s due to him and his employees’ hard work and customer-first mentality.

“The first thing I guess I would tell anybody who wants to start a tire shop is to be willing to work,” he says. “Always remember to treat people the way you want to be treated. I revert to my old-school thoughts of being the guy whose name is on the building. I mean, I’m the guy you walk in and see every day, so I want to treat you right. Honesty is such a big part of my business because it seems like treating people the right way is something our society has forgotten.”

K&M-Rogers-Tire-Service-600x900

Community outreach

Roger feels the best form of advertising is one that’s community-based.

Roger says he loves participating in community outreach efforts, particularly in supporting local sports teams, schools and agricultural events. His involvement in sponsoring teams goes beyond having the business name on signs in the outfield. Roger donates to the overall league, ensuring that the sponsorship money helps keep the cost of participation down for families in the community.

“It’s great to have your name out there and outdoors where people can see it,” Roger says, “The biggest thing to me is the community. We get to help keep the cost of our local teams down with the sponsorship money we can generate.

Roger recognizes the importance of giving back to the community that supports his business so much. His involvement in fundraising activities for local schools and rec teams demonstrates a commitment to supporting local education and youth sports.

Furthermore, Roger discussed his engagement with local fairs, especially those in neighboring counties. Attending events like the Marion County Fair, Roger participates as a buyer in livestock auctions. He allocates a budget for add-on money, allowing him to support multiple kids rather than concentrating on a single family.

“If you go in and buy one animal, we’ve spent all of our money for that fair,” he explains. “We can only help one kid with that…but by doing add-on money, you can go there and help six, eight, ten kids.”

Editor’s Note: Every year, Tire Review partners with K&M Tire to conduct a version of our Top Shop program, strictly for K&M dealers. We would like to recognize at an industry level one of the finalists of this year’s K&M’s Mr. Tire/Big 3 Tire Top Shop Award.

You May Also Like

TEXA runs car diagnostic tool promotion

The promotion is active through Aug. 31.

TEXA-promotion

Active through August 31, this TEXA IDC5 advanced diagnostics promotion provides a single full BIKE software with Free Texpack subscription, when a new TEXA Axone tablet CAR package is purchased. All TEXA Axone diagnostics packages are sold with the VCI adapter and secure hardware case. Specific vehicle environment cables and connectors are sold separately, the company said.

ATD opens regional distribution center in McDonough, Georgia

The new facility will support 22 distribution centers across Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

ATD-Georgia-Facility-Outside
GRI expands footprint in South America

GRI said its goal is not just to sell specialty tires, but to contribute to the region’s growth through its focus on sustainability.

GRI-team-South-America
Aperia’s Halo Tire Inflator accrues over 100 billion miles

The company said its Halo Tire Inflator has saved over 716,000 metric tons of CO2.

Aperia-Halo-Tire-Inflator
Electronic Specialties releases Pro Auto Test Lead Kit

The kit includes a full range of accessory test leads designed for automotive, heavy-duty and marine electrical troubleshooting

Electronic-Specialties-Test-Lead-Kit
Other Posts
The good news about the industry’s technician shortage

For the first time in 10 years, collective completions of postsecondary automotive, collision, diesel and aviation programs have increased.

TR-Continental-techshortage
How succession planning sets your shop up for success

Just like it’s smart to plan ahead before taking a road trip, your shop should be prepared to plan for the next steps.

TR-Continental-succession planning
Everything you ever wanted to know about Formula E tires

Learn how tire technology affects the highest level of all-electric racing from three different perspectives: The president of Hankook Tire North America, a tire engineer, and a Formula E driver.

Hankook-QA-Car-1400
Pugh’s Tire exemplifies a tireless commitment to service over four generations

With five retail locations, the third- and fourth generations continue to grow the business the same way the founder did.

stacey-frankie-1400