Tire Pros Touts Training, Succession Planning & Mobile Tire Service at 2023 Meeting

Tire Pros Touts Training, Succession Planning & Mobile Tire Service at 2023 Meeting

During the four-day event, Tire Pros dealers received updates on the business, mingled with their peers and learned about how they can tackle emerging industry trends.

Elevating the industry and bringing professionalism to shops is a goal that the Tire Pros Dealer Council has set out as its mission. It started with the franchise debuting a new slogan of “Love the Drive” last year and will further be carried out through new training and resources that will help dealers organize and grow their business this year. The group showcased those initiatives to its more than 400 dealers at the 2023 Tire Pros National Business Conference at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Deigo from Feb. 21-25.

“We’re trying to set the bar,” said Ryan Goff, president of the Tire Pros National Dealer Council and owner of two Roger’s Tire Pros locations in southwest Idaho. “When it comes to innovation in the industry, I can’t think of another franchise that is as forward-thinking as we are right now.”

During the four-day event, Tire Pros dealers received updates on the business, mingled with their peers and learned about how they can tackle emerging industry trends, such as EV tires, as well as how to structure their business for profit and train the next generation of technicians. The group also debuted new training methods that will roll out over the year as well as ways they’re helping to grow dealer businesses through mobile tire service, which was showcased at the event’s trade show.

Recruiting and Retaining Talent

Based on feedback from dealers, Tire Pros has worked on ways it can help its members recruit for positions in the shop and provide adequate training to retain top talent. Greg Bell, president of the franchise, said first, the group focused on recruiting talent. Last year, Tire Pros teamed up with CareerPlug and Transitive, online recruiting software companies, to broadcast job opportunities at Tire Pros locations. This year, it has teamed up with WyoTech, an automotive, diesel and collision trade school, to help graduates obtain jobs with Tire Pros dealers.

The group is also focusing on the onboarding process by creating “playbooks” for different roles in the shop. In a collaborative effort between the Tire Pros Training and Customer Experience Councils, the group is working to produce a “consistent, turnkey playbook” that will be part of the training regimen for different positions in the shop.

“Every shop does onboarding differently,” Bell said. “Usually, it’s [go] shadow Sally or [go] shadow Bob… We wanted to be sure there was consistency and depth from an onboarding perspective.”

Greg Bell, president of Tire Pros, addresses the crowd of dealers during the franchise’s 2023 National Business Conference.

Goff added that many times, dealers and other shop personnel get busy and sometimes, training falls by the wayside. A playbook allows new hires to follow a process for doing their job.

“You get so busy or overwhelmed that sometimes you don’t have the time to spend with somebody, and you need you to give them a fair shot,” Goff said. “In a family business, the individuals you hire are a reflection of you. You want people to succeed. So, these playbooks could be something as simple as, for a manager, what should they do when they open up in the morning? I’ve grown up in [the business], and I’ll train somebody, but sometimes even I forget the simple stuff.”

The third pillar of employee development that Tire Pros launched at the conference is daily micro-leaning via its Tire Pros University. Bell said the group rebranded its Spark digital training platform to Tire Pros University over the past year to include role-specific training in three-to-five increments per day. The platform is meant to be a comprehensive tool for career development as well as product and leadership training.

Mobile Tire Service

A new platform Tire Pros debuted is a “comprehensive solution” for dealers looking to expand into mobile tire service. Bell said Tire Pros has contracted with 2U Mobile Tire Solutions to create the vans specific for each shop’s use. Last spring, Tire Pros dealers near Atlanta and Minneapolis expressed interest and served as the pilot users for the vans as well as the scheduling software from Avayler, a digital solution that connects customer touchpoints with the shop and technician driving the mobile service truck.

How does it work? Through the Tire Pros website, the customer chooses the tires they want, purchases them through the site and then selects whether they want in-store or mobile tire installation. Those with Tire Pros’ shop management platform, Tire Guru, will be able to see the request. An integration with Avalyer’s software allows the technician to pick up the tires they need on the day of service, and Avayler optimizes a route for them to service customers.

“It’s a comprehensive scheduling, end-to-end solution with the technician being able to know every day where he or she is going, how many orders they have and what product they’ll install,” Bell said. “It was essential for us to look at it from a consumer perspective to ensure we can be efficient on connecting with the consumer on what they’re looking for and ensuring the technician and the owner-operator is efficient in scheduling and balancing the time across, perhaps several orders a day, multiple orders a week. The software was the key to connecting all those pieces together.”

Bell said more than 40 dealers signed up expressing interest in the van and scheduling technology during the conference.

Tire Pros - mobile tire service van
Mobile Tire Service gained traction at this year’s Tire Pros conference with a decked-out van placed at the entrance of the trade show floor.

Right to Repair

With right to repair gaining momentum in Congress early in the legislative session this year, Tire Pros is urging its dealers to get involved and take a stand. Goff said on the national Tire Pros website there is a tab for dealers and the public to learn about right to repair and a template for visitors to email their congressperson to urge them to pass current legislation.

On the store level, Tire Pros has created imagery for dealers to hang in their stores to promote the issue with customers. Through this, curious customers can scan the QR code on the image, converse with the shop owner about right to repair and email their congressperson supporting consumer access to their data.

Tire Pros- Ryan Goff
Ryan Goff, president of the National Tire Pros Dealer Council and owner of two Roger’s Tire Pros locations in Idaho, stands next to a right to repair banner with a QR code that leads to a website where people can write their U.S. representatives about right-to-repair legislation.

Last year, Goff, his wife and fellow Tire Pros dealers Susan and Steven Moss, owner of Wilson Tire Pros with three locations outside Greensboro, North Carolina, visited their respective congressional representatives in Washington D.C. last year to gain their support for right-to-repair legislation.

“Us as store owners, we have to inform the customer,” Goff said. “It’s not just sharing with them our side. We’re on the consumer’s side. Sure, it helps to benefit me to keep me in business, but overall, it benefits competition, which is what this country’s built on.”

Women of Tire Pros

Tire Pros is reigniting its female-focused group, Women of Tire Pros, after it launched in Nashville at the Tire Pros conference last year. Susan Moss said the group will have the same mission of serving as a support group for women, whether they own, work or support a Tire Pros business. Moss said she has been on both sides of the business—as a women supporting her husband with Tire Pros locations and as a spouse working alongside her husband in the business—and understands that each needs representation.

“There are so many women that are coming into [the business] that do excellent jobs within their shops,” she said. “They’re smart and they juggle the act of being a wife, a mother and having a career in the business… We really want women part of this group to know that it doesn’t matter if you are supporting from home or if you’re supporting in the business, we want you to come and feel welcome.”

Susan Moss, co-owner of Wilson Tire Pros locations in North Carolina and member of Tire Pros’ National Dealer Council, said she hopes to reignite the Women of Tire Pros group to serve those connected with the franchise.

Moss said the group hosted a networking event at this year’s conference to better understand the needs of women in and supporting Tire Pros locations. Currently, the mission of the group is to recruit more women to the industry, mentor those involved in the business and get female family members of Tire Pros families involved in the industry.

Giving Back

For both American Tire Distributors (ATD) and Tire Pros, giving back to veterans has been an important pillar in their charitable giving. To spread the message about how more dealers can help the organization give back to vets, the group hosted a breakfast highlighting its work with the Gary Sinise Foundation, which supports veterans, first responders and their families.

Gib Bosworth, vice president of strategic initiatives and outreach, explained the foundation’s mission and how ATD and Tire Pros have supported the organization. As a corporate sponsor, ATD gave $1.5 million to the foundation to support its efforts last year, with Tire Pros contributing $100,000 of that. During the conference, Tire Pros hosted a silent auction that raised $30,000 for the foundation and recognized veterans as part of the Tire Pros community.

Bosworth also reviewed a few ways in which ATD and Tire Pros have given back to the organization. One way includes remodeling veterans’ homes that have mobility needs due to combat injuries. Thanks to ATD’s donations, the group was able to reconstruct eight homes last year. In addition, ATD hosts its Summer for Heroes Giving Campaign and Partner for Heroes program. Tire Pros locations can pledge $1,500 to be a partner for heroes.

Tire Pros Gary Sinise Foundation van
Representatives from the Gary Sinise Foundation stand with ATD executives in front of a van that was custom-wrapped by a Tire Pros franchisee. From left: Gib Bosworth, vice president of strategic initiatives and outreach for the Gary Sinise Foundation; Greg Bell, Tire Pros president; Esmeralda Garica, resource specialist for the Gary Sinise Foundation and widow of a serviceman; Stuart Schuette, president and CEO of ATD; and Nick Kimmel, a triple amputee veteran who has benefitted from the programs of the Gary Sinise Foundation. Bell said the van is equipped with Hercules Tires, which were also installed by a Tire Pros dealer. The foundation has two wrapped vans that it has worked with Tire Pros dealers on customizing.

As part of the group’s Summer for Heroes campaign, Tire Pros locations can get their customers involved by rounding up their bill to the nearest dollar at checkout, with the extra change supporting the foundation, or asking customers is they’d like to donate at checkout. For each customer donation, they can hang different colored stars in their shop window with customers’ names on them indicating the amount they gave.

“What you do to help us enables us to help others,” Bosworth told the crowd of dealers in attendance.

Bell stressed the significance of Tire Pros’ involvement with the foundation saying, “Everyone is touched by a veteran or first responder in some way. I hope the message came through about how Tire Pros giving impacts and supports families directly impacted by war because they’re willing to sacrifice and give back.”

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