Use National Shops for Installation instead of small independent tire shops (big chains are cheaper compared to small shops)
For years people have asked this question… what kind of shop should I use for repairs, a dealership or an independent shop?
This is not that easy question for answering because there are benefits both ways. But, if it’s up to me then I will choose the dealership. I have no problem using the independent shops when necessary but you should always get recommendations first…
I’ve found dealers can be cheaper than independent shops. Their hourly rates might be higher, but they tally fewer hours.
Traditionally, dealerships’ hourly rates were higher than the independent shops because of overhead, cost of tools, and training. That trend is changing. Why?
Is this way because independents are realizing escalation of costs associated with the rapid technological changes taking place… the need for ongoing training and purchasing of new equipment and tools is another reason.
If you’ve got no specific knowledge of the shops around you, a dealer is probably the best bet. What matters most is who actually works on your vehicle and any shop with any size typically has a really broad range of skill/experience.
Dealers generally seem to have fewer guys at the bottom end of the scale…it’s going to cost you same or less as the independent shop, but you can also expect that the guys are decent, trained, and have more resources available to them.
Has anyone noticed that dealerships are expanding their marketing campaigns to draw the retail customer into the dealership for service? Dealers are offering longer nationwide warranties, certified technicians, and original equipment parts at competitive prices. Why is this happening? … For a number of reasons. The profits are at such a low that the service departments must step up to the plate and become profitable for the dealership to survive.
One of the advantages dealership service departments have to offer is that In order to maintain their franchise licenses, dealerships must pay for training their technicians and providing special tools and equipment which also means that you have highly educated stuff working on your vehicle.
Dealership technicians are usually paid according to a method called “flat rate.” When a job is dispatched to a technician, the clock starts. If an operation calls for a time frame of two hours, then the labor will be 2X the shop’s hourly rate.
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If the technician is proficient at this particular operation and can do it in half the time, the customer still pays for two hours of labor and the tech earns two hours of pay for one hour of work. Conversely, if the tech does the job in more than the allowed time, the customer still pays two hours of labor. This method of payment holds a standard hourly rate for the customer, and yet rewards highly skilled technicians.
So……what is my opinion?
Find a facility (either a dealership service department or an independent) that you are comfortable with and one that suite your individual needs. Make sure they are qualified to do the work. Develop an ongoing relationship with them, and once they see you as their loyal customer, they will take good care of you.
Try to change the tires during regular business hours (avoid changing after 5pm, weekends, holidays – because you will get charged 2 or 3 times more)
As we all know tires don’t always cooperate, they tend to go flat at the worst times. But if it is not an emergency (your driver isn’t stuck out in the middle of nowhere), have them wait until regular service hours. Many places offer added service and even have after hour’s staff. However, this comes with hefty addition to the regular cost.
Remember to have your drivers check their tires before the leave, when they fuel up, and when they stop. Also your organization should set up some kind of regular maintenance schedule. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for tire rotations and changing. If the tire looks ok, follow the schedule. It will save you a lot of hassle, time, and money in the long run.
We have touched many things that affect the cost of doing business. The trucking industry has so many things to consider; Payroll, utilities, taxes, maintenance, insurances and so many other additional costs. So it can be essential to find savings whenever you can and wherever you can.
But be careful that you don’t let the cost be your only guide. Cheaper is not always the best in the long run. That isn’t to say you must always go with the highest either. Make some checking before you leap. You need to look at what is best for your organization.
When choosing a tire service center (or manufacturer) check to see what kind of warranties and guarantees they offer. Are they nationwide? What kind of additional services do they provide? Are they a good company with a good reputation?
Some of this can be researched online. Simply go to the online forums or check out the reviews. Consumer reports and the Better Business Bureau are good resources for checking on a company’s standing. If you contract with a tire service center they will have much of the consumer related reviews available. Though remember they are in business to make money so always do your own research as well.
There are so many to choose from make certain that they are going to provide your organization with all the services you need. Because the last thing you want to have happen is that they can’t provide you with proper service. Your drivers don’t want to be stuck out on the road and your customers won’t be all that understanding if their cargo is late.
What experiences have you had with tire service centers? What about stories involving a flat or blowout? What is your brand and company of preference? Please share your experiences and thoughts.