Michelin decision has dealers considering mobile shops
Michelin’s decision in August to pilot a mobile tire business has sparked dealers across the U.S. into action, says GoTire founder Heather Murphy.
Speaking to Traction last week, Murphy said the tire giant’s announcement that it planned to offer a mobile tire purchasing and installation service using GoTire’s vans had caused dealers to consider whether their businesses should hit the road, too.
GoTire builds and sells fully equipped tire servicing vans. The company launched in Canada five years ago and now operates a successful franchisee system north of the border. In the U.S. they sell and lease their vans direct to tire dealers, instead.
“People are afraid of something new, I think this industry has been traditional for so long that moving into a new direction is sometimes scary — but mobile is coming,” Murphy said.
“We were here (at SEMA) last year and we had a great response, but this year people have said, ‘I saw you last year; I heard about Michelin; now I’m interested.’ ”
GoTire selling direct to U.S. dealers who want to expand offering
GoTire has several models of mobile tire van, including a “skeleton” model retailing for about $57,000 with everything needed to start business. There is also a basic model. An advance model costs about $105,000 and comes with a full lighting and storage package and upgraded equipment.
“One of the unique things about our vans is they don’t use any kind of a generator,” Murphy explained.
“The electrical system is completely separate to the van itself. It’s based on a Mercedes Sprinter van. We’ve had that stamped by Mercedes that by having a fit-out with us you are not affecting the warranty you have with them at all.”
Murphy said the mobile tire business is big in Europe and is a less expensive starting point for someone trying get into the industry than setting up a new shop. But she said their big target in the U.S. market is existing shops wanting to expand their business and provide better and more modern customer service.
“People know they have to differentiate themselves in some way to gain the customer’s attention and maintain loyalty,” she said.
“You can charge that little more for that ‘white-glove’ kind of a service and you have customers who want that and they won’t go anywhere else. It’s so convenient.
“We go to where someone’s working; we go to their house; we’ve done it while people have been on a date. We’ve gone to soccer games where we’ve done all the moms’ cars while the kids were playing.”
Differentiate your business and build loyalty
“There are so many different opportunities, and if you open your mind to the marketing potential of this, it’s fantastic.
“When your customer is anyone who owns a vehicle you really just have to open your mind up to who you want to market to — seniors who have a difficult time moving the tires, the corporate executive who doesn’t want to be bothered getting this kind of a service after hours, or even we’ve had a lot of work with realtors because their office is their vehicle and they can’t afford to be away from their vehicle all day if they take it into a tire shop.”
For more information about GoTire, visit the website.