The following responses from the Tire Business Web site are in answer to the question: ``What are your dealership's most profitable automotive service and how do you market it to customers?''
Our most profitable service is wheel alignments. We sell the need for proper alignment with every tire sale and spend the time to tell people how an alignment should be considered a regular maintenance service on any vehicle. We discuss driving conditions, mileage and tire care.
After the sale, we input the customer's personal and vehicle info into our database and our software will automatically bring up a note to contact that customer at a specified time to recheck. We send out a maintenance reminder card with their vehicle description and the other services that our shop can provide and, invariably, we get great response from repeat customers. Many times customers will call us and tell us they sold their vehicle, but they have a new one and forgot about getting it aligned.
As an added service, we have an e-mail sign-up sheet which is reviewed at least once a month so we can send out ``quick service'' reminders, especially for tire rotations.
Once the vehicle is back in the shop, the technicians have the opportunity to examine brakes, belts, hoses etc. and, of course, look at the tires and talk about wheel alignments.
Keeping customers coming back for alignments and making sure they get what they pay for brings the profitability it takes to remain competitive in today's market, especially when our competition is typically much larger and able to spend more advertising dollars.
Mike Jaquish, Owner, Athens Tire & Alignment, Athens, Tenn.
I agree with Howard Zwang of Best Tire & Car Audio in Great Neck, N.Y., who said (in the Aug. 13 issue of TB) that, percentagewise, brakes are the most profitable service he offers. That's true for us-especially when the customer needs other parts (rotors/calipers). Axles (CV joints) are another very profitable venue. A quality axle costs about $60 and you can collect more than $200 for the job.
My top tech does an average car in about 30 minutes.
Bob DiGiannurio, President, Giant Tire & Auto Care, Margate, Fla.