Dan Marinucci's automotive service column in the Feb. 16 issue of Tire Business about clothes and shop uniforms caught my eye.
Back in the late 1950s and early '60s I was a Gulf Oil dealer for eight years. Dan commented that wearing a uniform clearly identified you and me as a member of a professional team.
After leaving Gulf Oil I became a Cooper tire dealer-and you're on the right track, Dan: Clothes make a big difference. The blue and white shirt with the Cooper logo on it really identified me to the public.
McMillen Tire Service Inc.
Time for a handbook
We enjoyed the information in Mary Miles' ``Personnel Matters'' column (March 1 Tire Business) regarding employee handbooks.
Currently, our dealership does not have a handbook for our employees. We have been in business for 31 years, and so far I guess we have done something correct. However, in these times it might be wise to have a handbook.
Could you suggest how we could get an example, or whom we could contact to be sure we get the proper and legal information for this handbook? I believe we might be able to produce it in-house if we had a guideline.
Jackson Tire Service Inc.
Editor's note: We've passed along Ms. Prefling's request to Mary Miles.
Paying well pays off
Jeff Mobley from Carolina Tire & Service Inc. brought up an interesting subject in his letter to the editor (March 1 Tire Business) when he wrote about trying to find the formula for a successful bonus program.
We have two facilities in Minot, N.D. The first is a Speedlube & Autoglass outlet that we purchased on July 5, 1998; two years ago we added a Speedlube & Tire that also houses an in-bay PDQ car wash.
After spending 33 years in radio and television hiring, training and managing salespeople, we found that the only thing they really responded to was a monthly bonus based on performance.
Our ``formula'' for the lube/autoglass/tire business is pretty simple: We take 10 percent of the monthly net profits and divide them up among the hourly workers on a pro-rata basis. Simply add up the total number of hours worked during the month, divide that into the bonus amount, then multiply by the number of hours each person worked to calculate their monthly bonus amount.
The money appears in their paycheck on the payday that falls on or after the 20th of the following month. If they leave for any reason, they're not entitled to any bonus not already paid.
Most of our people are ``short-cycle'' motivated. It's hard to come up with daily or weekly bonus plans that are significant enough to be worthwhile, but the monthly plan seems to get and hold their attention. Annual bonus deals are very difficult to make meaningful for non-management employees. In fact, some will suggest that annual bonus plans only motivate your less-qualified employees to hang around too long-in hopes of scoring a windfall.
Some people will read this and think we're crazy for sharing 10 percent of our net profit, but I don't think so. People work the way you pay them and that has nothing to do with the amount. They'll naturally invest their efforts where it will pay off best for them.
If you can structure a situation where your goals and theirs are the same, you'll get where you want to go together.
Fast Foxx Speedlubes