Fort Worth Tire & Service: Thriving in spite of wrenching change since ‘83
The average lifespan for a small business is only four years, so if you’ve been around nearly 10 times that long, you must be doing something right. Established in 1983, Fort Worth Tire & Service has thrived for nearly four decades by doing just about everything differently than big-box tire and service centers.
The shop’s specialty is tires and automotive services, and its customers include car dealerships, semi-truck drivers, farmers who bring in tractors and lawn mowers, and regular folks who just want an honest quote on auto repair. Fort Worth Tire differentiates by building trust and “not selling things people don’t need.”
Doing business on a handshake
“We do business on a handshake, even to this day,” says Brock White, second-generation owner-operator of the Texas tire shop. “We’re very transparent about price quotes, and we don’t nickel and dime our customers for disposal fees, valve stems, and stuff like that. We’re not going to upsell you like bigger shops.”
That straight-talk approach to building high-value customer relationships has been the one constant for a local business that’s seen the world change around it over the years. When the shop opened, it was situated next to a fried chicken restaurant called Gaylor’s Crispy Chick. Today, that building is a makeshift warehouse for some of the shop’s 7,000 new and used tires.
“It’s really like eating an elephant one bite at a time,” he says. “We have this great vintage aesthetic that shows through in our marketing and resonates with customers, but we’re also still using hand-written paper tickets. We’re moving into the Digital Age a step at a time.”
These days, as consumers increasingly expect a digital relationship with the companies they patronize, the tire shop is accelerating its evolution. For example, Brock uses Womply’s small business software to understand the company’s performance and make smarter business decisions in less time. Specifically, he looks at revenue trends and competitive comparisons to get beyond instinct and really understand how the business is doing.
Decisions based on data, not just gut feeling
Recently, Brock was concerned that things felt slow. “You’d walk around and not hear the wrenches going,” he says. Rather than make a rash decision and cut staff hours, he looked at the company’s weekly and historical transaction data in the Womply dashboard. He was surprised to see that revenue performance actually wasn’t too bad that week.
“When you run a small business, you learn to rely on your gut,” he says. “Sometimes your gut is right, and sometimes it’s not. It’s good to have a reality check to make sure you’re making decisions that help the business instead of hurting it.”
Brock has also used Womply’s business intelligence functionality to see how his shop stacks up against other local auto repair businesses and learn how he can get an edge. He discovered that Fort Worth Tire’s revenue is typically twice as high as competitors, mainly because his transaction count is much higher. Still, his average transaction size is lower, so there’s more room to grow.
Business intelligence software maximizes marketing efforts
Of course, information isn’t useful unless it’s actionable. One way Brock takes action is by planning marketing and promotions based on the insider info he gets from Womply.
For example, he saw that revenue typically takes a dip around back-to-school time, likely because schedules are busy and budgets are tighter as families stock up on school supplies. Armed with this intel, Brock can create targeted, timely incentives to encourage more business and plan staff hours accordingly.
“It’s my job to make sure customers know about us and want to come here when they need tires or automotive services,” Brock says. “It’s not realistic to do that job without technology anymore.”
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