Modern Tire Dealer

NOV 2018

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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M T D N o v e m b e r 2 0 1 8 72 H ow important is alignment service to Matt Petersen and Kent Coleman? For Petersen, it's what sets Alignment Pros– Point S apart from competi- tors in Gillette, Wyo. For Coleman, it is the service that drives the most profits at his six Salt Lake City area Big O Tires stores. ALIGNMENT EXPERTISE Alignment Pros–Point S provides complete automotive repair services as well as sales and service for passenger, light truck, agricultural, ATV, trailer and other specialty tires. But the store's name tells the market- place that the Petersen family has staked its livelihood on being the best at solving alignment-related issues. Alignments and related front-end work represent about 40% of mechanical revenues. Overall, about half of the store's business is mechanical work and half is tire sales and service. Petersen's father, Dick, established Align- ment Pros Inc. in 1990. He had performed alignments out of a work truck on service calls to local mines for many years, recalls his son. "He had done alignments on bigger, heavier equipment. When he opened the store he wanted to specialize in align- ments and make that the main focus of what we do." e elder Petersen also wanted to focus on service. When Alignment Pros opened in 1990, the local economy was booming from the coal and oil industries. "ere were a lot of shops that were super busy and pumping work in and out. I think that niche of really taking care of customers wasn't quite there. I know he wanted to fill that niche." e store continued to specialize in alignments aer the founder's death in 2011, and Petersen became a co-owner with his mother, Kalina. "She's our leader here in the shop. We're all kind of lost puppies without her. She's definitely the one that keeps us all together. She's a pretty amazing lady," says Petersen. About a year later, longtime employee Matt Veal, an alignment technician, became a partner. "He was one my dad originally trained," says Petersen. "We brought Matt on as a business partner, and he has truly helped us to grow." Today the store's car count averages 450 to 500 a month. About 80% of vehicles are light trucks. ree of the 10 employees are alignment techs. "One of our techs has over 18 years on the alignment rack; and I have 15 years. It's something we take a lot of pride in," says Petersen. KNOW THE DRIVING STYLE Alignment Pros aims for five to seven alignments a day. "We try to focus more on quality over quantity," says Petersen. "Instead of trying to pump out a lot of alignments, we focus on the customer's driving style, what kind of problems they are having with wear and being able to understand the numbers and know where to adjust to make sure their issue is resolved." Customers are asked to indicate vibration and other concerns on a diagnostic check sheet. "e check sheet been working very well in finding a customer's underlying issue," says Petersen. An alignment can take care of tire problems created by a customer's driving style. "We see a lot of cars that have an issue with inside tire wear," says Petersen. "When you put the tire on the alignment machine, sometimes the readings will be within the vehicle's specifications. But when the machine calls for a negative amount of camber, a lot of times those tires will still wear. If the customer is on the highway a lot and not canyon roads where they need that additional negative camber, we'll adjust the specs out a little to try to resolve the inside wear for them." UNDERSTAND THE NUMBERS "When my dad trained all of us on align- ments years ago, we were trained on under- standing the numbers more than just what you need to do to make the alignment in spec," says Petersen. Finding a customer's underlying issue and resolving it requires understanding the manufacturer's range of alignment specifications versus the preferred settings. "A lot of these new machines have made it to where techs can align a vehicle Ann Neal By Tactics for boosting alignment sales A l i g n m e n t S a l e s (From left): Matt Veal, Matt Petersen and Kalina Petersen are partners in Alignment Pros–Point S, which has specialized in alignment service since 1990. COURTESY OF ALIGNMENT PROS-POINT S

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