Taking care of everything
In 2012, Midas was bought out by TBC, a tire supply company. The acquisition led to very positive changes in terms of rebranding and advertising, which have helped increase my shop’s revenue. I certainly didn’t do it all on my own!
The branding today explains to customers how we take care of everything. Midas has more than 60 years’ history, expanding from its foundation in muffler and exhaust repairs by adding shock absorbers in the 1960s, brake service in the ’70s, computerized suspension and alignment in the ’80s and total car care in the ’90s. Some customers still assume we only do brakes and mufflers, for example, or oil changes. We’re here to help with all that, plus tires, coolants and maintenance.
Also, we won’t rip them off. We’re especially well-known for our lifetime warranties on brake pads, mufflers, exhausts, shocks and struts, along with our economical oil changes.
To get this messaging across, Midas runs a lot of TV ads. Part of my franchise fee goes toward that. They also manage our website and handle massive flyer drops. They have always done a great job at putting our ad dollars to use. They are always figuring out the best strategy to get the most possible out of those funds.
While the TV ads and the flyers both make a big difference, I also try to fill in the gaps with local promotional efforts. I send out a lot of ‘customer retention’ pieces via direct mail, such as free wiper blades for my top 100 customers. We also e-mail and text them.
It’s important to stay on top of that. Vancouver is an expensive place to run a business in terms of both location and labour, but while the population represents a larger customer base than in many other Canadian cities, those customers are not necessarily visiting our franchise as frequently. Many of them live downtown and don’t drive to work every day. Also, people are always moving in and out of this city. When we lose some of our customers that way, we need to make sure to get some new ones to replace them.
In addition to the support of the franchisor, I credit some of my success to my business management diploma. I don’t think I could run my shop well without it. Over the years, I’ve realized the shortcomings of many automotive operations are due to a lack of formal business education.
Roxanne has also helped. Her specialty is human resources (HR) and worked for me during the first few years of my franchise, helping set up performance reviews for my employees. These days, she’s setting up a holistic nutrition business, so she’s not working directly with my franchise anymore, but I’m also not eating fast food like I used to!