Midas partnership builds sales, high CSI
Tacoma, Wash.—Mitch Jaber Jr., owner of Midas Tacoma, has come full circle and understands the value of tracking sales and performance, as well as profitability.
After three years in automotive vocational training, Jaber became an apprentice technician for a year, but due to a back injury he was not able to continue. He pursued his music ambitions and later became a salesman for Pos-A-Traction Tire.
“The company got into financial problems and I purchased the Tacoma location in 1982, and kept the Pos-A-Traction name for three years before changing it to Pro-Automotive & Tire,” Jaber said. “We remodeled the shop and began performing all levels of auto repairs, while continuing to sell tires and wheels.”
In January of 2012, Jaber said he wanted to change the focus of the company. “My goal was to increase and promote higher profit repairs, such as brakes, struts/shocks, steering, alignments, vehicle maintenance, and get back into the tire business more seriously, plus I wanted to increase my car count,” he said.
“We tried different types of marketing and changed some internal procedures,” Jaber said, “and we had some success, but I wanted to see more. Midas contacted me in May of 2014 and offered me a conversion package that was very desirable. After several months of research, I found that Midas was a proven and winning franchise with excellent customer service; it maintains a high level of customer satisfaction and retention. They gave me everything I was looking for.”
One of the appeals of the Midas program for Jaber are the internal procedures and controls that he said enhance sales, provide better customer service, and maintains that high level of customer satisfaction and retention he was after. “The Midas Free Courtesy Inspection, Brake Evaluation & Suspension Inspection makes up-selling easier, more customer friendly, and more believable,” he said, adding that while Midas had other Tacoma area locations, they desired one in the north end and his busy 6th Avenue location was prime.
“I also discovered through my Midas research that the company was bought by Sumitomo Tire about three years ago and became part of the TBC family that includes Big O Tires, Tire Kingdom, Carroll Tire, and Speedy Lube & Tune,” Jaber said. “Sumitomo Tire has made a large investment in Midas that includes restructuring Midas’s direction, focus, advertising, image, franchise program, and more. I became a Midas franchise in October of 2014 and the move has provided me better buying power, name recognition, and a more secure future.”
Jaber said Midas has deep buying programs and stock incentives with NAPA, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Auto Zone, WORLDPAC, Olympic Brake, and others. “Midas is also a direct tire dealer with Goodyear and Cooper Tires, which gives me excellent pricing and terms on tire purchases,” he said.
Situated on a large parcel of property that provides extra parking in the rear, Midas Tacoma occupies 7,000 square feet of space that includes nine service bays, a Hofmann Geoliner 660 wheel aligner, a large tire storage room with three compressors, plus a small machine shop that also houses old repair manuals and an oil containment system. There is also a large customer service counter and customer waiting area, and a small office. “We have the space and systems in place to expand our tire and service business, all in a well kept, clean, and organized environment,” he said.
Jaber said it’s a different business climate today than during the economic downturn of a few years ago. “In 2008 we had eight people and were doing just under $1 million a year and selling 800 to 1,000 tires a month. We had to adjust dramatically over several years and it’s been a slow process to get business back to higher levels. While we want to add another GST and a service advisor, we are running with a staff of four, with my son, Garry, serving as both a technician and advisor.”
With a car count average of more than 225 per month, Jaber said the company has had continued growth under the new program. “July was an exceptional month for us, and through Midas, we’ve learned how to make money on oil changes and still be competitive. We stock a lot of synthetic oils, including 5W-20 and 5W-30 synthetic and blends.”
While Midas Tacoma provides most repair services, as well as tires, Jaber said brakes and maintenance are a large percentage of their business, as well as shocks and struts. “Many consumers in the past thought that Midas was big in exhaust, and that may have been true years ago, but today it only represents between 6 and 8 percent nationwide.”
For shocks and struts, Jaber said Monroe and KYB are the brands sold most at the shop. “We’ve been selling Monroe and KYB for years, and Midas offers a lifetime nationwide warranty on Monroe shocks and struts. We also offer the Midas lifetime warranty on brake pads and shoes, plus mufflers.”
In the tire realm, Jaber said Goodyear, Cooper, Hankook, Continental, Kumho, and other brands are sold at the store with Michelin coming available soon. “Our tire buying price through Midas makes us very competitive in the tire market and our tire sales are increasing each month.” Plans to increase the store’s tire sales even further, plus add wheels, is under way, he said.
Jaber said his goal is to fervently run the business and grow it back to the $1 million-plus mark over the next four years. “We get excellent support with tracking reports, marketing, and technician training from our franchise manager, operations manager, and Midas trainers who are always available to us for all types of assistance. We like to take advantage of these because it is helping us to grow.
“Midas phone surveys our customers monthly through Customer Service Index (CSI) and they are asked seven questions to grade their experience with us. They started grading us in April, and in June and July we were No. 22 in the nation, No. 5 in the western 90 shops, and No. 1 in Washington with CSI. We’re very proud of this and really go the extra mile to make sure all of our customers are happy with our service, prices, and [overall] experience at our shop. Our customers are truly our greatest asset.”