Big O Tires Franchise Review: Award-Winner Dave Doyle’s Story
Big O Tires franchise owner Dave Doyle says customer service and commitment to employees have been keys to success
Dave and Annie Doyle have been Big O Tires franchise owners since 1999, when they bought their first store in Mooresville, Indiana, near Indianapolis. Since then, the store’s revenue has increased eightfold, and the couple has bought a second store in nearby Plainfield.
Dave received a Standing “O” Award at this year’s Big O tires convention in Las Vegas for his continued excellence and support of Big O. This is his story.
What were you doing before Big O Tires?
I was in the oil-change business. I owned an independent quick-lube business that opened in 1980. I sold it in 1995, then worked for Quaker State for a few years. I was interested in starting another business, and Big O Tires was building a store at the time with the idea of selling it to a franchisee once it was built. I wasn’t familiar with Big O tires at the time, but I met the area representative and got interested.
What did you like about Big O?
I liked the fact that I could have my quick lube 25 feet from my tire store and not be all spread out with multiple locations. You can’t make it with just one quick lube. With my previous business, I had one in Lansing, Michigan, one in Dayton, Ohio, and four in Indianapolis. I was running all over the place. Quick lubes are kind of like Subway — you have to have several of them to make it work.
What sets Big O apart from other opportunities?
I’ve been in automotive my whole life, and I like their whole program. I like the Big O product line, the warranties. Everything is built in to the price of the tires, and nobody had a warranty program like Big O’s when I started. I was very impressed by whole deal. That’s what sold me on it.
How large is the opportunity?
There’s a lot, because we do a lot more than tires. We do brakes, struts, alignment, suspension repair. We’ve got pretty much an opportunity there for anything they need except for major engine repair. It’s convenient for customers. When they bring their car in for tire rotation or alignment, they can get everything done. Everybody has a busy schedule, and they appreciate being able to get things done at one time.
What do you like about the job?
I’ve been in customer service my whole life. I like taking care of people and exceeding their expectations. The difference between us and corporate chains is that the buck stops with us. The owner is here. If there is a situation with a car, the guy who makes the decisions is right here. That makes a big difference.
Also, I have seven or eight guys who have been here more than 10 years. That’s typical of businesses where the owner is there most days. It helps create a nice, friendly atmosphere. We have a small-town atmosphere that’s set in a tire store. I think that’s what sets us apart.
Tell us about the small-town feel.
We have a ton of people who have been coming here for as long as we’ve been open. We’re very active in the community. We have lots of regulars. We have a lot of great customers that become friends.
Why do customers like you so much?
We’re not going to try to sell them something they don’t need. We also do things to help people out. We do flat repairs for free. A lot of places charge $30 or $40. Whether you bought your tires here or not, we fix it for free. People appreciate that, and they remember it.
I tell my customers I’ve got a 30-year mortgage. I’m not trying to figure out how much I can get out of you when you come in, I want to figure out how I can serve you the best, so you’ll keep coming back. I want to have your business on a long-term basis.
Customer loyalty comes from treating your employees well, too. I’m of the mindset that my employees are just as important as my customers. If you don’t have good, loyal, friendly employees, they’re not going to want to take care of your customers.
We care about employees and their families. They’re the ones out there on the line every day taking care of customers. If you pay them a little more than average and take the time to understand their lives, they reward you.
Tell us about the Big O family. What’s the franchisee network like?
There is a lot of experience and a lot of great guys who grew up in the business. As far as Big O Tires dealers, I’m a novice. I’m in awe of some of those guys.
What would you tell someone considering owning a Big O?
You have to have a servant’s heart. You have to genuinely have it in your heart to be a servant and take care of people. You can’t just come in, buy the place, hire a manager and walk away. As a franchise, we have to find people who are happy to answer the phone, talk to customers and match prices.
Want to join the Big O Tires family?
Franchisees have helped Big O Tires grow for 50 years, and we offer a lot of support and systems to make it easier for them to run a successful business. To learn more about Big O Tires — including startup costs, financial performance, training and support — fill out a form to download our free franchise report to start a conversation or call 1-800-622-2446. We look forward to talking with you!