Big O Tires Franchise Review: Q&A with Tony Williams
Big O Tires franchisee Tony Williams likes being his own boss, selling a product he can believe in
Tony Williams of Mesa, Ariz., knows his stuff around cars. So when he decided to start a business, it didn’t take long for him to choose Big O Tires. Tony says it’s the best career move he’s ever made.
What were you doing before Big O Tires?
I’ve been in automotive all my life. I worked at Bridgestone/Firestone for 10 years, and before that, I worked in different shops.
How did you find out about Big O? I have a friend who works at Big O who informed me of their program and product line. Working for Firestone, a lot of customers came in with Big O tires. Trying to convert that customer from Big O to any other tire was virtually impossible. I couldn’t get them out of Big O for anything. And I thought, If I’m going to work that hard for an organization, it might as well be my own. I had noticed a building in South Phoenix painted just like Big O that was empty; it was brand-new, never opened. I contacted Rodger Anderson, franchise development manager at Big O, regarding that parcel and facility, and he told me it was available. I met him one afternoon and spent about an hour there, and at that point I made the decision to take the facility. It was June 6, 2006.
What sets Big O apart? Number one, the warranty. We have the best warranty in the industry. It’s a six-year warranty, with the first three years offering free replacement. After that, it’s prorated for a total of six years. It also comes with a road hazard warranty; it’s not something a person has to purchase.
How many stores do you own? I have six right now, and am getting ready to go to seven.
How large is the opportunity? The opportunity is as big as you want to make it. If you have a good work ethic and you’re involved in the operations and you have a good process and you execute the program and the training, the results are there.
Who are your main customers? They are the customers who surround the store in that particular market, the neighborhood customers. Those are the ones we key in on with a lot of direct marketing campaigns.
Did you have automotive experience before owning the franchise? It helps, but the biggest thing with this business is having a great attitude. We do a lot of training ourselves for other Big O franchises. There are a lot of things we can train on, but one thing you can’t train for is attitude.
How many customers do you typically serve in day? They range from 800 a month to 1,500 a month per location, or anywhere from 30 to 50 a day.
What does your typical day look like? Our stores are open Monday through Friday from 7 am to 6 pm; our Saturday hours are 7 am to 5 pm; and Sunday hours are 9 am to 4 pm. As soon as my managers open up, they are ready for operation, and they immediately take in customers and do service until the last customer comes in. I work out of an office, and at our particular office we have a training center. We are one of the only dealers in the system with a full-fledged training system for associates. We do spend time with franchisees, but most of my time is spent training their people as well as handling the financial end of business and exploring the growth potential.
What is a secret to your success? The secret to my success is I just love the Big O program. I love the system. I love the support that Big O offers. The people I’ve dealt with, from Rodger Anderson all the way up to the executive vice president and chief operating officer, Kevin Kormondy. They make it really easy to enjoy what I do. All the support I get makes it easy and makes it a lot of fun.
What kind of person would enjoy owning a Big O Tires franchise? Anybody who enjoys working with the community, anybody who enjoys retail sales and anybody who has the right attitude.
What does franchise ownership allow you to do that you couldn’t before? It allows me to come and go as I please and take time off when I want the time off. It gives me more time with my family — I have a 7-year-old son and 3-year-old twin girls. It allows me a lot of freedom to spend time with my kids.
Would you recommend a Big O Tires franchise to someone else? Why? Absolutely. Before I became a Big O tire dealer, I looked at various franchises in the automotive industry. By far, Big O has the strongest support system to help somebody get into the system with ease and with little stress, and it’s a fantastic organization.