Business Spotlight: Tunex – Draper

Draper Journal, September 3, 2008 — By Peri Kinder

A reliable vehicle is more than just a luxury. In today’s commuting world, it’s almost a necessity. However, dead batteries, bad brakes, failing transmissions and other mechanical problems can put a damper on the workday. Regular preventative maintenance can catch many of these problems before they become a big inconvenience. At Tunex, located at 12470 S. Minuteman Drive in Draper, qualified technicians review each car that comes in the shop, taking the time to fix small problems before they become expensive headaches.

“It’s our cornerstone philosophy to analyze the complete car first.” says Boyd Ennis, Tunex vice president. “We diagnose and give people a price for fixing the problem before doing any repair.”

Boyd recommends regular maintenance check-ups for all vehicles, starting at about 3,000 miles with a car inspection and oil change. With more miles, Boyd says, replacing filters, inspecting brakes, flushing the power steering and transmission, and rotating tires can stave off all kinds of future mechanical problems. Although it might cost a little more to maintain your vehicle, it will become an overall cost savings in the long run. Once a small problem affects the engine or transmission, a domino effect will kick in to affect other parts of your vehicle.

“Getting a full-blown analysis at least once a year is critical,” Boyd says. “It’s a huge priority for us. No one plans on car repairs, so what we try to do is make is as painless as possible.”

To understand the advanced computer systems in today’s vehicle, the technicians at Tunex receive constant training and education to keep up-to-date on the latest technology. The experienced and qualified employees give great suggestions when it comes to car repair. Additionally, any service performed at Tunex is guaranteed for six months or 6,000 miles at any Tunex in the country.

“What worked for your dad’s car in 1975 won’t work for your car today.” Boyd says. “It’s just unbelievable the amount of computer technology. We have a checklist for each problem that comes in.”

Tunex is open 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday. For additional information contact 572-6612 or visit www.tunex.com.

Tunex has been in the Salt Lake area for more than 30 years offering customers top-quality car service, repair and maintenance. Boyd says Tunex employees are proud to be a part of the Draper community. The company sponsors rodeos, volunteers, at community events and helps support local efforts. The clean and comfortable store offers great customer service by providing the best car repair possible.

“We’re not the cheapest buy around, but we’re the best quality.” Boyd says. “We really sell peace of mind knowing your car has been gone all the way through.”

Tunex on Top Gear: Cedar City Franchise is Best in the Nation for 2008

The Spectrum, Cedar City, UT

Cedar City – Based on gross sales, customer service, quality control and cost, the Cedar City Tunex, in one of the company’s smallest markets, was named as the best Tunex franchise in the nation for 2008.

Boyd Ennis, Tunex vice president, said he is impressed with the quality and numbers put forth by the Cedar City franchise, located at 1220 Sage Drive, especially since it is in the second smallest market. “They are competing against some big markets here, ” he said.

The Tunex Corporation was started in 1972 with the firs service center opening two years later in Murray in an effort to provide and recommend automobile services and repairs, according to the Web Site, www.tunex.com.

Steve Sillitoe, Cedar City Tunex owner, said although this is the first year his franchise has receivd an actual plaque for their efforts, they have been ranked as the highest in years past.

“We have been the top producer in the five out of seven years I have been here,” he said.

Sillitoe said he was excited to win the award, and knows it is based on the hard work of his employees and managing staff. “It’s based on good location, good management and good customer service,” he said. “It was a big deal to receive the plaque.”

Charles Flowers, manager for the Cedar City Tunex, said he was pleased to learn about the award and attributes it to community support. “Despite the economy, the locals have supported us quite well,” he said. “We have enjoyed the support of the community in our cause to keep the cars on the road.”

In light of the economy, the overall company is doing well, Ennis said. “People can’t afford new cars right now, so they have to make sure they are running in top shape,” he said. “We are in a good spot.”

As of October 2008, there were 27 Tunex franchise locations with seven more planned, according to the company’s Web site.

Existing Stores Ramp Up Their Preventive Techniques

In Salt Lake City, where Tunex has its headquarters, many stores want to expand to the complete car care model, but are not able to do so because of property issues—they simply don’t have enough real estate at their current sites.

Travis Staker is one such owner. Although he doesn’t have room to build a full Oil Express on his Sugarhouse Tunex property in Salt Lake City, he knows he needs full service to compete with the newer stores. His solution was to convert the two front bays of his repair center into oil-change bays and to add the Delphi diagnostic platform.

The results have been good. Staker says he saw increases in both customer volume and profits within the first couple of months.

One reason profits on the lube side of the business have been better than they might otherwise have been in the current economy is that Staker received financing assistance for the lube and oil-change equipment from Tunex’s preferred oil vendor.

Staker isn’t alone in reaping benefits like this as a Tunex franchisee. All Tunex stores offer Shell and Justice Brothers products, and in exchange, these companies provide franchisees like Staker with advertising help, national pricing and equipment financing.

Hours of operation at the new South Jordan store (106th South and 1300 West) are from 8 am to 8 pm on the Oil Express side and 8 am to 6 pm on the repair side.

New Approach Drives Revenue for Franchisees

If the South Jordan store’s opening is any indication, the model will work as well for franchisees as it does for customers.

“They were going six at a time during opening weekend,” says Butterfield. “We serviced 220 customers—the cars lined the streets.”

Part of the draw was the free health checks being offered to all comers during the grand opening, but Ennis and Butterfield say customer feedback has remained very positive, and business has been steady since that first weekend.

Franchisees and potential franchisees like this model—so much in fact that Tunex can’t get them started fast enough. Butterfield says he wanted to have some corporate-owned, full-service sites, but as soon as they begin one, they sell. One is currently being built in Riverton, Utah (it’s about 60 days away from opening), and four more underway in Springville, Clinton, Saratoga Springs and the Alpine/Highland areas of Utah.

Sillitoe says the new model has not only increased the number of individuals considering a Tunex franchise, but has also changed the way potential franchisees view the company.

“There’s nothing like it out there,” he says. “No other franchise can offer what we do because it’s like having two businesses in one. You pay for one, but you get two.”

Stores Give Customers a Clean, Green Experience

One of the first things any customer will notice at the new Tunex stores is their immaculate, doctor’s office feel. The customer waiting area is positioned strategically between the repair and oil change sides of the business, where it is quiet, clean and complete with a television set that shows auto care programming and with a variety of magazines (and not just about cars!) to help pass the time.

The experience is kept pleasant and grease-free by a few smart design features: separate restrooms for employees and customers and a comfortable employee break room upstairs with a refrigerator and lockers so that technicians don’t have to eat their lunch in the customer waiting room.

On the “green” side, Tunex is taking every step possible to protect the environment. The new stores capture and re-burn used oil to heat the building—even crushing used oil filters to extract and re-burn every last drop. They also recycle antifreeze and use a hose system to suck up waste oil so that none is spilled on the ground.

But what about leaks or spills in the lube bays? Those seem somewhat inevitable, but Butterfield thought of that, too, by designing bays with no drains.

“That way if there is a leak, it doesn’t get into the storm drains,” he says. “It’s contained so it can be cleaned up.”

“This is a hostile environment, with chemicals and oils,” Ennis adds, “so whatever we can do to try to help is a good thing. Good for everybody.”

Rx for Your Auto Tunex Complete Car Care Blends Express Oil Change with Traditional Car Repair

Doctors have been praising the benefits of preventive medicine for decades. Now Tunex is taking this philosophy out of the health clinic and bringing it to car owners who understand the value of keeping their vehicles fit.

The new concept was launched this month with the grand opening of a Tunex Complete Car Care store in South Jordan, Utah. The new store puts traditional Tunex car repair on one side of the building and a full-service Oil Express center on the other. Going forward, all Tunex franchises will follow this model—giving customers access to reliable professionals who not only fix car problems, but also help prevent them.

“We are taking the expertise and equipment we use for diagnostics on the car repair side and moving them over to the Oil Express side,” says Boyd Ennis, Tunex vice president of franchise sales.

This new approach offers real benefits for both customers and the franchise owners.

DIAGNOSTICS HELP CUSTOMERS PLAN AND SAVE

“When customers know what is happening with their cars, they can budget, prepare and plan,” Ennis says.

To help customers plan their car care, Tunex centers now offer the Delphi diagnostic platform, which allows technicians to link wirelessly to a car and retrieve key performance data. Customers receive a color printout with green text for “good” findings and red for “warning” issues—things they should handle now or in the future. With these printouts, customers can build a health file for their vehicle similar to what they might receive from a doctor’s office. They can track performance over time and plan to make repairs before problems become critical and costly.

“It’s like going to the hospital for a blood test, but it’s a test on your vehicle, and it’s free,” says Tunex Franchise Representative Steve Sillitoe.

Nick Butterfield, Tunex president and CEO, says his stores are the only ones in Utah offering the Delphi platform. This service gives both them and their customers a competitive advantage: Using the Delphi codes, Tunex can help customers monitor gas mileage and fuel injection—often delivering two to three more miles per gallon.

In addition to the Delphi print out, customers receive a first-hand look at the health of their vehicle’s fluids. On a white plastic tray they see drops of everything from brake fluid to antifreeze, along with a color code showing what each type of fluid ought to look like. With this tool, technicians can tell customers, for instance, that the alkaline level of their antifreeze is getting high before it corrodes the vehicle’s system.

Another significant benefit for customers is convenience.

“Say you are having an oil change, and they discover you have a cracked CV boot, bad alternator or squeaky brakes,” Ennis says. “At most places, the customers are on their own. Here, they don’t even have to change chairs in the waiting room.”

According to Clay Liston, president of Performance Auto Ltd, which runs the Tunex in Orem, Utah, customers care more about convenience than ever before.

“Time is everything, more and more, every year, for people,” Liston says. “Having two services in one location is a real benefit.”

Liston should know; he has been in this business for 32 years and is currently working on financing to create a Super Tunex right off I-15 in Orem.

“One of the biggest things I see is that everything is going to convenience,” he says. “Rather than driving across town and fighting the stoplights, people will prefer to get on the freeway and go somewhere close to an exit. Drive time is becoming very important to people, especially when it’s their car they are working on.”