I'm amazed that I can call 3 different Big-O-Tires here in Las Vegas and get 3 very different prices for the exact same tires! Doing so always allows me to find a better discont than I could possibly even do with a great coupon.
Our Hyundai Santa Fe just hit 70,000 miles, which is 10,000 miles over the expected lifetime of the manufacturer installed P235/60/18 102H tires that came with the car when we bought it brand new.
On a recent visit to Planet Hyundai on Sahara to for an oil change (over time I've befriended a guy in service, who always hooks me up with a great price on maintenance and even lets me us a coupon on top of it), they gave me the warning that I need to get my tires changed as the tread was getting into the "red" level on their green/yellow/red inspection sheet indicator.
While I was waiting, I had my guy get me a price quote on 4 new tires with the size/specs written down, which came to be about $900. And as I sat waiting for my oil change to finish, I used those specs and called a Big-O-Tires near my house and got a price for the exact same tires. The manager at that store said he could do $830 out-the-door with tax, install, etc included (I did turn down the extended warranty pricing - I always turn down the warranty; a subject for another post).
I went back to my guy at the Hyundai and said I just called over to Big-O-Tires and got a quote for $830 out-the-door. He admitted that he couldn't beat that price and this was an area that he had been complaining to management that they aren't competitive enough.
Though I like to be loyal, I don't give money away. I decided not to make any decisions and left after the oil change. They didn't have my size tire in stock anyway, so I would have had to come back to get them installed anyway.
The next day, I called another Big-O-Tires near my son's day care, thinking I'd drop him off and then go get the tires changed.
This Big-O-Tires gave me a price of $860 "out-the-door" without extended warranty, which was $30 more than the other store the day before.
On a whim, I asked him if he had something comparable in traction, noise level, expected mileage lifespan, and speed rating. He recommended the Nitto Crosstek which he said is very similar; also a very good and quiet tire, even having little better speed rating.
So I asked him to give me a quote.
He said he could do $730 out-the-door, no warranty. That sounded like a decent price so I took down his name (so I knew who I spoke to if the price later changed) and set up an appointment for the following week to have them installed.
Since the price was different by about $30 on the Bridgestone tires, I figured I call another Big-O-Tires and see what price another other store would give me on the same Nitto Crosstek tires.
That next Big-O-Tires quoted me $860 out-the-door without warranty. That was an astonishing $130 more!
So I asked the guy, "Does each Big-O-Tires set its own price or is there standard pricing".
He responded that its standard pricing.
So I said, "Well I called another Big-O-Tires and he quoted me a much lower price, how is that possible".
His response was that, "Well he probably gave you a buy 3 get 1 free deal".
So I said, "Well I'd rather come to your store as its closer, so can you beat the $720 out-the-door price the other store gave me". I added an extra $10 discount off the $730 price the first store offered, for my troubles 🙂
The guy made some noise on his computer and said, "Sure, I can get you out-the-door at $719.77".
So I set up an appointment with him.
Then just for further learning experience I called a 3rd Big-O-Tires. This guy gave me a quote of $889 out-the-door without warranty.
When I questioned him about the standard pricing, he said its all standard and I'd get the same price from all the stores. So I told him about one of the other stores and said, "Well I called one of your other stores and he said he could do $720 out-the-door. Why can't you match that?"
His response was that I should take that deal and that the other store manager would probably get in trouble for giving me that low of pricing as its nearly cost.
I didn't tell him that not one, but two other stores gave me that lower pricing; so I doubt they are both doing something that will get them in trouble. They just both knew to take business where the could get it. The first guy gave me a deal because he knew I was calling around trying to get best pricing. The second guy gave me a deal because he knew I could get a better deal and wanted the revenues.
You have to realize, that often times businesses, especially franchises, will take revenues even if they don't make much of a profit because it helps them hit sales targets which often get them kickbacks or discounts.
So the lesson learned here, which I prove to myself over and over by doing stuff like this, is that very little is standard in this world, even stuff that customer service people guarantee is standard, especially when it comes to anything to do with a car or any service industry. And with a few calls you can likely save yourself a lot of money.
If you think about it, I spent about 30 minutes making calls, to save myself $100. That's like paying myself $200/hour to work for myself.