Breaking the mould – Why this JAX Tyres franchisee is throwing stereotypes for a spin

Every day Bec Bull is proving that the tyres business isn’t what people expect.

As a franchisee with JAX Tyres she’s showing her mettle in this typically male-dominated arena.

It’s as much a surprise to Bec as it is to the clients who drop in to her tyre retail outlet. This former economics law degree student spent 10 years in property development before finding her way as a business owner.

“I had spent a lot of time working for various developers handling residential and shopping centre projects, handling the development applications. In 2012 a mentioned JAX was looking for progressive business-minded franchisees. I put my hand up.

“I didn’t know anything about the tyre business, but I knew the JAX name and brand was solid. It’s a really strong business model. I realised that as 90 per cent of my day was about business modelling for other people to make money, I could do that.

“I was very comfortable with how they conducted themselves, the fees, the legal side, how inclusive it is, it was a quick and easy decision.”

Bec brought her sister into the business as assistant manager. The mechanics are male, but it’s very much a family business, and female-oriented. “I have started my apprenticeship,” Bec said. “We’ve always been about cars and trucks – though my sister is huge on bikes.”

The business’s attraction to women in business has been hugely positive, Bec said. The tyre store is located as part of a shopping centre, so many clients are women. They drop off their car, and Bec said it’s very rare if they don’t remark about how comfortable they feel dealing with the two women.

What are the keys to success?

It really is about knowing your numbers, Bec said. “You have to do a fair amount of market research and know your demographics, even though the product is tyres it’s competitive. If the industry is down, play to your strengths. It’s about where you market, how you bring the brand back. You want to capitalise on that.”

Bec believes a tyre franchise makes perfect sense as a business ownership opportunity for a woman. “Women are 52 per cent of the clientele – it’s probably more here – in an industry that is fast becoming a retail-focused business, more like a shop experience than a workshop experience.”

It’s particularly pertinent at JAX outlets where a strict standard of presentation has to be adhered to. An organised and structured layout that’s easy to maintain is a drawcard for female franchisees, suggested Bec.

“It’s just another shop, a showroom, it’s customer-service based. There is none of that grimy workshop going on anymore.”

Bec is a firm exponent of face-to-face customer service – the personal aspect to car service can bring back customers who had tried the internet experience and found it lacking.

Of course, customer service means excellent staff, and there’s no doubt that in common with business owners in food and other retail categories, Bec found staffing and rostering the biggest challenge.

“You have to watch the hours, be careful of downtime and staff around it,” she said.

Bec’s goal is to build a strong customer base in her franchise – she opened the doors to the brand new site in January. “We find we are hitting the mark quite well at the moment.”

The regional manager has proved a wealth of knowledge, just part of the back-up team that provides head office support.

While bringing in more customers is what’s driving Bec and her sister right now, she has an eye on the long-term expansion into further outlets.

“I’m focused on this business, but if the right area came up at the right time, I’d take any JAX store.”

Not only is Bec making a business for herself, she’s striding forward for women in industry too.

“We need more women in industry to deal with women on their behalf. Closing this gap is quite satisfying,” she said.

Love the automotive industry like Bec? View all available franchising opportunities here.