Tires for the fleet owner’s wife’s car: What’s the harm?

Tires for the fleet owner’s wife’s car: What’s the harm?

Fleet owners often call the fleet maintenance director and say: “My wife’s [or sons, or daughter’s] car need tires.” The director says no problem I will take care of it. Some times the director feels that he needs to make a deal with the local tire company by leveraging the business that is done between the dealer and fleet. Then he pressures the dealer and expects that the tires are free. The tire companies’ salesmen feel compelled to do so because the owner of the company need to that they are a good customer. “Who cares about a set of tires?” After all, they will consider it as a sales cost contribution.

In many cases, the owner tells the director to make sure that he is not charged for the tires the fleet gives them plenty of business, and “They have been overcharging us anyway.”

This happens more often than not. Unfortunately, the owner is doing more harm than he realizes. He is asking the maintenance director to compromise his integrity by asking or negotiating a less-than-professional business transaction.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with negotiating an aggressive deal on tires, but for no less than actual cost.

Here is the harm: The owner has sold his sole for a set of tires, $1200.

The real damage is done: The maintenance director could believe that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. After all, why should he get free tires for his car? After all, The sales guy won’t say anything. He could send his car to the dealer, get a fresh set of tires and never get an invoice.

The pressure of asking for free tires in the first place puts all parties in this circular trap. Where does it stop? VP of sales? VP of maintenance? The owner’s sister’s car? Owner’s mother’s car?

At the end of the day, the owner should just write a check. Don’t put anyone in maintenance, or any other department with in the fleet, to compromise their integrity in the position of feeling pressure to force a supplier partner into a poor position.

At the end of the day, it is stealing. Pure and simple. If the director has put himself in harm’s way and then the salesman has his him under his thumb and to some degree owns him. Whether we believe it or not, this situation alters the relationship and, in most cases, clouds future purchasing and decisions.

Say it with me: Owners should never ask for free tires; maintenance directors should not ask for free tires.

My advice for maintenance directors in this position: Buy the tires, have the work done, process the invoice. If the owner asks why you paid for the tires, the answer is: Because I do not want to compromise my integrity, and it is wrong.

At the end of the day, it is your name. Stealing, “borrowing,” pressuring–accept these compromises you compromise your job.

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