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"I can't think of any commercial dealer whose profits today are as good as they were in the past," says Joe Esco, owner of Joe Esco Tire Co., headquartered in Oklahoma City.
"Heaven knows we couldn't make a living today if we were only in the medium truck tire business," adds Gaithor Brown, executive vice president of Free Tire Service Co. in Johnson City, Tenn.
With the competition growing and truck tire margins shrinking, commercial tire dealers -- large and small -- are on the lookout for opportunities to improve and expand their services beyond their core business.
"It's the extras -- service, retreading and others -- that keep all of us going," says Brown.
For some commercial dealers, one of these profitable extras is selling passenger and light truck tires to all of their fleet accounts.
However, it's an opportunity often overlooked by others. That's too bad since filling passenger tire needs for truck tire customers frequently represents an easy sale.
Commercial dealers say that, believe it or not, gross margins are often substantially higher on their commercial passenger tire business than they are for truck.
Even when they're only an "extra," the passenger and light truck tire sales are …