What does it take to be an OKO Tyre Sealant Distributor?
As you will see from the list of International Distributors at www.oko.com (go to the Products section then from any product, click on ‘Find a Distributor’) there is a fast-growing group of companies who are profitably selling OKO tyre sealants around the world. What is their secret? Is there a formula for success?
OKO Distributors come in all shapes and sizes, but in general they are run by people who have a knowledge of vehicle markets. In particular, commercial vehicles. This may mean –
- Agriculture & Forestry
- Construction & Demolition
- Mining & Quarrying
- Trucks & Trailers
- Buses & Coaches
- Public service heavy vehicles
You do not need to have experience of all of them, but what these sectors share is a high incidence of punctures: the need to avoid expensive downtime and tyre replacements: and high tyre purchase costs. They need OKO: they just do not all know it yet.
Furthermore, from a tyre sealant supply point of view, they typically need several litres of sealant per tyre. After an initial trial, it is a rare fleet operator that does not want to continue to enjoy the protection that OKO brings. This is excellent repeat business.
This is why the Distributors that have lasted and grown for many years have mostly been those that concentrated on the Big Tyre Opportunity.
But what about cars? Many people approach us, excited by the apparent opportunity presented by the immense car population. We always point out that we can and do supply cars but with several clear warnings – because with cars you are usually dealing with private individuals, not expert fleet operators, and things can go wrong, often due to human error or lack of knowledge.
- Failure to balance all wheels professionally before fitting sealant
- Not maintaining correct tyre pressures
- Tendency to over-dose or under-dose individual tyres
- Dosing only one tyre on an axle
- Failure to run-in the sealant so it coats the tyre properly
- Attempting to use sealant after a puncture (it may work but damage is likely to have been done so the car must be taken slowly to the nearest garage)
- Sealants are not suitable for very low-profile tyres
- Sealants are not suitable for V-rated and higher-rated high-speed tyres
- Sealants will coat some TPMS sensors and they will fail to record the tyre’s pressure: you have to check with the system manufacturer before using sealant
- Fancy chromed wheels are fragile and not suitable for sealant use
You will not hear these issues explicitly stated on other manufacturers’ sites, but OKO believe in telling the truth – and that is that the car market is not the best one on which to base your tyre sealant business launch. The clinching point is that you may spend a lot of time convincing one person to treat their tyre and then you will sell them one 1.25 litre bottle or supply a service of fitting 4 small tyres. It is not a great use of your time.
The car market is more worthwhile in countries where roads are very bad, causing low average speeds and a high rate of punctures. And we should add that 4×4 on road/ off road vehicles with proper high-profile tyres are well suited to tyre sealant use.
What of 2-wheeled markets? Well, these are high volume / low dosage markets too: but they do not suffer the same issues as cars, and OKO has launched dedicated products for bikes and for motorbikes, often with dedicated Distributors who specialise solely in 2-wheel markets in their countries. The bike and motorbike ranges are the most extensive of any on the market, and have significant performance benefits over other products.
The other factors that OKO will want to discuss with you if you apply for a distributorship (OKO does not believe in franchises, preferring to appoint dedicated Distributors, often exclusive ones) are –
- that you have the finance to invest in holding stock, for your launch and afterwards to supply a good customer service:
- that you can cover all the key regions that you wish to serve:
- and that you have the right calibre of management and staff.
OKO of course assists with initial training and with the launch, as well as supplying an unequalled package of marketing and service materials and ongoing support and advice. It is in everyone’s interest that the venture succeeds.
Let no-one tell you that this is an easy business to walk into: in the first year you will do a lot of demonstrations and will have to convince customers of the value of the products. But once you put the work in, and are over that period, you will benefit from increasing revenue and profit and with the support of the OKO products, prices, promotion and reputation, you will be able to fight off any competition.