Instead of going to a shop to buy tires and waiting while they are installed on your car, what if the shop came to you?
That’s the concept behind Zohr Mobile Tire Service, which may be the Kansas City area’s only business that offers mobile tire service, repair and installation — and nothing more.
Two 20-something brothers from the Northland, Komal and Anoop Choong, started Zohr Mobile Tire Service late last year.
The pitch is convenience: A Zohr technician will come to your home or office and install, service or repair your tires while you go about your business or leisure.
It’s a concept that has been applied to other automotive services, such as windshields. Mobile tire service has been offered for years in some other cities, but it’s fairly new to the Kansas City area. Shore Tire has offered mobile tire work, along with other services, since at least 2012.
Komal Choong said he saw an opportunity to run his business out of his home and garage using a new, specially equipped Mercedes van that he designed. The van is outfitted with mounting and balancing tools, a pressurized air hose, a compartment for carrying tires and other equipment.
The name Zohr has no meaning in English. Komal Choong said it was one of just a few four-letter .com URLs still available, and he thought it conveyed “strength, power, force.”
Whereas most tire shops keep sizable inventories in stock, Zohr customers purchase their tires online, either through Zohr or a Web-only retailer like TireRack.com.
The tires are then shipped to Zohr, which installs them for the customer on-site.
“We try to get the best deal for the customer,” Choong said.
He said Zohr has established relationships with a number of manufacturers, and most of the best-known tire brands are represented on its website, Zohr.com.
Zohr is an authorized installer for Tire Rack, which is favored by many local auto racers and other high-performance car enthusiasts. Choong said he intends to “build a strong connection with the enthusiast market” by, among other things, appearing at local car shows, races and other events.
Choong is an automobile enthusiast himself. He worked on race cars while attending the Missouri University of Science and Technology at Rolla, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering. He was recruited to join Space X in California and spent a couple of years there before returning to his hometown.
“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset and a passion for cars,” he explained. “I came across a company similar to what we are doing, and it intrigued me. ... I liked this because of the fact that there’s no waiting in the shop, and you can see everything happening on-site if you want to.”
As for prices, Zohr charges $80 to rotate and rebalance a set of four tires, according to its website. For rotation only, it’s $50 for four tires. The company said there is no extra fee for the convenience factor as long as it’s not an emergency and two or more tires are being installed. A fuel surcharge may apply for trips to outer suburbs, the website said.
“Generally, our service prices are slightly higher than your standard tire shop,” said Choong, “but our tire prices are generally the same if not lower than most shops’.”
So far, he said, customer feedback has been good.
“They can pay for the service online, give us a call, give us their keys and they are done in an hour or so,” Choong said. “This gives you your time back.”
Chad Frownfelter heard about the service through a friend and gave it a try several months ago.
“They were able to recommend a very dependable, quality tire, came to my house within 24 hours and removed and disposed of my old tires, and mounted and balanced the new tires right in my driveway in under two hours,” he said.
“It was incredibly convenient since I didn’t have to leave my house to have all the work performed,” Frownfelter said. “They also were very helpful when it came to recommending tires based on my needs and were cost sensitive.”
Choong said the lack of store overhead helps Zohr keep its service prices competitive with other providers. While Zohr offers rotation, balancing and repair services in addition to new tires, it is not designed to be an emergency option for breakdowns.
Future business plans may involve offering more than tire service, Choong said. “We could offer a subscription service for tire rotation, wheel balancing, oil changes,” he said. “We could be your one-stop shop for everything auto-maintenance related.”