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What you need to know about floorplan financing.

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Most dealers in the powersports industry use floorplan financing. There are some dealers who are able to use floorplan financing for the free interest terms (if available) and then pay out product. The majority of dealers depend on floorplan financing in order to maintain an adequate level of inventory that allows them to offer and sell a variety of product to their customers. There is very little written about the relationship between a dealership and their floorplan lender. We accept that these lenders are a “necessary evil” in order to do business, but what happens when the relationship becomes strained and why did that happen?

Productivity, efficiency and accuracy

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Many years ago… Okay it was decades ago, I read over and over that the Service Department should produce enough revenue to look after the fixed costs (rent or mortgage, utilities, etc) of a dealership. I don’t hear that type of statement anymore. I hear and read more about how profitability is a challenge for the Service Dept. For a department expected to make a 70% margin, is it not possible to generate enough revenue to cover fixed costs?

Parts Dept. The neglected sibling

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My first experience on how much impact a Parts department can have on a dealership was several years ago when I was an Operations Manager for a large RV, Marine and Powersports dealership. When it came time for our year end, we brought in an inventory counting service to assist us so that we could be finished in a weekend. When the dust had settled and we compared the physical count to our general ledger records, we were short by a number that reached into 6 figures. I was stunned. How could this happen to such an extreme amount?

Brand loyalty belongs to your business

I’ll admit it, I’ve been around for a while. Many years have been spent with floorplan finance companies, managing a territory for an OEM and running a few powersports dealerships. All those varied experiences have allowed me to visit hundreds of different dealerships and one of the things that sticks in my mind during those visits was the intense loyalty many dealers had towards a particular brand they represented in their dealership.

Separating the wheat from chaff.

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Perhaps some of you haven’t heard the expression, “separating the wheat from chaff”. Essentially, it means separating something that has worth from something that doesn’t have worth. In this example the grain itself has worth, while the husk that protects the grain has less or no worth.

It all starts with communication

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Merriam-Webster defines communication as: the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else; successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings.

Your customers aren’t always dressed for success Don’t miss an opportunity

Customers come in all shapes and sizes, all colors and ages, men and women who can be CEO’s or the person who serves breakfast at your favorite restaurant. It’s important to remember that they all have something in common when they walk through your door and that is: They are interested in what you have in your store so don’t let their appearance stop you from getting their business.

Women are very important consumers. Never forget that

The year is 2016 and I’m writing about the importance of recognizing and respecting women who walk into a dealership to make a purchase. I find it unfortunate that this subject still needs to be discussed as women possess a tremendous amount of purchasing power. Women are significant contributors to society and to the economy, having positions from the barista at your favorite coffee shop to CEO’s of corporations and everything in between, so why do some dealerships still treat women as second class citizens when they visit their store?

Floorplan interest expense. Are you paying too much?

For the vast majority of dealerships in the RV, Marine and Powersports industries, one of the largest expenses incurred is inventory floorplan interest charges. Dealerships that have experienced reduced sales, slower turns or fell into the trap of ordering too much inventory, find out very quickly how heavy the burden of floorplan interest expense really is.

Employee Cell Phones Weaken Customer Service

Recently, I had just finished a meal at a local restaurant and wanted to enjoy a cup of coffee but had trouble getting the attention of the waitress who had her head buried in her cellphone. A good friend and associate of mine went to a hospital to visit a relative and when asking what room the relative was in, the nurse responded with the room number without even lifting her head that was focused on her cellphone. A Powersports dealership I visited was so frustrated at the lack of productivity that they had to forcibly take away every employee’s cell phone and keep them until closing.