Ben George’s start in the powersports industry wasn’t wholly different than others, starting as a dealership employee before becoming an owner/operator. His evolution as an owner, however, has accelerated in a manner quite different from much of the industry.
Take his recent first quarter, a sluggish retail period for the industry at-large. Ben George, on the other hand, saw a $60,000 year-over-year improvement in net profit in that initial 3 months of 2018.
How did he do it?
“We contribute most of it to tweaks that have been made due to our 20 group experience,” said Ben George, who along with his wife Nellie owns 2Brothers Powersports, a multi-brand metric dealership in western Wisconsin.
Last summer, the Georges took the advice of another Wisconsin dealership operator to join one of Garage Composites’ 20 clubs. The clubs consist of non-competing dealers that meet regularly to identify how to maximize their sales potential and increase their profits.
“It has been great to have a group of people holding me accountable for making changes and sticking to them,” Ben George said of the 20 club experience. “The best part is I feel like this is just the start!”
The list of changes the Georges have implemented in wake of the 20 club’s suggestions include:
- Changing the sales department’s lead management system from a paper log to an electronic log. This change has led to a much-improved follow-up system and better accountability within the department. Plus sales now are on the rise. The dealership reported a 24 percent increase in unit sales in its first quarter compared to the previous-year period.
- Increasing fees in several departments, which had been stagnant or below market value, something the Georges did not feel comfortable doing until they were able to talk through the process with their 20 club peers. “It’s amazing the difference each change makes to the bottom line,” Ben George said.
- Turning the management of the service department into a much more numbers-oriented system, measuring and tracking effective labor rate, production per employee and other, critical metrics.
- Changing how the dealership operates its wholesale parts and accessories business so this part of the department has become profitable.
“There are really great things happening now,” said Nellie George, referring to the change in mindset the dealership and its staff have gone through in the past year. Not only have the Georges attended the Garage Composites’ 20 club meetings, but they also had their management staff attend a 2-day training event held by Garage Composites earlier this year in Wisconsin.
As a result, the Georges have a much more confident outlook as they draw closer to their 10th anniversary in their current building. The Georges built their dealership in 2009, what turned out to be the first of several recession-wracked years for the industry. Like many others in the industry, Ben and Nellie spent the next several years worrying about making payroll each month.
Now, with drastically different first-quarter results in hand and further bottom line improvements expected, the Georges can focus on making business improvements and growing their staff to improve customer satisfaction and further increase store profits.
“There’s buzz out there,” Ben George said, smiling and peering out onto the showroom.
For information on Garage Composites' 20 clubs, email Garage Composites' Neil Pascale at firstname.lastname@example.org