All Pro Motorsports sets a precedent in the sales and servicing of pre-owned productAll Pro used bikes retail Wisconsin Independent
Paul Konieczny isn't one of those dealer principals who spends his days counting money while relying on a huge team of workers to ensure that his investment remains profitable. To the contrary, he's a hands-on working man, doing everything from servicing to selling to sweeping in an effort to make his nonfranchised retail location, All Pro Motorsports in Waukesha, Wis., the best it can be.
Konieczny worked as a tech and service manager in Milwaukee-area motorcycle dealerships for a decade before setting out to open a business of his own in 1997. His penchant for top-notch service work helped lure a loyal following of customers away from the businesses where he had previously worked, and every penny he made during the first several years was reinvested back into his operation to supply an ever-changing stable of quality pre-owned motorcycles and a broad selection of sought-after parts, garments and accessories.
Now, 12 years after opening, All Pro Motorsports — Dealernews' 2009 Best Independent Dealership in the nation — has a reputation for outstanding customer service, sells more than 500 used motorcycles per year, has formed business relationships with multiple franchised dealers in the area and is well known for being one of the few businesses in Southeastern Wisconsin willing to work on bikes, regardless of their age.
According to Konieczny's wife and dealership co-owner, Traci, it's his knowledge of the product and desire to lead by example rather than dictate that has helped him gain respect from both his customer base and his employees.
"I'm not a glamorous guy," Konieczny says sheepishly. "I've had to build this place up from nothing, so I'm just very aware of everything that needs to be done on a daily basis. You have to take care of everything, every day, and not miss a beat. Whatever it takes."
All Pro is located in a 8,400 sq. ft. commercial building on a one-acre lot adjacent to a busy four-lane highway that serves as the main thoroughfare through Waukesha.
The 4,200 sq. ft. showroom is packed with nearly 100 motorcycles displayed in orderly fashion on the floor, helmets and apparel aligned neatly along the perimeter walls, and a host of popular maintenance items positioned around the service desk. The 1,800 sq. ft. service department is behind the main showroom, separated by the customer service counter and a firewall, and the remaining 2,400 sq. ft. of space at the back end of the building serves as a devoted warehouse/storage area. Six large picture windows help with interior lighting and serve as display portholes to passers-by, and during summer months the dealership opens its large front doors and extends its showroom outside.
Konieczny says Wisconsin's cold winters make his business "very seasonal."
"From the end of March until the end of August is my busiest time, so we try to make as much money during that period as we can," he says. "But, because of our service reputation, we stay busy, and in this economy I think I'm doing probably better than most. Since our hourly rate may be a couple of dollars less than the franchised dealers in the area, I think people who are trying to save money come to us."
Any other benefits to not being a franchised dealer? "Absolutely," he says. "There's no floor-planning — nobody coming in to check how many bikes we have. It's nice, because I can pick and choose what I want to have and sell."
All Pro's showroom is divided in half, with sportbikes and related PG&A staged on one side and custom/cruiser bikes and related PG&A staged on the other side. The cruiser section typically has a large selection of Harleys, Hondas and Yamahas, and the sportbike side is predominantly Japanese bikes sprinkled with a selection of Buells, Triumphs and Ducatis.
"We probably do an equal amount of each," Konieczny says. "We have a lot of late-model units, so people often think we are a franchise dealer. Once every week or two someone will ask me, 'Are these all new?'" (See sidebar.)
Konieczny says he had done quite well with ATVs in past years, but experienced a downturn in 2008 and continues to have a hard time selling them unless it's at a blow-out price.
Konieczny says he sells five to 10 personal watercraft per year — usually during June, through August — but gave up on snowmobiles after a few years of low snow conditions. "We just weren't making any money on them," he says. "So, now, I only sell two or three a year when guys come in and want to trade them off for a bike."
All Pro has made a name for itself by catering to owners of nearly any brand and model year motorcycle. (See sidebar.)
The service department has five work bays, one of which is used exclusively for detailing, an enclosed room with an in-ground Dynojet dyno, and even the specialized equipment necessary to offer complete bodywork and upholstery services. Plus, due to Wisconsin's extreme weather conditions, the service department is air-conditioned as well as heated, and there are floor drains for washing bikes indoors whatever the weather.
"Most of what we do is tires and tune-ups — a lot of carburetion, computer work to tune fuel systems and other upkeep work on brakes, fluids, seals, gaskets, valves and suspension," Konieczny explains. "Also, I don't know if it is because I worked in a Honda store a long time ago, but we have a large base of Gold Wing owners who come to us for work. In the summer, it's not unusual to see five or six Gold Wings lined up for service. And that's a nice little chunk of our business."
How are the technicians trained? "My guys have been working for me for so long that they can usually figure things out," Konieczny says. "Plus, we have service manuals and we have contacts at franchise dealers, so if we do need some technical advice, those guys will offer up suggestions. I can remember only two or three jobs in the past 10 years that we got stumped on."
As for the dyno, "It's a great tool to do proper jetting and tuning," Konieczny says. "We use it all of the time — probably 25 percent of our dyno work is other people's work that is not quite right and the customers don't want to go back to where the work was done the first time. So it's a good thing for us as an independent dealer."
Helmets serve as All Pro's best-selling accessory item. As for apparel, the dealership only carries jackets and gloves.
"I'd do more in other apparel if I had the space, but I don't," Konieczny says. "Plus we use the helmets, jackets and gloves as a sales tool to help move bikes. I may tell a customer I have to get full sticker on the bike, but that I will throw in any helmet, jacket and gloves we have in the store."
Dealers often talk about how they make greater profits off of PG&A than vehicle sales. "Not for me," Konieczny says. "The used bike profitability, for me, is better than the profits I make in the service and parts departments. A big chunk of my profit comes from selling bikes.
"The OEM parts I sell I receive by going through a middleman, who is of course a franchised dealer, so I don't make as much profit on parts as those OEM dealers do."
Aftermarket PG&A is obtained via distributors like Parts Unlimited, Tucker Rocky, Bell Industries, Western Power Sports and KL Supply. While All Pro sells them at suggested retail price, "What I find is that our prices are often below what other
dealerships are selling the items for," Konieczny says. "We don't make quite as large of a markup and don't make quite the margins.
"But we don't sell the PG&A to make big bucks. We see it as another one of the services offered to our customers."
Konieczny serves as All Pro's general manager and Traci runs the office and behind-the-scenes daily business affairs. He also employs a team of four service technicians, a fifth part-time technician during summer months, and a part-time gofer.
While all the employees are hired as experts to perform a specific job, all of them also work across job title lines when necessary. Konieczny says it's a tactic that encourages team building and ensures optimal customer service during the busiest of times.
"Each position has a base pay, but anything performed above and beyond the required job receives additional hourly pay, bonuses and commissions," Konieczny says. "When crossing the job title lines and wearing different hats, our crew is able to make additional profits. I've heard that it's motivating to all when they're able to make additional profits doing things other than what they were hired for." Other tactics offered to encourage team building include twice-monthly paid lunches, storewide team meetings, trips to trade shows, and even the occasional paid long weekend away to mark a special event such as an anniversary. An incentive offered last year to stoke morale at the beginning of the 2008 season was a four-night, five-day all-expenses-paid vacation to Las Vegas for every employee and their significant other.
"This year, in this down economy, if the employees can match last year's sales, they get a $2,000 travel bonus to go wherever they want," Konieczny says.
Last year more than 21 percent of All Pro's total cycle sales were from out of state, and the dealership even sold a handful of units to international buyers. As a result, Konieczny in the past year began offering delivery services and a fly-in/drive-home option.
The fly-in/drive-home option allows the customer to fly to Milwaukee, get picked up by Konieczny or one of his employees, be united with his or her ride, and then ride home on the new purchase. Delivery to foreign locales must be arranged by the purchaser, but stateside delivery is offered via a shipping provider called Daily Direct, which will pick up a bike at the shop and deliver it anywhere on the continent.
"Also, I have a person who is semi-retired who I hire part-time to deliver bikes," Konieczny says. "In fact, he has taken bikes to places like Louisiana and New York for me with our truck and trailer because the customer was willing to pay for it. But, any time I do that, I always make sure I have a bike in that location that I want to pick up and bring back and make some money on."
All Pro doesn't operate an F&I department. However, the dealership does assist customers in obtaining financing via the development of working relationships with local banks and credit unions.
Konieczny says he didn't have a problem lining customers up with financing last year, and actually picked up some additional lenders to work with, but says the trend for this year remains to be seen.
"While we don't make any profit on financing, we do try to give our customers the best credit deals possible," he says. "I've been told that I'm leaving money on the table. But, with the extra manpower and headache, I'd rather spend my time out acquiring good, used vehicles. The profit I'm not making on financing I think I can find by investing my time elsewhere."
One of those other areas through which All Pro finds profits is via a fairly aggressive eBay account. The dealership set aside a designated packaging-and-shipping station for eBay-related sales of noncurrent and pre-owned PG&A.
"We have a gal, Melissa, who manages the account —enters product, sells it and packages it," Konieczny explains. "Whenever we have something pre-owned that we think may be worth something, we'll throw it up on eBay. And she makes a commission on all eBay sales as well as receiving her hourly salary."
All Pro markets its business by donating and offering discounts to the local fire departments, sponsoring a local girl's rugby team, and lending aid to various charity rides, local support groups and individuals in need.
This past year Konieczny also decided to set up a booth at the International Motorcycle Show stop in Chicago. The booth featured photos of the store and two bikes on display, and employees handed out business cards and fliers with a list of inventory, contact information and a map to the store.
"Even though we are 90 miles from Chicago, we received many calls on our inventory and attracted a number of customers who actually came and made a purchase," Konieczny says.
"We used to do rides, but haven't for a couple of years," says wife Traci. "It has been so busy, and because there are so few of us, things like that are really hard to organize."
The dealership advertises in the local yellow pages, through eBay, and via its new Power Sports Network-provided website.
"The most effective campaign was signing up with PSN," Traci says. "I don't know how many bikes it has sold for us, but our website activity has increased from hundreds to thousands of visitors per month."
While Traci can't ascertain how many bikes the website has been responsible for selling, she says PSN provides a great deal of information useful to understanding where the visitors are coming from.
"So what I do know is that our out-of-state sales have increased greatly because of it," she says.
"Probably 20 percent of our sales last year were to out-of-state customers. And it has even opened the door to foreign sales — we've sold probably 10 bikes to foreign customers during the past two years. I'm pretty sure it all has to do with how PSN works with Cycle Trader."