How to play the motorcycle business game, and win

Publish Date: 
Jan 29, 2013
By Rod Stuckey

DO YOU CONSIDER the recession over? During the last four years, our industry downsized from approximately 7,500 franchised dealers to just over 4,000. That’s nearly 50 percent of the dealer network collapsing under difficult circumstances. According to NADA’s 2012 State of the Industry report, new car dealers were also significantly impacted, dropping 3,660 dealers since 2007.

Whether the experts say we’re in a recession or not and whether your dealership is up or down isn’t really my point. What is my point is that the game we’re all playing, called “How to Have Fun and Make Money in the Motorcycle Business,” is continually changing.I left for lunch last Tuesday and headed over to my favorite Quiznos sub shop. It was closed, with a handwritten sign that read, “Out of Business.” Two days later I decided to swing by my favorite Ma & Pa barbecue joint called Café Pig. I’ve been going to this little sweet spot for well over a decade. Closed. Out of business. Ouch. I’ve lost two of my favorite lunch spots in one week, both located here in Peachtree City, Ga., a fairly affluent suburb south of Atlanta.

As Rory Vader says in his book Take the Stairs, “Success is never owned; it is only rented, and the rent is due every single day.”

Your dealership is a complex, high-performing machine and must be meticulously maintained and continually updated with the latest components if it is to be reliable and achieve maximum performance and profitability.

Your new and pre-owned vehicle departments, as well as Parts, Accessories, Apparel and Service, each have thousands of moving parts all in use at the same time — and they can potentially work themselves loose if not constantly monitored and measured.

So how do top dealerships play the game, maintain the machine, make money and have fun all at the same time?  They make serious study of their craft, profession, industry, model, and those who’ve gone before them and been successful. Simply put, they are resourceful and always seeking new information that will lead to continual improvement. They understand that no game is fun to play without rules, and therefore they install systems and processes to run the dealership. (continued)