Hot Rod Harley-Davidson
"A passion for God's will and the open road." For our staff, this means treating customers the way we would want to be treated, always doing the right thing and remembering that we are not just selling motorcycles but we are selling fun, dreams and the thrill of the open road.
Showroom Design and Layout
Customers are greeted with motorcycle displays in the lobby and near the front entrance followed by separate and fully staffed counters for the parts and clothing department and the motorcycle show arena.
A large aisle painted to resemble a road runs the length of the showroom floor and separates the departments. Motorcycles are displayed in front of a large glass wall overlooking the business route and Muskegon Lake. Specialty displays include a Hot Rod Race car, a Harley-Davidson gas truck, and over a dozen museum-quality vintage motorcycles. The lounge area features comfy seating, a television, and a great motorcycle video game to keep the kids entertained. Free coffee and water is always available and a few times a month, and so are donuts, cake or bagels.
The lower level includes the Zoom Room (an all-purpose room) that is used for store events and HOG chapter meetings. It includes a large seating area with banquet-style tables and chairs. There's also half of a school bus with a service kitchen on the backside which allows food and beverage to be served through the bus windows. This space also includes replicas of the original Muskegon Harley-Davidson storefront as it looked in the 1920s, and a gas station with fully restored retro gas pumps.
Also on the lower level are the Rider’s Edge new rider’s classroom (the range is located just outside the classroom in the parking lot), our large motorcycle storage facility, dyno tuning room, machine shop and service department.
All the walls and displays in our dealership including bathrooms and dressing rooms are filled with historical photos of Muskegon’s rich motorcycling history and other unique signs and show pieces. The newest addition to our eclectic collection of fun items is a retired railroad caboose located on a patch of grass next to our building. It is a definite conversation starter. We tell people it is the original iron horse. It also ties in well to our Muskegon Bike Time Event in July when we host a five-acre concert venue and beer garden called Steel Horse Station. An estimated 100,000 people attend this three-day event.
The service department can be accessed from inside the store or from separate entrances, including two service bay doors. Staffing includes a service manager, service writers, detailers, and Harley-Davidson-certified technicians. Each technician has two service bays with a mechanical lift, and utilizes rolling parts racks with all the parts designated for the specific job. Customers can see through to the service bays from the department waiting room and watch service being performed. A large window also allows viewing into the dyno room. The service area also includes a machine shop, a pick-up truck lift and two large delivery trucks to service the needs of our customers.
Training and Employee Motivation Practices
Employees are required to complete bi-annual online Harley-Davidson training seminars to learn about new product features and benefits. Service technicians also travel to seminars for hands-on training. We also practice departmental cross training to ensure a better understanding of processes among staff and a smooth end result for the customer.
Each department has monthly sales goals tied to individual bonus incentives. Employees are also motivated to work hard because they do not want to let their team down. The entire store has a common goal each year, which is to keep all team members working all year long, even during the much slower winter months. This helps us keep our average employee tenure of four years.
Commitment to Customer Service
Our goal is always 100 percent customer satisfaction. Our customer service philosophy is the means to meet our goal and is “Treat every customer they way you would want to be treated."
Twice a year, we have a private VIP night for our top 100 customers to make them feel special. They are treated to food, drinks, and special discounts throughout the store.
In 2010 we started a Customer Loyalty Program, where customers receive discounts based on their shopping frequency and habits. This program has been well-received.
Our Rider’s Edge program includes a new rider’s safety training course and a skilled riders advanced riding course. Classes run on premises every weekend from spring until early fall. This service is offered to our customers because it is important to us that they have a place to learn the skills they need to keep them safe on the road and to get the most out of their riding experience. The program is offered at no charge to new motorcycle purchasers.
We offer free storage to military personal serving overseas and also offer discounts on our Rider’s Edge program.
Our service department makes followup calls/emails to every service customer to make sure they are happy with the work that was performed. If for any reason they were not 100 percent satisfied, the Service Manager and/or the General Manager works with the customer to make sure all issues are resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.
Our Harley-Davidson CSI rating is 95 (out of 100), which is in the top 10 percent of all Harley-Davidson dealers in the country. We also received a Harley-Davidson Bar & Shield Award of Excellence for 2010.
Involvement in the Community
Our community involvement philosophy is “what’s good for our community is good for Hot Rod H-D." Our goal is to promote the sport of motorcycling while supporting our community and our customers. We achieve our goal through sponsorships, events, and donations.
Our biggest event is Muskegon Bike Time, a three-day motorcycle event started by Hot Rod H-D in 2007. The event was established to promote motorcycling and tourism in downtown Muskegon. Vendors, entertainment tents, stunt shows, concerts and a motorcycle-only Main street draw crowds from all over the country.
Today, the entire city is involved, as an estimated 100,000 people and 65,000 motorcycles attend the three-day event, resulting in an estimated $20 million impact on the community. During the event, Hot Rod Offers free or $5 concerts (which have included Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Bad Company, Mitch Ryder, The Marshall Tucker Band & Molly Hatchet). Partial proceeds from beverage sales at the concerts are donated to the American Red Cross. To date, this event has raised over $115,000 for the Red Cross. The event is promoted across a multi-state region contributing to the growth of the event and the exposure of the community to tourism dollars.
Hot Rod H-D has sponsored and/or donated prizes for many charitable rides and events including the MDA, Every Woman’s Place, The James Fund, The ALS Association, Hospice, Rolling Thunder, Pioneer Resources, American Cancer Society, Moose on Bikes, Habitat for Humanity, National Outdoor Women, Bethany Christian Services, The Child Abuse Council, Wings of Mercy, Women On Wheels, and the American Legion. Hot Rod H-D also donates to numerous private individuals raising money due to tragedies and hardships. One of our owners is also an oncologist, so we take a special interest in all cancer-related fundraisers.
This year, Hot Rod H-D has also taken on an additional charitable fund near and dear to our hearts. Since June of 2012, Hot Rod has pledged to donate $100 for every bike sold through the end of the year to the MMG Tragedy Fund. The fund was started to help the families of a group of 12 motorcyclists from Muskegon that were seriously injured/killed when hit head-on by an impaired driver while on a ride in Wisconsin.
Hot Rod H-D is a major sponsor for the Muskegon Motorcycle Club, the National Hill Climb, and a sponsor of ABATE region 5 so they can continue to support motorcycling awareness in our community.