Starting an RV dealership can be a rewarding experience for those who want to make a career change. You must have a good knowledge of the industry and be patient too, as building a profitable RV business takes time.
To begin with, find the most cost-effective ways to run your RV dealership. For example, if your business location is in a small city where the average family income is just $30,000, you may want to think about setting up your dealership in a bigger city instead, where you have more opportunities to make a profit. So, carrying out adequate research is important to build a profitable RV business.
You also need to be knowledgeable about the industry, and the best way to do this is by working with a local dealer first. This will help you to learn about the ins and outs of the business and how it operates. It’s a smart way to become well informed and gain valuable experience about the RV auto dealership industry as fast as possible before you launch your own RV company.
Also, decide if you want to stick to selling RV’s or just servicing them; or if you want to do both. It is important you determine this before you create a business plan.
Here are other useful ideas and steps to help you get started:
Create a business plan. Keep it simple
Your first step is to create a business plan for your RV dealership. Not doing so is like preparing to fail. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s okay to keep it simple.
In the end, your business plan is meant to be a resource for you, the owner of the business.
If you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, skip outlining the essentials of the business plan for your RV dealership now and commit to return to it later.
Build a good relationship with manufacturers
As an RV dealer, you’re just as good as the vehicles you sell. In today’s business environment, sellers deal in motorhomes, trailers units, and fifth wheels from different manufacturers. Some of the popular brand names for industry dealers include Keystone, Gulf Stream, Fleetwood, and Tiffin.
As a startup dealership, it’s important to build solid relationships with manufacturers as soon as possible. The best way to do this is to reach out to each automaker individually to identify dealer opportunities in your area.
In certain cases, your ability to sell and make profits may be inhibited by exclusive territory rights some other dealers may have secured for the area; in other cases, you too may be able to secure exclusive rights for your dealership.
Effective inventory management tools
Inventory management is much more than just an accounting feature of a busy RV dealership. Sales workers need to have online access to existing inventories, as well as cost and profit margin information for each unit.
Since every RV unit is a major financial investment, you cannot afford to lose track of a single RV on your list.
Sophisticated product management tools these days aren’t a privilege; they are a key tool for any RV retailer worth their salt.
Put together a driven and professional team
The quality of your end products will only take you so far.
The most critical point? Investing time and energy in the hire of sales professionals – to put your customers behind the wheel of your inventory.
RV experience can be helpful when it comes to recruiting sales personnel. But the most important quality you should keep an eye out for is a successful track record in face to face selling.
Features and benefits can be taught fast, but it’ll take a lot more time for a seasoned RVer to learn how to convert prospects.
Once you have your team assembled, the next step is to conduct wide-ranging company training to ensure that your team is on the same page regarding the sales philosophy and procedures of your dealership.
In order to motivate your sales team and keep their selling skills sharp, periodical training will also be necessary on a go-forward basis.
Study the market
As part of your due diligence on opening an RV dealership, you must speak to someone who’s already spent some time in the industry.
Keep in mind though those local competitors will not do you that favor. They’d be crazy to give you the insights and know-how on business success in the industry.
However, another RV dealer who’s stationed in a different city may be happy to share some valuable tips and ideas with you once they realize that you are not going to be a direct competitor in the same city or region.
In that case, the veteran RV dealership owner will be more than willing to speak with you about the industry. You may need to email a lot of RV business owners to locate someone who is able to share his expertise.
Review the competition
It’s important to decide what the market looks like before you open an RV dealership in your area. What degree of competition are you expecting in the market?
If you think the market may be too fierce in your region, you may have to rethink launching your dealership in the area and find another virgin area, or perhaps starting a different business instead.
If you’re starting your first business venture, you may want to consider the franchise option.
Before launching an RV dealership, you may want to find out if buying a franchise could help you overcome some common entrepreneurial mistakes.
Join a professional group
You’ll surely need some professional guide and advice when starting. Joining up with recognized professional groups, such as the RV Dealers’ Association (RVDA), one of the leading trade bodies for RV dealers in the US, offers you such opportunities.
You’ll also be able to build your network and share ideas with other dealers as well as with prospective clients.
On a final note, the franchise route can be a smart and cost-effective route for startup businesses, including RV dealerships.
You may also consider getting clickheredigital.com to help boost your market visibility and trust.
So, before setting off with your RV dealership business, you may want to think about if purchasing a franchise will give you more leverage and reach rather and help avoid common entrepreneurial mistakes, as well as seeking professional digital marketing help.