My name is Jeff Gandy and I work for three powersports dealerships and one marine engine remanufacturing business. The same people own the businesses and I have been with the organization since 2016. When I started we only had a single dealership with a single product line (Can-Am On-Road), but we did a significant business in the used motorcycle segment. Over 6 1/2 years later we have made tremendous progress, adapting and developing systems, implementing state-of-the-art software, and increasing revenue.
My background is in website and software development, primarily on the Microsoft platform. The description of my current position is unusual. I handle the marketing for the three powersports dealerships and the marine business. The marketing role includes social media, search engine optimization, search ads and third-party listing services. I am also responsible for the infrastructure at four locations, including network, pc hardware, phone systems, email, security and other mission-critical software.
It is a very, very busy position that runs Monday thru Saturday with occasional hours on Sunday. This website provides information and ideas surrounding the powersports, automotive and retail markets.
My previous work involves various business types, from health insurance to transaction printers. I’ve developed sweepstakes engines and automotive sales menus. Since returning from China in 2015, I have worked primarily in the powersports industry, specifically motorcycle marketing. That’s why many of the articles on this blog are targeted toward powersports and motorcycle dealership examples.
There is a saying that motorcycle dealerships are 20 years behind automotive dealerships, which is often true. It’s mostly a simple question of profitability – there is more money to be had in running a car dealership. Seasonality is extremely tough on dealerships located in areas with brutal winters. Motorcycles are luxury items, and banks have tighter loan restrictions. There is less profit on the backend for the Finance department, and service suffers from seasonality, the same as sales.
Motorcycles are much less likely to be a rider’s only mode of transportation. This all translates to less innovation for motorcycle dealers, and we often have solutions that were developed first for car dealers and then passed down with minor changes. But on the bright side that leaves a lot of opportunity for quick-thinking players to dominate those dealers who are slow to adapt.
A lot of what I do is based on a different model than a typical dealership that only competes in their local market. I work on things from a national perspective and a local one. For a powersports dealer in the north, it is critical to successfully target and sell units in other states to maintain winter momentum. The business model seeks to replicate companies like Vroom, Carvana, or Auto Nation. The first real competitor to emerge with a similar way of thinking has been RumbleOn. That said, my hybrid situation involves brick-and-mortar dealerships in different states and cities. All of the lessons of the traditional dealership still apply.
Above everything else, the tight market and margins mean I have to squeeze every bit of efficiency out of everything we do. Whether you are a national or local dealership group, that lesson always remains true. I hope you will find the upcoming blog articles helpful.