ATG (SepOct11) - Opening A Dealership

By Editor,

I will not show a name or state on this question as requested. The term Dealership means many different things to different people and how we get there is hard to do! You must consider many things from financing to family. Just to hang a sign out in front of a building means very little. I am in a unique position as I talk to Dealers world wide and hear a lot of the pain they go through as well as the fun side of things. Believe me it is very rewarding to have your own business and be able to serve the general public, your way! Having the satisfaction for that brief moment in time to solve a customers needs is very rewarding to say the least. Those needs can be anything from a new car to something as simple as a spark plug. Bottom line is you filled some ones need and you did it professionally and with prompt good quality service. Following are a few suggestions to consider before making the plunge.

1) Know your local and state ordinances concerning owning and operating your business.

2) Understand paying your taxes (suggested quarterly).

3) Understand office supplies such as phones, internet, faxes, paper supply, filing, computers, billing, desks, chairs, restrooms, or anything that is related to an office space.

4) Banking and accounting.

5) How much space do you need (square foot). Include it all, office and work area.

6) What market am I in, gas or electric? Understand what your customers are going to be looking for.

7) Show room is a must, so make sure you have space for that.

8) Parts window/service window for customers to approach and ask for assistance.

9) This is huge and most people overlook this,

accessibility, this is very important.

10) Professional look to building and services. First impression says it all!

11) Car cleaning area, this is a must.

12) Storage for cars, parts, racking and miscellaneous product.

13) Loading and unloading car area or dock.

14) Does the area land lock you from driving and testing cars or growth?

15) Insurance, health, after the job completion, on the premise, building, cars, customers etc…..

16) Tools and equipment, service truck, delivery truck.

17) Locate a car supplier.

18) Rental fleet, room to put them.

19) What is the area labor rate, will you be competitive and be able to support sales with it.

20) Have a base business don’t get to big to fast! Crawl before you walk. Don’t mix with other lines of business stay with what you are doing golf cars. Be specialized in golf cars, talk golf cars and know that product.

The big thing to all of this is, it is a must you have some sort of technical training or experience background. Today’s golf cars especially the electric cars can be very complicated if you do not have an understanding of DC voltage, reading schematics, and trouble shooting solid state controls. Be willing to take time to have training in this area before even beginning to open you business. Understand you will need to purchase the proper testing equipment and tools required. Lack of proper equipment or technical knowledge will frustrate you and your customers to no end. So be prepared to do the job first. Understand this is a family decision that will affect your family! Know that you will work unbelievable hours for the first year or two to get things off the ground. Up front fall back money is a good thing to have for the unforeseen emergencies that may arise. Don’t go into this thinking a whole bunch of money is going to fall into your lap. You have to earn it, prove yourself to the community, and have firm commitment to the task. As with any business there will be peaks and valleys but the reward of owning you own business is worth the sacrifice. I wish you well in your venture.

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