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Author Topic: Starting a dealership  (Read 1292 times)

swakefield

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Starting a dealership
« on: August 29, 2009, 05:22:54 PM »
I might have an opportunity to take over an Enfield dealership - in name only - no facility, no bikes, no license, no parts...

Soooo, I'd like some input from anyone who has input - dealers, those that have dealt with dealers, riders, those that have dealt with riders...

I think my only option right now is to use someone else's shop, and sell the bikes as I am able.  I do have access to an Enfield guru for a mechanic.  My job would keep me from doing this full-time.  I know most, or all, of the dealerships sell Enfields alongside other products, and cannot make a go with Enfield alone.  BUT, do the prospects for the new bikes look promising? 

I've spoken with Keith at CMW, and gotten the skinny on what I'd need to have in place to start the business.  I've also spoken with Vince, and some other dealers, and I've heard some good advice.

It seems like the bikes attract a lot of attention, and now that the need to tinker has been removed, a whole new market should open up.

This opportunity just fell in my lap, and I LOVE Royal Enfields.  I know a romantic desire to be immersed in motorcycles doesn't a dealership make, but I'd hate to let this opportunity pass me by, and I'm willing to put the enrgy into giving it a go.

Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts.  Or, if you have a place where I can sell motorcycles, just say the word.

Thanks,

Scott
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Blue Ridge Wheeltor

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Re: Starting a dealership
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2009, 06:26:52 PM »
The best way to make a small fortune with a bike shop...












is to start with a large fortune.
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2006 Ural Patrol
1978 BMW R 100s--SOLD--
1977 HD XLCR
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Cabo Cruz

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Re: Starting a dealership
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2009, 07:45:18 PM »
Br. Scott, you are taking the proper steps by doing the research, first, with your head and you seem to be placing the romanticism, that is your heart, second.  This is the correct approach.  As you complete all of this, you will come to the decision phase of the process.  Only you (and those close to you) can make the final decision.  I would encourage you to call on the third element at that point.  Which is to say: Let your gut feelings participate in the game along with your head and your heart.

I wish you the absolute best, as you navigate these exciting waters you're in!

P.S.  You can fix an unfavorable decision with another decision; there are no bad decisions; never look back...
Long live the Bullets and those who ride them!

Keep the shiny side up, the boots on the pegs and best REgards,

Papa Juan

REA:    Member No. 119
BIKE:   2004 Royal Enfield Sixty-5
NAME: Perla

Ice

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Re: Starting a dealership
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2009, 08:36:22 PM »

If you don't make money I hope you at least make friends.
I can break it better,,,,at night, in the rain, on the trail,, 20 miles from nowhere.

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UncleErnie

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Re: Starting a dealership
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2009, 12:46:07 AM »
I don't get it;  You're getting a dealership with nothing in it?  No parts or bikes?  So what ARE you getting?
Also, where are you / where would this happen?
I think you need to take business classes.  You'll need to know local and state laws pertaining to business in general, and also in relation to a motor vhicle business.  Licening, fees, physical requirements, etc.
Do you know that you pay to have a motorcycle on the floor?  So if it doesn't sell, you keep losing money.  Will you sell other things?  What do those suppliers have to say> -there might be exclusivity deals with other shops nearby, for instance.  Take Parts Unlimited; what is their buy in and other requirements?  (I don't think they just give you catalogues and the blessing, "Go and sell, my son."
You say you have a mechanic in place; how will you pay him while you all wait for business to build?  Plan to stock RE parts supplied from CMW?  It's my understanding that most owners order directly from CMW.  If you do stock parts, you have to charge more to make up for the shipping they charge you. 

A lot of this ios from a dealer near here who can no longer afford to sell RE.  The BBB also has a class tor budding entrepreneurs with loads of good advice (I think it's free).  Contact them.


In San Francisco I learned a good lesson;  just because you're a good cook, doesn't mean you should open a restaurant.  Have you defined WHY you want to open a dealer ship and what your expectations are?  If you just love working on bikes, start out small in your garage.  If you only want to work on RE's, I hope you live in a place that has an awful lot of them that people ride every day.

Just sayin'...
Run what ya brung

UncleErnie

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Re: Starting a dealership
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2009, 12:56:50 AM »
Page 2;

That may have sounded harsh.  ?  I would think you need some market research- especially if you're going to borrow money.  Going in front of a group of farmers and telling them you plan to market a plow that also paints a barn- you think they're going to say "forget it"?  That's a little gratuitous, IMHO.  Tell your plan to a group of industrial prototype developers, bankers, admen, etc, and see what they say.   Then tell the group of farmers what you think your new product will cost and see if they still love the idea enough to put a deposit on one.

Crap.  I'm sounding like MY father and I don't want to.  Tell me what you think of what I just said.  REalistic or just depressing?
Run what ya brung

Blue Ridge Wheeltor

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Re: Starting a dealership
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2009, 01:00:24 AM »
Damn Ernie,
You just killed about a dozen capitalists dreams. :o
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swakefield

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Re: Starting a dealership
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2009, 01:54:25 AM »
Lots of good things to think about. 

Ernie, you don't sound harsh at all, but a bit like my dad too...

I'm reluctant to mention the particular dealer, as this isn't a done deal.  He used to keep bikes on the floor, but didn't stock many parts.  He hasn't really done much for the last year, hence the lack of stuff - in essence he's just saying "We'll talk to CMW, and my dealership will transition to you."

My reason for doing this would be to do something I love.  BUT, can I survive, and provide for my family?  I don't intend to get rich, but live one of my passions.  I heard someone call it a "Lifestyle Entrepreneur."

As far as the mechanic, he's retired, and works for the current dealership as needed.  I think he'd do likewise for me.

I have been doing my small business research, and have a friend who does small business consulting.

It may mean nothing, but every person I show the bike to, loves it.  I have two people considering a purchase - I know that isn't worth a hill of beans, but it may be a small representation of the larger population.

Here's some of my thinking:  There seems to be a surge in interest in things vintage, especially motorcycles - in marketing, advertising, style, etc., Triumph's styling is popular, and people are looking for efficient, and cool.  An ad in Maxim seems like people are interested.  Why, if people know about the bike- see it, hear it -will it not sell?

Just some thoughts.  I know I didn't answer all of the questions.  Keep the input coming; I'm chewing on it all.
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Blltrdr

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Re: Starting a dealership
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2009, 03:49:23 AM »
I would think that more than one line would be essential. Maybe scooters! You would have a hard time making it on a few Enfield sales a year. Your living dream might turn into a living hell if a great not good business plan is not executed.  Are you planning on running this business out of a storefront or maybe an industrial park; you have to do a lot of service repair jobs and part sales to pay the bills if this is the case. I know some used car dealers sell Enfields on the side which makes sense since most have repair facilities also. More details would be needed  to give proper answers to your questions. Maybe speak to a dealer that would best represent your Enfield dealership opportunity and get that person's point of view (apples to apples). Remember, customer service trumps all! Scott I wish you luck in your endeavor what ever way you decide to take it.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2009, 01:35:28 PM by Blltrdr »
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The Garbone

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Re: Starting a dealership
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2009, 12:47:52 PM »
It's all about overhead... If you owned the building and did not have to lease/rent that would help.    If failure is not an option I would stay away from it, however ,  people do succeed and prosper doing things they love.   If your flexible and are willing to take the risk go for it.   

I would worry about a mechanic..  What if he goes on vacation or gets ill?   Personal if its a small shop you might want to consider being prepared to take on the repair work yourself.  A mechanic adds a lot of overhead and scheduling issues.
Gary
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rideOn

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Re: Starting a dealership
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2009, 03:41:38 PM »
i'm with ernie, gotta have the research done and be a profitable venture. love can turn to hate when it's a burden and a tax write-off ain't worth it. on the other hand, these units have good marketability.
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swakefield

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Re: Starting a dealership
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2009, 08:42:37 PM »
My plan would be to use someone else's shop - their dealer's license, their garage, etc. and simply sell the bikes out of their shop, until I can either move on to my own place, or realize I've made a horrible mistake.  I've spoken with a vintage/hot rod/paint shop, and they are considering the idea of putting the bikes on their floor, while I, of course, do all of the Enfield-related work.

I do intend to diversify the vehicles I offer, if I were to open my own place, perhaps adding scooters.

I am prepared to learn how to service the bikes, in the event my mechanic is unable.

And yes, customer service is paramount, and I think CMW and the size of RE facilitates a tight-knit community of bikers.

Thanks again.  I welcome more sage advice.

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single

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Re: Starting a dealership
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2009, 09:36:46 PM »
It is obvious that folks do buy REs.The one big thing I have noticed is that of all the many people who have checked out my bike(Deluxe)and told me how cool it is and that they"just love it",a grand total of one has asked me where they can get one.I keep it in near show condition and it gets a lot of attention.But your idea of using anothers' facility has merit.Someone has to sell 'em.I would expect you would need to be close to a big metro area to hope for much.Have you contacted the company with your ideas?Mite think about a government grant,use O'Bamas' money,he sure as Hell is free with it.

swakefield

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Re: Starting a dealership
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2009, 11:12:53 PM »
I have talked to Keith - the dealership guy at CMW - and he was fine with the idea of transitioning the existing dealership into my name, as long as I'm set up to be a bona fide dealership.  That is, all of those things mentioned - licenses, ability to put bikes on the floor, insurance, etc. 

I have been asked a few times about where to get one.  I think the issue is that people see the bike and say "Hey, cool!  But tinkering isn't for me..."  As I said, if people hear about the new bike, and find out that they maintain it like a Harley, or Honda, then a whole new chunk of riders and would-be riders should open up.

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Ice

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Re: Starting a dealership
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2009, 01:04:12 AM »
Have you spoken at length with Vince of Vince's motor cycle store yet ?
He would be a great source information from the dealers perspective.
I can break it better,,,,at night, in the rain, on the trail,, 20 miles from nowhere.

REA #136

"TIMEX", the '06 Iron Barrel Military that takes me everywhere I want to go... and some places I shouldn't.