Random thoughts, ideas, and suggestions for a profitable motorcycle shop

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by JagLite, Nov 15, 2014.

  1. TheProphet

    TheProphet Retired; Living the Dream

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    Nor do I. It would be a waste of time and effort, as "Bad" Dealers would never consider looking on a motorcycle Internet Forum related to their brand, to research what folks out there think of them. Yet another reason they are... "bad". You can safely bet that all "Bad" dealers THINK they are wonderful.

    Don't feel singled out Alaska, there are poor dealerships nation-wide. Likely Globally as well. You definitely do not have a monopoly on that. Most dealerships are franchisee's and run by individuals who are either fantastic Managers, or... not. Example: I have a dealership roughly 12 miles away from my home, but i purchased the bike new from a dealership 109 miles away. Guess why.

    On the other end of the coin, it seems to me that sometimes those who post "bad" experiences leave out a sizable portion of the whole story. We as readers are only seeing - at best - 50% of the situation.

    It may also be worth mentioning that since Customers expect fair, honest service, and expect the repair or service to be performed correctly - and very rightly so - they don't feel the need to post the experience.


    As in: "Hey, I got two new tires installed today... and they did it right!"

    Once again, we hear a lot of the "bad", but rarely the "Atta Boy!"[/I]

    Bob
  2. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Brownie

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    Yeah I can see that. If it was me and a person was calling, I'd try to locate said item myself to insure we had it. Of course if the shop is busy or what not I understand. In this case I was looking for a K&N filter and this business was listed as a distributor. I called to verify. I get that somethings but when I showed up the clerk says "Well, this is a _____ shop." Thats when I said I was done going for parts. It sounds like this person isn't there anymore and I've been in the shop a couple of times since that incident and haven't seen him.

    I am very easy to please customer service wise. The fact you have what I am looking for is almost good enough. :lol3
  3. Tom S

    Tom S Can I ride it? Supporter

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    K&N oil filters are excellent. K&N air filters are good for filtering out small birds & rocks. :deal
  4. TigerOwner

    TigerOwner LostInAlaska

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    Thanks for the reply.
  5. PistonPants

    PistonPants Crankcase Scavenger

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    K&N's work great against bird seed...Voles worked all winter on this...I rode that filter 900 miles.
    [​IMG]

    Piston
  6. wadenelson

    wadenelson Rider/Writer

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    I don't believe I can type AMEN loudly enough to that one.
  7. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer Supporter

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    You said it brother :clap

    A good manager knows what to look for when hiring and it isn't proficiency with the product, it is ATTITUDE.

    I am guessing that most employees working in a mc shop were hired because of their experience, interest, and knowledge of motorcycles.

    That is NOT a good reason to hire them.

    As you mentioned, the employee chooses to be customer service oriented or they don't.

    It is not something they choose to do at work though, it is how they choose to live their life.

    It is much easier to train a person with no knowledge of motorcycles to be an excellent counter person, service tech, sales rep, phone wrangler, and general do-it-all employee, that has the right customer service attitude; than it is to try to train an experienced, life long rider/mechanic how to have the right attitude dealing with customers.

    My experience in training others showed me that fact many years ago.
    The more a person knew, the more difficult it was to teach them to do things a different way.
    A person with the right attitude was easy to teach and a joy to have around.

    Recently where I work, an employee was "let go" after five years because he would not "do it our way".
    He had 15 years of experience before being hired, and the company kept working with him, trying to get him to see why it is essential that he do it this way instead of that way.

    Finally they realized that he was just going to keep doing things his way because that is his attitude.
    This cost the company a lot of time and money having others redo what he had done.

    I was surprised they kept him for more than 6 months since the problems started from the first day.
    He felt he knew everything and he was going to do it the same way he had always done it.

    Besides the fact (I dunno, is it a fact or just my belief?) that women are much more likely to be customer service oriented, easier to teach new things, and often work harder at boring jobs, they are much nicer to talk with while drinking a good cup at a great shop. :wink:
  8. wadenelson

    wadenelson Rider/Writer

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    You sell them $100 or $200 a year in parts, AT YOUR COST, they're going to be coming into your shop first to order the part, and again to pick it up, and Lord knows they're gonna pick up some oil or some gloves or some farkle or something else while they're there. They're likely to express their gratitude either in purchases or word-of-mouth. "They treat me right over at _____"

    It's about fixed vs variable costs. You pay a counter guy the same amount per hour to stand there whether he's busy entering customer orders or not. So it actually costs you VERY little to sell each customer SOME parts at zero markup versus losing ALL of their business including the oil, gloves and farkels.

    A Kawasaki dealership that would allow me to buy replacement saddlebags for my 2009 maroon Concours (my are scarred up from dropping her) at cost instead of retail would earn my undying devotion. And why not? Dealerships slap on new tupperware, AT THEIR COST, when they take a used bike in on trade? Why not do the same for CUSTOMERS, not just sales prospects?

    When I walk in, you tell me you don't have it in stock, and want 50% more for it than BikeBandit does, what POSSIBLE reason do I have to order it from you? Esp when BikeBandit and the others typically deliver faster than Yamaha, Honda, Kawi ...can get it to you!
  9. TheProphet

    TheProphet Retired; Living the Dream

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    And then the next step is to show said employee the exit door. As you stated prior, it ALL falls back on Management and Ownership.

    Actually, you would think that this behavior choice would be seen during their initial Job Interview.


    Bob
  10. mach1mustang351

    mach1mustang351 Long timer Supporter

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    Yes and no. I used to think that but I still get surprised either way. You can tell a lot in the interview but in interviews people tend to be on their best behavior. Digging for behavior answers is a little more involved but yields better results. Again, managers earn the money to do this.
  11. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer Supporter

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  12. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer Supporter

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    Not surprisingly there are shops in other countries who are doing well.
    BikeExif recently reported on four in this article:

    http://us7.campaign-archive2.com/?u=...9&e=48477a728a

    A few quotes:
    Quote:
    <table border="0" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody><tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset"> They’re places you should visit if you find yourself in the fairest Cape and in need of a moto-fix, a good coffee or a friendly chat. </td> </tr> </tbody></table>
    Quote:
    <table border="0" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody><tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset"> Sharing the premises with the motorcycles is a fully-equipped Tribe Coffee Roasting café. </td> </tr> </tbody></table>
    Quote:
    <table border="0" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody><tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset"> Their espresso, freshly squeezed juices and menu make them a popular breakfast and lunch stop for motorcyclists and regular folk alike. </td> </tr> </tbody></table>
    Quote:
    <table border="0" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody><tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset"> The shop itself combines an espresso bar and a retail space, with rustic furniture and fittings and classic auto-inspired décor.
    In addition to coffee, Los Muertos serves up nosh from Jason Bakery and Baguette Sandwiches. </td> </tr> </tbody></table>
    Quote:
    <table border="0" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody><tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset"> Separating the merchandise from the sit-down area is a row of motorcycles: complete custom builds alongside donor bikes waiting for customers. </td> </tr> </tbody></table>
    Quote:
    <table border="0" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody><tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset"> The WMC also host bike film nights, and recently held their first Garage Built Bike Show </td> </tr> </tbody></table>
    Quote:
    <table border="0" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody><tr> <td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset"> Also on the cards are regular group rides, and workshops on the basics of motorcycle maintenance. </td> </tr> </tbody></table>
    And finally:

  13. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer Supporter

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    I stopped by the HD shop today to drop off entry forms for the bike show and as always they were great to deal with.
    I wasn't ignored nor hounded, and they got me set up quickly.
    After taking care of business I wandered around since it has been a long time since I have been in.

    Hmmm, nice coffee area with a few tables and chairs, a TV monitor playing a motorcycle video, and lots of neat things to look at.

    Excellent shop!

    I may have to build a Harley one of these days :freaky
  14. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

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    most important..... try not to suck
  15. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer Supporter

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  16. Tom S

    Tom S Can I ride it? Supporter

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    I didn't see anything about this BOT shop actually being a 'motorcycle dealer' selling new bikes.
  17. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer Supporter

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    Exactly right!

    They aren't trying to stay in business by selling new bikes (with puny profit margins) and their service department ONLY.
    I believe that is why so many dealerships go under during bad times.

    A dealer can learn a lot by the success of other shops that recognize the necessity of diversified income.

    Alaska Leather comes to mind :clap
  18. aalexander

    aalexander Been here awhile

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    Looks like a t-shirt/trinket/memorabilia/ coffee shop with a motorcycle theme which may (or may not) do very limited custom work. I couldn't find anything that indicated positively that they actually sell any motorcycles, new or used.
  19. Tom S

    Tom S Can I ride it? Supporter

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    Yeah. I don't think it really applies to a motorcycle 'dealership'.
  20. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer Supporter

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    I think selling new and used bikes should qualify them as a bike shop

    Working on all bikes should qualify them as a bike shop


    Keeping customers coming in regularly, spending money, making friends, watching bikes being worked on while eating and/or drinking is what keeps a shop in business with happy and satisfied customer/friends

    This is exactly what I started this thread/discussion about.

    Not what a dealership IS, but what it can be.

    If this is not the kind of place you would enjoy visiting regularly, that's your choice.

    I would like a place like this that I could (and would) stop in at least once a week and spend a few dollars, or a few hundred dollars at.

    As it is now, I only stop in each shop in town once or twice a YEAR.