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From the Mag: Dealerships and Beyond – Part II

The following is the second in a two-part series on ways restylers that cater to car dealerships can survive and thrive, both on the dealer’s lot and beyond. Part I appeared in the June 2022 issue of THE SHOP.

Click here to read Part I

As I stated in last month’s article, this new vehicle inventory environment we find ourselves in can be quite challenging. Many restylers who have built their businesses around stock vehicles or preloads have found it difficult to maintain sales levels, simply because there are fewer cars available on dealership lots.

So, no matter how good of a salesperson you are, or how strong your relationships are with your dealerships, they simply can’t give you what they don’t have.

Last time I discussed a few short-term ways to counteract this trend. Now let’s look at longer-term ideas as we all try to find greener pastures.

More Retail

You may already do some retail sales, but how much thought and effort are you putting into them versus your wholesale business?

Despite the pandemic, the economy has been strong, and people have discretionary income to spend. Our shops offer many things that drivers want or need for their vehicles.

You can usually charge a little bit more for retail, thus profit margins are higher. You also get your money faster than working with a dealer who is 30-60 days behind.

How do you grow that retail arm? First, look at what you offer and do well, and see where it fits in with the retail segment.

For instance, do you offer protection products like window film, paint protection film, ceramic coatings and/or spray-on bedliners? Do you sell and install safety products like back-up cameras, sensors, and/or blind-spot or lane departure warning systems? What about convenience items like leather, heated seats, sunroofs, step-up products and/or tonneau covers? Can your team offer repair services for upholstery, electronics, sunroofs or accessories?

Most wholesale businesses offer some, most or all of these products and services. So, think about houw you can package and market them to retail customers.

Click here to read the full article in the July issue of THE SHOP.

Josh Poulson

Josh Poulson is the principal of Auto Additions in Columbus, Ohio, which was named Restyler of the Year, 2012-'13. Auto Additions offers a complete line of product upgrades including 12V and appearance packages with a specific focus on the dealership segment. Josh is chairman of the SEMA PRO Council and was named the 2015-'16 Person of the Year at the 2015 SEMA Show.

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