Managing and running a dealership at one location is hard enough. What about creating a cohesive atmosphere, uplifting environment and unifying employees, all while driving sales across multiple dealership locations?
Whether you are a dealership with several locations, or a dealership thinking about expanding and opening new ones, here are best practices for how to manage multiple dealership locations.
Define who you are
The first thing when it comes to creating unity is to define who you are as dealership. What makes you unique? Whether you are big or small, employ 5, 50, or 500 people across your dealership, every person hired should constantly be working towards a single company culture where employees are aligned with the company mission.
A strong company culture will decrease your turnover, keep productivity high and keep employees happy no matter which dealership they are at. Afterall, employee turnover can cost you a lot!
Some studies predict that every time a business loses or replaces a salaried employee, it costs 6-9 months’ salary on average. For a manager making $40,000 a year, that’s 20-30k in new employee recruiting and hiring expenses!
1. Hire the right staff for each dealership location
Having multiple dealerships may be a logical move for your company as it grows, and having a presence in different geographical locations may be a key to increased sales. But don’t let your employees suffer because of it.
Whether you’re hiring all new employees or hiring to fill a position, hire the right people. For example, if you’re not familiar with the new region, hire someone local to help you manage the dealership. In the end, you want to be able to build a group of trustworthy employees to ensure the location can run on its own without requiring help from you or your home dealership/headquarters.
2. Standardize your procedures across all dealership locations
Standardizing your procedures will make your employees able to process orders, explain policies and understand processes across the board, allowing for a better overall customer experience.
Consider standardizing your:
- Customer service: how to handle complaints and clear instructions when it comes to employee behavior.
- Transactions: all monetary transactions (payments accepted, how to process returns/exchanges, etc.).
- Safety and security: proper procedures around standard safety and security issues (who opens and closes the dealership, who to report incidences to).
- Dealership layout: the same physical layout across all locations, so they look and feel consistent.
Give all dealership employees the right tools
Managing different locations requires dealership owners to account for many things, increasing the risk of missing details along the way. Consider getting dealership management software that will help with the following functions: inventory management, sales, client communication, orders and returns, etc.
When you have a system that gives you a clear view of your inventory across all locations, you can account for seasonality, set minimum and maximum order levels and provide automatic order recommendations. This helps prevent under-ordering during busy seasons and over-ordering during slow months.
Your dealership management software should let you view real-time reports on just about any aspect of your business, giving you peace of mind 24/7.
Read Next: 8 Dealership Management System Features to Look For
3. Be consistent with dealership policies
Company expectations and policies should be streamlined across multiple dealership locations. Sure, you may have to take into consideration different needs for different locations, but for the most part – hours, attendance, time off requests, holidays and pay should be consistent.
4. Create company-wide traditions and celebrations
Nothing creates a sense of unity more than traditions within the company. Some of these might be things like organizing a dealership-wide picnic each summer, creating a happy hour meeting once a month, doing a service project all together quarterly or running contests and giveaways.
Encourage company morale and celebrate successes across all locations. One of the biggest losses that comes with opening new dealerships and separating employees is the loss of personal interaction.
It’s the little things that make a difference – conversations in the hall or on the way out the door at the end of the day. It’s the shared office humor, lunch talk or post-meeting rants. These are what contribute to the culture at each dealership and set the tone for employee collaboration and friendships company-wide.
Your dealership success doesn’t just come from fulfilling orders and meeting customer experience expectations. It relies on a positive and thriving company environment where employees and staff are unified across all locations.
Are you looking to expand your business by opening a new dealership location? Our multi-location customers have shared several intriguing insights that can help you save thousands of dollars on your next store.
Download our free Multi-Location Management Guide to find out:
- The right time to open another location
- How to ensure your original location remains profitable
- How to select the most lucrative geographical location
- And much more!