Dealerships of all sizes have challenges, but for small dealerships — those with 1-3 locations — limited staff and resources can create some unique challenges. Here are three areas that can be particularly challenging.

  • People: Finding, training, retaining and motivating people can be a challenge, and having someone who really knows the HR side of business is necessary. However, that isn’t an expense all small-store dealerships can afford. But, there’s a good secondary industry out there and you can find success by hiring an HR firm to handle that side of the business for you.
  • Volume & Profitability: It can be hard for single- or two-store dealerships to compete with larger firms, especially when the market dips. The group consensus at this roundtable was you’ve got to grow, which includes adding locations, if you’re going to be in the game for the long haul with a major supplier. Smaller operations need to start looking at neighboring dealers to expand to 2 or 3 stores. There’s a critical difference between the volumes you can produce between one store and two or three.
  • Succession: The dealers in this group agreed that it’s essential that everybody involved — the current generation and the next generation — work together and get on the same page. By working together you can figure out a way to pass the business down to a successor while still having enough money to retire.