What have you found to be the practical benefits of your dealership participating in a dealer 20 or other peer group? What have you specifically learned that has opened your eyes to better ways to manage your own dealership?
"I do not belong to a 20 group. My tax man analyzes our monthly statement. I looked into belonging, and even drove to Jackson, Miss., but felt unwelcome. I figured I could put the $10,000 to better use at my dealership. I do think there is some benefit to meeting with other dealers. When we had a small group through our old association, there was always something to learn."
- Darryl Mordt,
Mordt Tractor, Troy, Mo.
"The Spader 20 group I belong to has been a great blessing to us here at Otts Farm Equipment. I'm quite sure we would not have survived without the 20 group's support and advice on running our business. Being able to look at other dealers' numbers and the way they run their businesses has been invaluable to us. During the '09 and '10 years we accomplished 108% absorption rate, which enabled us to survive this very difficult time. The 2012 season has been the best we have had. Other dealers may not need a 20 group, but for us it's very beneficial. I would recommend a 20 group to anyone. Also the friendships one develops are the best part. We really care for each other and our businesses."
- Dave Ott,
Otts Farm Equipment, Fallon, Nev.
"We do not participate in a 20 group. I am a board member at FWEDA and consider this time similar to time with a 20 group."
- Timothy Robinson,
Empire Southwest, Casa Grande, Ariz.
"This has absolutely been a critical component to our success as we have been involved in the original John Deere Dealer 20's group led by Currie and Assoc. for 20 years. Our group includes 16 or so of the best John Deere dealers in the country. In fact, seven dealers in this group were among the top 40 John Deere dealers in the country including Canada and Australia. The key is benchmarking, peer review, open book financial analysis, and then focusing on the details of change required while holding each other accountable. Just like a professional board of directors."
- Don Van Houweling,
Van Wall Equipment, Perry, Iowa
"I am a member of a dealer 20 group. Probably the largest benefit of attending a group like this has been learning that the problems I face in my dealership are really no different than what other dealers face in different parts of the country. By getting together three times a year we are able to discuss these problem issues that we have and learn what others have found to be successful in overcoming them. Sharing financial data is also a key element in a 20 group. We dig into our financials to understand them more and to find key areas that we can improve on so we can put more money to the bottom line."
- Nick Wamsley,
Valley Implement, North Logan, Utah
"We have been in a Spader 20 group for over 20 years. The financial number comparisons have guided us away from financial mistakes. These are accurate numbers, which the facilitators have a solid grasp of and are reviewed at every meeting and sent to dealers monthly. Also, being out of the dealership several times per year and looking at your dealership, comparing it to other dealerships and interacting with other dealers is priceless. It helps keep an eye on where the business is trending."
- Marc Taylor,
Northern Plains Equipment Co. Inc., Mandan, N.D.
"Sorry, but I haven't had the opportunity to participate in a group just yet. One of these years I will hopefully."
- Jeff Suchomski,
Suchomski Equipment Inc., Pickneyville, Ill.
"The 20 group we are in has been a benefit to our business by being able to bounce ideas off of successful dealers. It is an atmosphere of wanting to help one another, not of arrogance or who has the biggest belt buckle. Being able to compare financials, strategies and plans has been very beneficial. Since our group is a single manufacturer focus, we can compare thoughts about the influences on our business. I appreciate the other people in the group. They are new solid friends who are willing to help."
- Clayton Camp,
West Kern Machinery, Buttonwillow, Calif.
"I am involved with a dealer peer group that has 10 members. We have only been meeting since last summer, but I believe that the main advantage is the sharing of ideas and best practices within a dealership. We compare our financial numbers on a quarterly basis, and that helps us understand how we compare to like dealerships in other parts of the country.
Our group has dealers that have distance between us, so we never really compete against each other in the marketplace. I believe that dealer peer groups can be a great thing."
- David Shephard,
Bobcat of Lima Inc., Lima, Ohio
"We are not currently in a 20 group, but we are currently considering joining one."
- Doug Loudenslager,
Evolution Ag LLC, Delaware, Ohio
"We have been a member of Dr. Weber's 20 group for eight years. Our comparison with industry ratios and group interchange of best-in-practice ideas is what we benefit from the most."
- James Sommer,
Service Motor Co., Dale, Wis.
"I'm not currently involved in a peer group, but I think it would be a good idea if I ever had the time to participate."
- Cary Russell,
Blue Valley Tractor & Supply, Bucyrus, Kan.
"We are not in one. Back several years ago we went to Las Vegas and spent a week with the Spader Group that did those kinds of things. There were several boat dealers there that participated in those 20 group sessions. Some of them said it was worth it, some didn't. I think, from what I gathered, the industry you are in may make the biggest difference. I'm not sold on the idea completely in the ag industry because as a whole, most Deere dealers would not do anything to help the Case boys or Challenger guys or the Massey guys. Competition is the biggest factor. The boat dealers seem to benefit the most from this sector from what I was told and have seen. Some of the RV guys benefited too as well. That's my two cents worth."
- Larry Brannon,
B&G Equipment, Hopkinsville, Ky.