Wondering how to start a RV dealership? We take you step-by-step from start to success.
Manufacturer Relations for New RV Dealers
RV dealerships are only as good as the vehicles they sell. In today's industry environment, most dealers carry lines of motorhomes, fifth wheels and trailer units from multiple manufacturers. Products from brand names like Tiffin, Gulf Stream, Keystone, Fleetwood and others are common fare for dealerships throughout the industry.
As a startup dealership, it's important to develop relationships with manufacturers as soon as possible. The best way to do that is by contacting each manufacturer individually to identify dealer opportunities in your area. In some cases, exclusive territory rights may inhibit your ability to carry some lines; in other instances, you may be able to secure exclusive rights for your dealership.
Inventory Management Tools for RV Dealership Startups
In a busy RV dealership, inventory management is much more than an accounting function. Sales personnel need to have electronic access to current inventories as well as information about the cost and profit margin for each unit.
Since each RV unit represents a significant financial investment, you can't afford to lose track of a single RV on your lot. These days, sophisticated inventory tracking solutions aren't a luxury -- they're a core resource for any RV dealership worth its salt.
Hiring Sales Staff for Your RV Dealership
Product quality will only take your new RV dealership so far. To put your customers behind the wheel of your inventory, you'll need to invest time and energy in hiring sales professionals.
When it comes to hiring sales personnel, RV experience can be helpful. But it isn't nearly as important as a successful track record in face-to-face selling. Features and benefits can be learned quickly -- it will take much more time to teach a seasoned RVer how to convert prospects.
Once you have assembled your team, the next step is to conduct company wide training to make sure your team is on the same page regarding your dealership's sales philosophy and procedures. Periodic training will also be necessary on a go forward basis to motivate your sales team and keep their selling skills sharp.
RV Dealers Associations
For more information about RV dealerships and startup advice, we recommend emerging owners to get in touch with the RV Dealers' Association (RVDA), one of the leading trade organizations for RV dealers throughout the nation.
How to Write a Simple RV Dealership Business Plan
Haven't created a business plan for your RV dealership yet? You could be in big trouble.
Rather than avoiding your business plan, keep your business plan simple. Ultimately, your business plan is intended to be a resource for you, the business owner.
If your time is limiting, outline the essentials of your RV dealership's business plan now and make a commitment to come back to it later.
Review the Competition
Prior to opening a RV dealership in your town, it's essential to determine what the competition looks like. We've provided the link below to help you find competitors near you. Complete the form by entering your city, state and zip code to get a list of RV dealerships that are close by.
How tough is the competition in the market you are considering? If the competition is too tough, you may need to think about starting the business in a different area or even start a completely different business instead.
Studying the Market
As part of your due diligence on opening a RV dealership, it's essential that you talk to somebody who is already in the business. Local competitors are not going to give you the time of day, mind you. It'd be crazy for them to teach you the business.
However, a fellow entrepreneur who has started a RV dealership in a different city may be more than happy to give you a few tips, once they realize that you are not going to directly compete with them in their community. In that case, the business owner may be more than happy to discuss the industry with you. Our estimate is that you may have to contact many business owners to find one who is willing to share his wisdom with you.
How would you find a RV dealership owner who is willing to talk to you but doesn't live nearby?
Simple. Let your fingers do the walking by using the link below.
Why You Should Buy (Instead of Start) a RV Dealership
Spurred on by dreams of a future big money buyout and an undeniable entrepreneurial impulse, many would-be RV dealership owners are driven to pursue startup strategies.
But from a business and financial perspective, it may make more sense to leverage an existing RV dealership as your vehicle for world domination.
Existing RV dealerships are proven operations with dependable revenue streams. When you buy, you also gain the ability to sidestep all of the trial-and-error that comes standard with any RV dealership startup.
Don't Rule Out Franchising
If you are launching your first business venture, you may want to look into going the franchising route.
Before you consider starting a RV dealership, you may want to determine whether purchasing a franchise might help you avoid common entrepreneurial mistakes.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.
If you sell to RV dealerships, this isn't the right place for you. Try these resources instead:
If you are interested in starting a different kind of business, please browse our directory of guides below.