We received so much great feedback on Spring Cleaning Tips For Your Dealership part 1 that we’ve decided to put part two out right away. The theme in part two is much of the same, focusing on getting your business prepped and ready to hit the ground running for the upcoming building season. We encourage you to take a look at some of the basic, but often forgotten fundamentals of running a successful business. If you’re behind the eight ball on any or all of these points, now is a good time to address them before the busy season begins.
- Check your equipment – Review your process for preventative maintenance and make sure your vehicles are up to date. Also make sure your registrations and inspections are current as well. This is a good time to run your annual DMV records check if you haven’t already done so. Then go through and inspect your power equipment. Are safety guards and other protective devices in place, in working order, and being used? Is the equipment in good working order, serviced at regular intervals, and properly lubed?
- Manufacturer Literature- We’ve already talked about displays and door samples, but what about manufacturer’s literature on their product lines. These are great tools to help you close more deals, but can also be a stumbling block when they are out-of-date or even worse, not available. Make sure you have a good supply (not stockpiles that cost you money and will go stale) of current brochures for all your products, and make sure they are well-organized and accessible to your sales staff and customers. This is also a great time to have a team member create a simple inventory system for these valuable resources.
- Cabinet Lines- Most independent dealers review their cabinet lines on a pretty hit-and-miss basis. Obviously no one likes the headache of dropping or adding a new line and dealing with the subsequent training challenges for existing customers. On top of that, manufacturers know change is inherently difficult, so not all of them are going to treat your company “fairly.” You should make a point to evaluate at least one line per year, shop their products, prices, and service against the closest competing lines available. In most cases, this should confirm that you are offering a valuable line but if you find that you are not, be prepared to make a switch.
- Policies and Procedures- When was the last time you read your employee handbook? Just this morning, it was announced that the national unemployment level had dropped to 8.9% and almost 200,000 new jobs were added last month. Maybe you were one of the companies doing some hiring. If not, you may be in the near future. Dealers spend a few hundred or a few thousand dollars to have a firm create an employee handbook for them and many years later, that same book is still in use, despite the fact that much of it is just wrong! Do you have a cell phone use policy? Company car policy? HIPPA program? Remember, for your new employees, this is one of their first impressions – make it a good one.
- Employee Files- Perhaps your bookkeeper, CFO, or accountant is already reviewing employee files annually. If not they should be, and you should spot check their work because you can be held liable for personnel issues if they arise. Make sure each file has all of the required information, and that it is complete. Items like I-9’s, W-4’s and employment applications should be universal. Take the time to look over your I-9’s and make sure the people completing them are being thorough. This is also a great time to see if your managers are documenting poor performance properly. Yes, in many states your can hire and fire as you please, so don’t leave your dealership open to the headaches that come with poor documentation.
Stay tuned for the final part of this series. As always, feel free to check out our tools for cabinet dealers pagefor more tips on how to run a more efficient business and add money to your bottom line.