November '19

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72 • RV PRO • November 2019 rv-pro.com D E A L E R S N o one will tell you running an RV dealership is easy. Unlike some other businesses, it can require major investments in inventory, facilities and employees. There are reams of government forms required with each sale. And, swings within the economy can quickly turn profit into loss. And while industry associations offer some educational assis- tance, when it comes to the nuts and bolts of operating a deal- ership on a daily basis, getting industry-specific and nuanced advice isn't an easy thing to come by. That is, unless you are a dealer principal or general manager who has opted to join a group of peers in one of the 20 Groups that have served the industry for almost a half century. Sound too good to be true? Well, it does come at a price – in dollars, time, and the willingness to be totally honest and upfront with information not everyone is comfortable sharing. 'You're Naked' If anything, it's that sharing that may keep more dealers from belonging to 20 Groups. Or, to put it another way, they may understand too well what's expected in participating in such a group. John Spader, a principal in Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Spader Business Management, says he believes most dealers in the RV industry have an idea of what a 20 Group is, or at least an awareness of the concept. Says Chuck Marzahn, a partner in Virginia Beach, Va.-based Marzahn and King, "These kinds of groups are fairly common. They have them in the car business, in the motorcycle business, in the boat business. It's a fairly common practice these days." "The biggest thing with 20 Groups and the reason more people aren't in them or don't belong is that they aren't for everyone," Spader says. "You have to be all in there. You're For dealers willing to be totally honest about their operations, participating in a 20 Group can be an incredible resource for sharing best practices, 20 Group moderators say. By K. Schipper John Spader with Spader Business Management shares best business practices related to running an RV dealership with dealership personnel during a training class. 20 X Better PHOTOS COURTESY OF LEE BERRYMAN, JAN KELLY, MARZAHN & KING AND SPADER BUSINESS MANAGEMENT

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