Q: I think I’d like to join a dealer 20-group, but I need to know a little more about them. What does membership entail? What are the benefits for my dealership, and what does it cost?
Our answer this month comes from Max Barker and Curtis Sloan. Max is a highly-experienced GSA Consultant who specializes in profit center accounting structure and dealership management software assistance. Curtis Sloan, VP of Sloan’s Motorcycle & ATV Supercenter, has also been an important part of the development of GSA’s unique Voyager IV real-time, online data reporting, comparison and financial compositing system.
These are questions we receive quite frequently. Gentlemen, what can you tell this dealer about 20-groups?
Most 20-groups are made up 15-20 non-competing dealers who meet several times a year at various locations around the country. Meetings may include a tour and assessment of one of the member dealerships. These structured meetings focus heavily on comparisons of member financial data, industry benchmarks and best practices used by successful dealers.
GSA often includes industry special guests and/or powersports business experts who provide us with additional powersports business insight.
So what are the requirements to be a 20-group member?
I think most groups follow the same basic guidelines as the Best Operators Club. First, you must be capable of providing high-quality, accurate data for all of the profit centers of your business. Generally, these include new and pre-owned unit sales, F&I, P&A and service. This data must be entered into a compositing tool on a monthly basis so it can be compared with other members. We use a real-time, web-based system, so we have instant feedback and comparison capabilities.
Next, you have to be willing to devote the time and money to attend group meetings. This is where the members develop their strategies for increasing sales and profits, improving customer satisfaction and growing consistently.
You must be willing to share. The discussion of best practices is a huge part of what makes the 20-groups worthwhile. When a fellow dealer tries something new, and can prove that it actually works, it really means something.
Finally, you have to be voted in by the membership. If you don’t continue to meet the criteria, the other dealers may also vote you out.
What does all this cost?
There are some differences between moderators, but what we call the BOC Elite-level membership is $5,000 per year. This includes the use of our data system, personalized monthly analysis and feedback on member numbers, access to a large "tool box" filled with forms and job aids for your business and use of GSA’s computer-based F&I training. Currently, we also have monthly F&I web conference meetings with the members’ F&I managers.
You recently finalized some exciting new options for BOC memberships. Why did you decide to do this?
Well, the "normal" 20-group concept sounds good, but it isn’t an ideal fit for everyone. Many dealers who want (or need) the benefits of a dealer 20-group do not have the data reporting capabilities necessary to join one of these groups. Others simply can’t invest the time or expense for three live meetings per year.
So how do you plan to help these dealers?
What we have done is to open our data reporting system to any dealer who wants to enroll in what we call the "Virtual BOC." This means they can use our Voyager IV software to help them develop their accounting system and bring their data reporting capabilities up to the 20-group level. They are able to print their financial composite and compare their data with other Virtual Group members, industry benchmarks and the top members of the BOC Elite.
This group has access to all of the same resources as the BOC Elite, except for the F&I web meetings. The member dealers have quarterly web meetings instead of live meetings, so there is no travel cost or time spent out of the dealership. The cost for all this is only $125 per month.
This is exciting! $125 per month? You can’t even hire most CPAs for $125 an hour to set up your accounting system and they couldn’t help you with industry benchmarks or provide the forms and tools. I’ve seen dealerships fail because they did not properly track and measure their financial data.
Exactly right. Until now, there has not been a simple way to get started in this. In addition, we have created another group called "BOC Lite." This group has all the same access as the Virtual Group, but also has a live meeting once a year. The investment for this group is $208 per month or $2,500 per year.
So now a dealer can sign up for the Virtual Group, get their financial act together, and move up to the BOC Lite or even join a high-end 20-group like the BOC Elite.