Haider Saba, and his business partner Tim Walter, first caught a glimpse of what life would be like as motorcycle dealership owners when they started a used motorcycle operation out of Walter’s garage in 2003. While they saw some success for a year or two using eBay, they were in their early 20s then and both wanted to get their lives started career-wise.
Walter went to work for a successful family business, and Saba went to work for a bank. Fast forward to 2009, and the longtime friends were itching to revisit those same dreams they had a number of years ago – running a successful used motorcycle dealership. The difference this time around was that both Saba and Walter had more life experience and a better understanding of what it would take to run a business.
So, in 2009 iMotorsports became incorporated, and in April 2010 it opened its doors. Now 32, Saba is co-owner and general manager of the used motorcycle dealership he says is the largest single location used independent dealership in Illinois, and might likely have the highest volume as well.
“We’ve seen tremendous growth of about 40-50 percent every year since we started,” Saba says. “We started with 20 motorcycles in stock and in our first year we sold 110-120 motorcycles from April to December.”
Just last year, 2013, iMotorsports sold 500 motorcycles with an average inventory around 130. This year the dealership is on pace to sell anywhere between 750 to 800 units.
“We’re actually exceeding our 50 percent growth prediction of 750, and if everything goes well we should be able to beat that and get closer to 800,” Saba says. “Our average inventory right now hovers around 200 units.”
Four years after opening its doors, business is looking good for iMotorsports. In fact, business has been so good the dealership moved to a new 25,000 sq. ft. location in April of this year.
“In my eyes, and I’m probably a little biased, it’s one of the nicest motorcycle facilities I’ve ever been to,” Saba says. “It’s an old car dealership. We have a front showroom, a rear showroom, parts and accessories, full service department, and a full F&I department.”
So why did Saba and Walter decide to focus on the used market? “We believe there is a huge need and demand for the used market,” he says. “I think people like us are the start of a trend. I think you’re going to see a lot more guys like us in the next five to 10 years get on that bandwagon who realize there’s money to be made, and no franchise watching over you, telling you what to do.”
While success has found iMotorsports, it wasn’t by dumb luck or a good dealership location. In fact, it was quite the opposite according to Saba. He says hard work, good marketing and outperforming the competition were the keys.
“Since 2009-’10 we worked out of industrial areas,” Saba says. “We had to be sought out and found. I’m thankful for that experience, because what that made us do was go above and beyond in our marketing and advertising.”
Due to those circumstances, iMotorsports needed to go above and beyond what some dealers in better locations might have had to do to get customers in the door. “We really had to be on top of our game with a great website, great marketing, great prices, the whole nine yards,” he says. “Some of the issues you see in the industry today are guys that had or have a great location who wake up every morning and think people are going to walk in, and that’s not going to happen. You have to go out there and get the customers.”
iMotorsports’ early days forced Saba and his team to think differently about gaining customers. The dealership prides itself on offering its customers perks that others don’t and likely won’t.
“One of the biggest policies we have in place that I’m really proud of, because I don’t think anybody else does this, is free shipping to the main 48 states,” he says. “We’ve gained a lot of customers over the years because of that. We have return customers from California, Florida, New York and more. When a local customer comes in and says, ‘Hey, where is that bike I saw yesterday?’ And I tell them that a guy in Louisiana picked up the phone and bought it, they are dumbfounded.”
Furthermore, what separates iMotorsports from its competition is its pricing, which s very aggressive for a large dealership its size.
“I shop other dealer’s websites all the time nationwide to see where they are pricing their inventory, and we try to be one of the cheapest,” Saba says. “I can’t say we are always one of the cheapest, but we are pretty darn close almost every time.”
In addition to free shipping and strong pricing, Saba offers his customers a money back guarantee on his used inventory, even for out-of-state buyers.
“When we ship the motorcycle to you and you’re not happy with it, pick up the phone and call us within 24 hours or 50 miles and we will offer you a 100 percent money back guarantee as long as the bike is in the same condition,” he says. “All we ask of them is to pay for the shipping that iMotorsports spent back and forth. That’s another policy even local dealers don’t offer to customers, let alone across the country.”
Customers certainly feel more comfortable knowing they have a money back guarantee on their purchase, but Saba says the policy is very seldom exercised.
“We try to go above and beyond and tell customers exactly what’s involved with their purchase before they purchase it,” he says. “Every motorcycle we sell on our website not only has pictures, but also has a high-definition video where you get a walk around and you hear the motorcycle run.”
Having such high detail within its website descriptions of its motorcycles has greatly benefitted the company.
“I would say 80 percent of our business is local Chicagoland business, but nine out of 10 customers today are hopping online to buy,” Saba says. “That’s how people are finding the vehicles they want to buy. Once they do find a motorcycle they like, then they can go down to the dealer and sit on it and look at it and be sure of the purchase.”
Given iMotorsports’ brief, but highly successful history, it seems many customers will be pleased with their used motorcycle purchases for years to come.
“Our goal moving forward is to keep doing what we are doing and keep growing and finding new ways to stay ahead of the curve,” Saba says. “We always want to be ahead with new ideas, new policies, new ways to improve the purchasing process and experience, and give you more peace of mind.”
504 Congress Circle N
Roselle, IL 60172