The 2020 Top 100

By Jonathan Sweet

The most important question on the Top 100 application is what dealers have done to get better over the previous years. It’s a recognition that no matter how good a dealership is, it can get better. We’re looking for that constant effort that shows a dedication to continual improvement.

At the same time, it’s important that we work to improve the Top 100 program every year. Incorporating your feedback helps us to make the program better. So here’s what’s new for 2020:

New application process

The Top 100 application is lengthy and requires a serious commitment. It helps us to learn about your company and properly evaluate it. But we also recognize it can be intimidating to undertake the process. You’ve told us that it can be tough to find the time to tackle it.

So this year, there will be two applications, depending on your goals. The new, streamlined application has reduced the number of questions by half. If your goal is simply to be part of the Top 100, you can fill out this easier application. You’ll still be required to provide your financial information and other basic information, but there are fewer questions requiring long, in-depth answers.

Alternatively, if your dealership’s goal is to be considered for top awards such as the Best in Class awards and Dealer of the Year, you can fill out the longer application. This form is similar to the previous Top 100 application and allows us to take a deeper dive into your dealership.

Both applications are available at

Consumer outreach

The other big challenge you’ve shared with us is getting the word out to consumers about the Top 100.

So we’re working on improving that as well. For 2020, we’ll be enhancing the marketing kit we provide all Top 100 dealers with more materials for your dealership and boat shows. We’re also going to continue promoting the Top 100 in consumer publications during the year.

A new consumer-facing website will also help the 2020 Top 100 explain to consumers why they should care about the program. It’s all about giving you the tools to effectively promote your success.

Keep an eye out for more improvements, including exclusive access to industry data and content at the Boating Industry Elevate Summit.

And as always, the 2020 Top 100 will be recognized in the December issue of Boating Industry, at and at the Top 100 Gala on the final evening of the Elevate Summit.

Jonathan Sweet is the director of the Boating Industry Top 100  program and former editor-in-chief of Boating Industry magazine.  He can be reached at or 763-383-4419

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