By Adam Quandt
In a recent company-wide Zoom meeting for Boating Industry’s parent company, leadership took a moment to recognize the hard work of every team representing every title under the company. They were speaking to the challenges we have all faced over the last few months and how we have come together to overcome and excel in spite of them.
There’s no denying that this has been, for lack of a better term, an interesting year in the recreational boating industry. Manufacturers and dealerships alike have powered through (and continue to power through) unprecedented challenges with the help of hard working and determined teams.
Anytime we’ve spoken with a dealer over the last few months, the most common update we’re told is that dealers still haven’t yet had a chance to breath and slow down.
“The year started out strong for us, up almost 25% over last year through the end of March,” Dan Bair, owner of the 2019 Dealer of the Year Quality Boats said. “After the pandemic broke, things slowed down considerably, and we had customers who wanted to get out of agreements rather then get in them. After several weeks though, the proverbial light switch suddenly came on and we have never been busier. We set sales records over the past three months and are close to being out of inventory. We expect we will have inventory shortages through the rest of the calendar year and probably through the model year. Most of our inbound inventory is pre-sold.”
Other dealerships tackled the worries of nervous employees as the pandemic swept across the nation, yet boat sales began to go through the roof.
“We had about four or five employees who were nervous about coming in, had young families or pregnant wives or whatever, and asked to stay home,” said Jeff Husby, owner of 2019 Top 100 dealer, Regal & Nautique of Orlando. “We kept them on the payroll but accommodated those requests. Much to our amazement that quiet period only lasted for a few weeks. Then things went crazy as the boat buying frenzy started and we sold 200 boats in 75 days! I have been in this business for 28 years and it was the wildest three-month stretch I have ever experienced and could ever imagine experiencing.”
With all of this unprecedented business throughout a historic selling season, don’t forget to take time to celebrate your team that has helped your dealership succeed and thrive through these challenging times.
Even pre-pandemic and especially now, it’s important that you recognize the efforts of your team. This crazy selling season could’ve certainly gone very differently without a strong team creating special experiences for every buyer (or potential buyer) walking through your doors.
The 2020 Top 100
Speaking of celebrating hard work, by the time you are reading this, the 2020 Top 100 application deadline will have come and gone and the Boating Industry team will be hard at work going through this year’s applicants.
Along with scouring over the pile of applications for the 2020 Top 100, the Boating Industry team is putting in countless hours into planning an unprecedented virtual Top 100 presentation and celebration event to coincide with the 2020 virtual ELEVATE Summit. The team is endeavoring to ensure the virtual format is just as special and celebratory as the annual in-person event we all look forward to every year.
We will keep all of you updated in the coming month as we iron out the final details to celebrate your successes over this past extraordinary year.