In Depth: Dealers take a stance on certification

MAPLE GROVE, Minn. – The results of a recent Boating Industry survey suggests dealers are among those with strong opinions about funding the Grow Boating Initiative’s Dealer Certification program.

The survey, which attracted 89 respondents, first asked dealers whether they were aware that the Grow Boating Initiative would involve a Dealer Certification program. Only 49 percent answered “yes.”

Those dealers wishing to pursue Dealer Certification are likely to be charged a fee. It remains to be seen, however, whether that initial investment will be refunded to those dealers achieving certification.

When asked whether they would consider certification if it involved an initial fee that would be refunded upon completion of the program, 83 percent of respondents said “yes.” If it was not refunded, only 59 percent said they would consider certification.

The maximum amount most dealers would consider a reasonable initial investment was $1,000 (27 percent) or less (36 percent), according to the survey. Twelve percent chose $2,500, 14 percent chose $5,000 and no respondents indicated an investment more than $5,000 would be reasonable.

When asked how a Dealer Certification program should be funded, 47 percent said dealers and manufacturers participating in the program should pay for it, while 19 percent said manufacturers should pay for it themselves, 13 percent said dealers alone should pay for it and 9 percent said it should be funded “through the same fundraising mechanism as the Grow Boating promotional campaign.”

Despite these early indicators, it remains to be seen how dealers will react to certification once a final plan is put into place. It will likely be several months and perhaps longer before the program will be launched.

In the meantime, Grow Boating Coalition members have many decisions to be made as they attempt to create a program that will both effectively improve customers’ retail experiences, while attracting the widest possible range of dealers.

This article is part three of a series on Dealer Certification funding. Part one, Controversy arises over Dealer Certification funding, shares the vision of Larry Russo, chairman of the Grow Boating Initiative’s Dealers Standards & Quality Task Force. In part two, Dammrich speaks out on funding, Russo’s vision is juxtaposed with that of NMMA President Thom Dammrich.

If you have an opinion on dealer certification that you’d like to share with our readers, please contact Liz Walz at

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