Parker offers 29 service department tips

ORLANDO, Fla. – Retail dealership expert David Parker offered attendees 29 suggestions to strengthen their service departments during an afternoon session on the first full day of the 2009 Marine Dealership Conference & Expo yesterday at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

Parker, who has organized and managed numerous marine 20 Groups, began by telling the audience that there are two types of service philosophies customers will adopt toward their boats and engines – break and fix, or preventative maintenance. The break-and-fix philosophy is cheaper at the outset, but ultimately more expensive in the long run as customers not only spend money but also lose time spent on the water.

Parker said dealers should explain the advantages of preventative maintenance to customers at the time of purchase and later told dealers to balance their service workload so that they were doing 80 percent “gravy work” (preventative maintenance) and no more than 20 percent “grief work” (rebuilding the engine, lower unit, etc). He said following a preventative maintenance philosophy with customers would trend a dealership to this result.

Parker also offered advice on monitoring efficiency, paying techs, effective retail labor rates, workflow, budgeting, dealership layout and marketing their service departments.

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