Automobile

Minnesota dealership doubles service dept. profits by bringing accessory installs in-house

And revenue is boosted by a process that has the sales team, led by General Sales Manager Katie Young, offering 100 percent of the products the dealership sells to 100 percent of the customers 100 percent of the time, he noted.

It took five months to lay the groundwork for the switch. That included hiring and training five new employees who primarily do installations.

Aside from additional labor expense, startup costs were minimal. Spah converted underused space in detailing stalls into accessory installation bays at virtually no cost. Product manufacturers provided employee training for free, and undercoating and rustproofing manufacturers gave the dealership installation equipment for free in exchange for buying their products.

The change yielded other benefits that can’t be measured or quantified but nonetheless are significant. For example, in-house installation has helped quality control.

“If your own employees do the work, the level of accountability is higher,” Lacey said.

The process is faster — typically one day for an installation vs. three with outside vendors.

And service department morale has improved because the process gives entry-level employees opportunities to develop specialized skills and increase pay, he said.

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