6801 South Orange Avenue
Orlando, FL 32809
4,500-sq.-ft. dealership founded at the present location in 1988. Carries Kawasaki ATVs, watercraft, and Mules; and Arctic Cat ATVs. Largest-selling segment is ATV. Seven employees.
“We need more riding areas for recreational use,” says General Manager (and Betty’s son) Kevin Simmons. “They’re trying to open up more state-run off-road areas in Florida, which I think would open up the opportunity for more people to buy them.”
With the watercraft it goes back to rider respect, he says. “Some riders totally disregard the laws and ride within 100 feet of shore or jump right behind boat wakes.”
“The new four-stroke, the Kawasaki STX-12F, is an awesome boat,” says Simmons. The hottest ATV at Jet Ski Orlando is the new Kawasaki Prairie 700, then the V-4 700, then the Arctic Cat 400 MRP (multi-rack platform). “We sell quite a few Kawasaki Mule utility vehicles, so our biggest parts sales are for that unit, and it’s due to commercial use. The Mules get used day in and day out, and get torn up a lot.” Orlando customers are using their standard-size ATVs for hunting, recreation, and utility.
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
The typical Jet Ski Orlando customer is a professional, 40 to 50 years old, with an above-average income. “With the manufacturers offering great rates and programs, more people are financing,” notes Simmons. “And they’re financing more items at the time of sale. Extended warranties are much easier to sell at then, because of the interest rate.”
“The Ocala National Forest is near us, and a lot of ATVers go up there,” says Simmons. “They’re really trying to close off the area, and it’s due to a lack of respect from the riders who are not staying on the trails and blazing through the swamp, which is upsetting the environment.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Jet Ski Orlando has one full-time staffer and one part-time salesperson in the parts department, and four in the service department (all factory trained).
WORDS OF ADVICE
Simmons says that the best advice he has been given is to put the business first — “the employees, and the healthiness and the strength of the dealership — and not the interests of others, even the OEMs. And control debt.”