Mid-Cities Motorsports officials believe its staff sets it apart from other dealerships. “Our employees really care about people and customers,” said Scott Schneiberg, dealership owner. “That shows, and that’s why we get through times like this because we don’t have to spend tons of money to get people to come through the door. We have a base of customers who keep us going. We by no means are breaking the bank, but we’re still here.” At the start of the year, Schneiberg says the store began using follow-up provider FUSS. “That’s been very effective for us as far as staying in regular contact with our customers,” he said. “One of the first things that goes out is a survey card that customers can fill out and send back. It’s pre-stamped. I’ve seen a lot of those coming in. I like getting these cards back just to know what people thought. Haven’t had to (make any changes) yet, so far the feedback has been good.” To also stay in contact with its customers, the dealership has a newsletter online that the F&I manager updates monthly. Schneiberg says they’ve recently decided to gather the list of e-mails they’d been collecting for the past three years, and e-mail the dealership’s first advertisement. Schneiberg bought the dealership in 2003, but it had been there since 1988. Mid-Cities Motorsports carries Arctic Cat, Kawasaki, Polaris, KYMCO, SYM and Victory.
“My greatest concern right now is making my dealership fit my new market,” Schneiberg said. “There’s been an adjustment in the economy, everybody knows that. I don’t think we’re going to just turn around and be selling all kinds of products next year. I think this is going to settle out at some level, and we as business owners need to be making our business fit the new level. That’s how we’re going to survive, so getting it to that point sooner rather than later. Obviously if you’re operating at a higher level and not selling the product, you’re losing money. I had to eliminate 3.5 positions in ’09, and I don’t suspect I’m bringing much of those back.” He also has brought his inventory down to minimize floorplan expenses, as well as more closely watched expenses and reduced debt.
ATVs are the dealership’s No. 1 seller, but Schneiberg says UTVs are catching up. While snowmobiles don’t sell the most, Schneiberg notes they’re one of the larger snowmobile
dealers in the area. “We are a pretty decent size snowmobile dealership,” he said. “Arctic Cat sells the most for snowmobiles.”
CUSTOMER BUYING TRENDS
“Definitely more people going with the utility vehicles instead of the ATVs,” said Schneiberg. “That has been a major trend in the last two-three years.” There haven’t been customers coming in looking for ATVs but then buying UTVs, notes Schneiberg. “For the most part they come in looking for the UTV,” he said, “but they’re people who either have or had ATVs and have figured out that this is more useful for them.” In addition to UTVs, Schneiberg said the small to middleweight bikes have been popular, “what I call more of a variety-type motorcycle.”
PARTS AND SERVICE
Making up about 40 percent of its total business, the parts and service departments bring in a lot of revenue. “It’s a very important part of our business,” Schneiberg said. “We don’t do a lot of promoting for our back end because it’s been here for 22 years now. Pretty much word of mouth keeps those two departments going.” The dealership has three technicians, one service manager and two employees in the parts department.
PROMOTIONAL HOME RUNS
“A lot of word of mouth,” drives Mid-Cities Motorsports’ business, said Schneiberg. “We try to keep things very personable here and customer-service oriented. We try to differentiate ourselves from what’s around us a lot – discount advertising with high fees. The whole idea of telling people that you’re going to sell them something for $500 and when you get there and it’s $700, I hate that. That’s the way the industry is right now. Everybody I know does it. It drives me nutty.”
WORDS OF ADVICE
“Definitely know your market,” Schneiberg said. “Be straight up with your customers, and take care of your people.”