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An ideal way to move winches? Pre-install them on ATVs

Tim Holland, owner of Sunrise Honda Motorsports in Searcy, Ark., counts Warn winches as among the dealership’s top-selling accessories. Interestingly, they rarely move from the parts counter.

“I probably do 300-plus winches a year,” he said. “It’s a pretty awesome product for us. But it’s usually sold by the salesperson that’s selling the unit. It usually doesn’t get sold by our parts department. Our over-the-counter sales of winches are very, very low. About 99 percent of them are sold on the unit.”

Holland estimates that he has 20 ATVs on his parking lot showroom pre-installed with winches. In a market that’s equal parts mudder and farmer, his customers simply demand winches, which have an entry-level retail price of $449.

“That’s the trick,” he said. “We keep the ATVs dressed out with them. If they’re not on there, they’re not going to buy it. If it’s on there, they’ll buy it.”

Holland has tried other brands, but a decade of selling the Warn brand has limited his need to offer any others. “It’s the name,” he said. “It comes with dependability and durability.”

With data from ADP Lightspeed showing the impact of winch sales on a dealership’s bottom line, there’s plenty of reason to get into the game.

“Winches are clearly a top-five and must-have accessory for ATVs and side-by-sides,” said Patrick Storm, national accounts manager for Warn Industries’ Powersports Division. “It’s a great profit center for dealers, both on the sale and the install. It’s not just an over-the-counter, out-the-door sale.”

Service techs typically allot 90 minutes of install time for winches, which provides an additional revenue stream.

The Warn RT (Rugged Terrain) and XT (Xtreme Terrain) series of sealed winches come with a lifetime warranty. The XT series features synthetic rope, with wire rope on the RT series. The synthetic rope is lighter weight, easier to handle and safe, Storm said. It originated on the automotive side and has been adapted to ATV and powersports.

“We’re seeing a nice shift in the market toward the XT and the synthetic rope and the benefits of that product,” Storm said. “It gets more and more share every year, as both dealers and consumers gain knowledge and trust of the synthetic material.”

Storm has found that dealers who carry the brand also appreciate that it’s made in the U.S. Warn’s Oregon headquarters employs more than 500.

“We’re one of the few, if not the only, manufacturers to have replacement parts readily available and warranty centers around the country in the event the product does need service,” Storm said. “That’s really why dealers gravitate toward our product. We stand behind it.”

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