Power Profiles

Profile Power Sports – Conway, NH – May 10, 2004

Route 16
Conway, NH 03818

A Partnership

14,000-sq.-ft. dealership founded in 1995. “My family has been in the car business for as long as I can remember, and we started with a small office in one of the car dealerships while this facility was being built,” explains Dale Patel. Carries Honda (full line, including power equipment, but not PWC) and Bombardier (Ski-Doo snowmobiles, Sea-Doo PWC, and Traxter ATVs), “and we did carry Indian until that fell apart. Maybe somebody will buy the intellectual property and we can keep going.” Largest-selling segment is a tie — ”Snowmobiles used to be our staple, now ATVs have caught up” — followed closely by motorcycle. Sold 875 units last year, including new, used, and power equipment. Also sells a variety of trailers, including higher-end enclosed, finished, motorcycle trailers, utility trailers, and landscaping/small-equipment trailers, from brands such as CargoPro, SnowPro, Karavan, and Cross Country. 12 employees.

“My greatest concern is for the sport of ATVing to get organized and start policing ourselves,” says Patel. “Get a trail network in place, designate areas for people to ride, start more clubs, hold safe and responsible riding classes, and take care of landowners and their concerns. It’s in its infancy, but we’ll get there, I’m sure.”

Best-selling ATVs include the new Bombardier Outlander and the Honda Rubicon. In what is becoming often-heard by PSB, sizzling sleds include “anything on a Rev chassis — it doesn’t matter if it’s a GSX or an MXZ, if it’s got a Rev chassis, it’s popular,” says Patel. Two new Honda sportbikes — the CBR 600RR and the 1000RR — are very popular, as is the VTX 1300 cruiser.

Profile Powersports is in the White Mountains, a destination area for skiers. “A lot of our business comes from points south, like Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island,” explains Patel. “People have a second home here or just vacation here. Also, if those customers intend on solely using their vehicle here — that is, never take it out of state and register it — they don’t have to pay sales tax in New Hampshire. That’s a big advantage. Our customer base tends to be Baby Boomers in their 40s and 50s, pretty well off. They have more disposable income than the average person. The personal watercraft business is a little tough. We’re not really close to any good bodies of water, and in recent years PWC have become so heavily regulated, it really put a damper on that business. Customers seem to be financing less, which is somewhat surprising given the favorable rates.”

“Off-road equipment — dirtbikes and ATVs — lack designated areas to ride in,” says Patel. “Last year we saw that reflected in sales, which were stagnant. Not bad, just kind of stale. The ATV industry is where snowmobiling was 15 years ago. The states need to recognize it as a valid sport and embrace it. We’re pretty heavily involved with the Mountain Meadow Riders snowmobile club. We groom a section of trail for them on this side of town, log the time, and turn the slips in to them so they can get that state revenue for grooming. An ATV club in Madison, a town adjoining ours, is called the Valley Trail Association and is kind of in its infancy. We do whatever we can to help keep it rolling along.”

Profile Powersports’ service department includes two full-time and one part-time technician, and a service manager/service writer. The parts department has one full-time and one half-time staffer. “Service is important for two reasons,” says Patel. “First, you have to do it right to keep the customer happy. Second, if done right it can be your cash flow.” He adds, “All our service techs are cross-trained. One tends to be the snowmobile/watercraft tech, and the other is my motorcycle/ATV tech. They all can do it all, but when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, they each have their own specialty. The part-time tech does the assemblies and some simple, repetitive work like tire and oil changes and first services.”

“It’s important to stay involved with the political aspects of our business,” advises Patel. “For example, be involved with these snowmobile and ATV clubs and make your voice heard, because ultimately, that is what’s going to keep this business moving. You have to think outside the box a little bit to ensure the longevity of our business.” Profile Powersports is a member of the New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association. “The association is very dealer-oriented. The manufacturer-franchise laws in New Hampshire are pretty strong, so we feel like we have a partner on our side here in New Hampshire.” psb

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