Power Profiles

One Way Marine and Motor Sports – Helena, MT – Dec. 3, 2007

One Way Marine and Motor Sports
3186 Highway 12 E.
Helena, Mont. 59601
Bruce McCullough
As a result of significant growth, One Way Marine moved from a 7,000-square-feet building to a 17,000-square-feet building three years ago and continues to stay busy. “We had just terribly outgrown our old facility, and it became a nightmare to do business out of it,” Owner Bruce McCullough said. “Since we moved out here three years ago, things have really started to go crazy.” McCullough says it helps that Helena, Mont., is growing, but a main reason for the dealership’s success is its Customer Service Index (CSI) scores. “We have some of the highest CSI scores in the industry, coupled with the fact that factory certification on our techs is a very important thing for us,” he said. “With BRP we are a platinum dealer with all three areas of vehicles: snowmobiles, ATVs and personal watercraft.” BRP is the only powersports brand the dealership carries, and it doesn’t plan to expand lines because “the Bombardier department is growing and gets bigger every year,” McCullough noted.
With Helena and Montana growing, newcomers have edged in on land that’s precious to snowmobile and ATV riders. “They’re trying to get the trail areas shut down in areas where we snowmobile and ATV,” McCullough said. “They don’t care to see what happens to Montana. They’re trying to ruin it for us old birds who’ve been here forever.” McCullough says the dealership financially supports some of the local snowmobile groups that try to preserve the trails.
The Can-Am 500cc ATV is the hottest model for the dealership right now. “Everybody wants the new 500,” McCullough said. “The new fuel-injected, V-Twin that Can-Am has just works extremely well.” McCullough says a few years ago the Can-Am 800cc was the craze, and then the 650cc entered the market and cooled those sales. The latest, the 500cc, has slowed the sales of both the 800cc and 650cc. “The ATV business is growing every year,” McCullough noted. “Spring and fall are always the best, but every week of the year, we sell ATVs.”
“Eighty percent of the guys coming in know what they want. They’ve seen the infomercials, or they’ve talked with their friends, or their friends have one,” McCullough said. “They’re coming in and saying ‘I want the 800. Here’s my money, see ya.’”
One Way Marine’s service department excels with its highly trained techs. “We probably spend $8,000-$10,000 just on schooling for our techs,” McCullough said. “It’s absolutely worth the return.” McCullough adds a lot of people want to sell the product, but they don’t want to work on it afterward because they haven’t spent the money to get their staff certified. However, because of the certifications, One Way Marine’s warranty policy is a profit-making entity. “When we have a warranty and turn it in, we’re not questioned; we get reimbursed the highest rate,” he said. The dealership’s service department grows every year, which is because McCullough says he has trouble saying no. “My thought is ‘Yeah maybe the guy bought it last year from someone else, but I’ll take good care of it, and when he’s ready to upgrade, he’ll buy from me.’” McCullough believes some dealerships don’t put the money into their service departments and in turn are not taking good care of their customers.
Because One Way Marine has been around so long, McCullough says they don’t spend a ton of money on advertising. “We usually rely on word of mouth and customer referral,” he said. “I’ve had customers I’ve dealt with for 20 years; they keep upgrading or send their friends in.” When One Marine does advertise, it’s usually on specific events, like their annual boat show in February. “We spend about $30,000 on that, and that will be better than 50 percent of our advertising budget here,” McCullough said.
“Take care of your people,” McCullough said. “We excel in customer service. We’ve always had the policy that we’re the dealership that goes the extra mile to take care of our customers, and that’s what brings them back.”
— Karin Gelschus

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