Broward Motorsports-Davie, Fla.-October 5, 2009

Broward Motorsports and BMS Choppers, while separate businesses, compliment each other quite well. The dealership in Davie, Fla., was bought in 2002, and President Sam Nehme says they started BMW Choppers, a customizing line, on the side, which eventually turned into a whole separate entity. Then in January 2008, Broward Motorsports added a second location in West Palm Beach. Both locations have about 50 employees, and between the two stores, Nehme says they carry 11 franchises. They intended to pick up Ducati in the fall. “Our business is interesting because we’re not for one specific customer,” he said. “We sell motorcycles, ATVs, dirt bikes, scooters, watercraft and jet boats, but then we diversified into this sport chassis truck line, which is an exotic truck line, high-end.” The trucks range anywhere from $120,000-$250,000. “We also diversified into the
T-Rex, which is two wheels in the front, one in the back, which is about a $60,000. Concept boats are boats that vary from
$80,000-$400,000. When a customer walks into our showroom, there’s no reason for them to go anywhere else.”

Nehme’s greatest concern accompanies what he has noticed in customer buying trends — lack of financing. “As soon as the banks start lending money, dealerships start selling product, and that’s when things start rolling again. We’re definitely feeling the pain like every other dealership,” Nehme said, referring to the tighter lending restrictions. “Our lenders are really limited to strictly the manufacturers’ programs. We’ve tried to get relationships with local banks and credit unions but the problem we have is we’re in Florida. Florida is almost a bad word. Banks and lenders hear Florida, and they think that’s where all the fraud and scamming happens. They get scared to loan money, especially south Florida.”

BMS Choppers got off the ground because of the work Broward Motorsports did with customizing Yamahas. “We do a big volume on that Star line,” Nehme said. “We also do a lot of watercraft and boats. We do very well with sport bikes also.”

The financing just isn’t there for Broward Motorsports in south Florida. “Banks are being very strict,” Nehme said. “They’re looking for reasons not to approve people. We’ve seen people walk in with quality credit, but they’re getting turned down. The government is giving the banks money to lend to get the economy rolling again, but they’re not lending.” When a customer does have good enough credit to buy, Nehme says they’re looking for deals they wouldn’t get in a stable economy. “They’re doing their research,” he said, “and they’re expecting an unbelievable deal because deals are out there right now and they know that, so your margins aren’t as high as they should be.”

Unlike what many dealerships have said they’ve seen, Nehme says the dealership’s parts and service business has stayed relatively even compared to previous years. “I can’t say we’ve seen steady growth or spike,” he said. “Everyone has been saying people are keeping their bikes, so they’re going to invest more in their old bikes. We probably saw that for a little while, but now we’re seeing our normal numbers.”

Carrying such high-end products has attracted a lot of celebrity customers, says Nehme. “Just this year alone we’ve done business with Sean Combs, Flo Rida, who is a rapper, Lil Wayne, Bow Wow, Randy Starks, a Miami pro football player. Flo Rida, who is based in Miami, came in and bought a Spyder and then he bought a second and third one. From him having them, others have came in and bought them because he has them.” The dealership utilizes its celebrity customer base to boost the dealership’s brand. A popular DJ in south Florida along with Flo Rida joined the dealership in a charity ride for Miami Children’s Hospital, and Nehme says they had a great turnout for that. “We ended up having over 200 riders,” he said. In addition to the celebrity customer base, the dealership does the usual billboards and TV ads. Through BMS Choppers, the dealership attends a lot of events as well. “We get contracts from promoters that do custom bike shows, custom auto shows, tattoo shows,” Nehme said. Broward Motorsports had been paying to attend a lot of the custom bike shows, but Nehme says ever since they won a bike build off that ran on ESPN, they get promoters to pay for the dealership’s expenses to be there. “You go to event, and it costs you $5,000-$10,000 minimum,” Nehme said. “Now we’re getting paid to do that. Promoters want our custom bikes to be on display. There are customers who come to the shows who want to see our stuff.” Between Broward Motorsports and BMS Choppers, Nehme says they always make sure to cross-promote the brands. “Our rig that goes to the shows is wrapped with both names and all the manufacturers’ logos,” he said. “We always take advantage of being there and being able to promote all the products we sell.”

“The biggest thing I would say today is to be smart in your overhead,” Nehme said. “Looking over every expense that you have and make sure it’s necessary. When you’re profitable and things are going well, you get a lot more laid back and you’re more apt to spend money in areas you wouldn’t otherwise. Advertising, payroll are the biggest expenses and those are the areas easiest to cut back, but be very cautious in your overhead and be very cautious in your ordering. Don’t let the manufacturers force you into ordering. Order only what you truly believe you can sell. The days of stocking a whole bunch of inventory in your warehouse need to go away. You need to stock smaller amounts and order more frequently. It’s a big way for dealerships to cut back on their overhead.”
— Karin Gelschus

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