In the winter months, the dealership runs specials on preventative maintenance to keep the shop staff busy and the business profitable. He has five full-time staff members and three additional part-time employees in the peak season.
Wife Holly Hampton plays an active role in the business’s day-to-day operations. She manages the accounts payable and handles the inventory for parts and chemicals.
Managing for Profitability and Growth
Hampton became an outdoor power equipment dealer when business was easy. In 2004, sales in the industry were strong. Things since then have taken a turn and dealers have had to focus more and more on better business management, and so has he.
Becoming a dealer was a challenge that became more daunting with time as the recession set in. Through it all, Hampton managed to double his sales since opening. Finding ways to better handle his parts department was one way he upped his profitability. They now spend less time looking for parts, and more time pushing sales of the department’s inventory.
“Parts inventory had always been a challenge. You end up with so much of it, that it’s easy to lose track,” says Hampton. “As our parts inventory grew, we started using an Ideal Business Management System. While it’s been a little bit of a learning curve, it has helped out tremendously.”
Hampton uses the system to track inventory levels, special orders and deliveries that need to mail. They have several commercial customers that they regularly ship parts to, a number that grows every year.
With their sales growth, the Hamptons were able to add 3,000 square feet to their showroom in 2008 and 1,000 square feet to the service department in 2010. The larger service area was designed to provide a better workflow.
The facility they chose when they became a dealer was decided on for its price and location. The Hamptons thought about starting from the ground up, but went for a building that sat empty for 27 years.
“We were looking to build and were interested in the property,” explains Hampton. “We nearly gutted the whole thing and built it up to our liking. The property is by a school and on a corner lot. We are not on the main side of town, but it’s a very high-traffic area.”
Future plans include a revamp of the company website so new and existing customers can learn more about the business and peruse their product offering online. Hampton himself plans to focus on learning as much as he can about the industry and more ways to better manage staff, sales, repairs and inventory.
“We talk a lot with other dealers and reps, and attend every update school we can,” explains Hampton. “In becoming a dealer we learned a lot the hard way. We’ve tried many things and just continue to search for the best way for us to manage our business.”