Dealers Share Greatest Challenges in 2012

A 2012 survey of Yard & Garden readers revealed power equipment dealers' biggest challenges in business. Do your personal challenges line up to those listed here? How do you meet these challenges?

1. Big Box Competition – "Having three big box stores within four miles of us adds to the difficulty. Offering what they don’t is the key to developing customer relationships and loyalty."

2. Weather Conditions - "The weather is always the first challenge we face, with no snow in winter and no rain in the summer."

3. Factory-direct and Internet Retailers – "Online retailers not only take away sales, but erode our already-slim profit margins."

4. Stagnant Pricing on Power Equipment – "We have been selling outdoor power equipment at the same price as 30 years ago. Outdoor power equipment dealers cannot survive if the OEMs don’t raise retail pricing."

5. The Economy – "People are afraid to spend and it has gotten worse. I have been in business 40 years and have gone back to running it as I did when I first started. I am showing a profit, but I am working harder for it."

6. Finding Qualified Help – "Keeping good technicians is a challenge. If one of my shop techs quit, I would have no idea where to hire another. I can't work in the shop and manage my business successfully at the same time."

7. Increased Operating Costs – "Manufacturers charge dealers more for POS literature and financing. Financing takes away 2-4% of margins." Additional costs mentioned were healthcare and taxes.

8. Where to Spend Advertising Dollars – "With all the advertising options these days, I don't know how to reach new customers and keep existing customers coming in."

9. Pressure from Manufacturer/Supplier Partners – "We are getting a lot of pressure from manufacturers to over-stock equipment or lose our contract."

10. Service Pricing – "Smaller margins force us to raise labor rates and parts margins, which angers customers and drives them to the competition."

Compare this to the list of Dealer Challenges reported in 2011