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Selling RVs is a challenge. Selling boats in addition to RVs is an even greater challenge – particularly if your business is located in the middle of a desert.
Yet Rocky Mountain RV & Marine, a dealership located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has done so successfully for many years – in large part due to its family-oriented nature, strong customer service, and most importantly, great management. Given the amount of positive customer reviews on Google, it’s clear that there’s something special about this dealership.
To learn more, we decided to get in touch with Bob Scholl, the Assistant General Manager at Rocky Mountain, who explained to us how he and his family were able to turn a two-acre piece of land into a successful dealership with over 50 employees.
Find out what he had to say in our interview with him below!
Can you tell me a little bit about your dealership and how you got involved?
Bob: “We’re a family-owned business, conceived on a restaurant napkin back in ’86 – though we officially opened our doors in ‘87. It was my father, aunt, brother and sister who started the dealership, and at the time, it was on a small two-acre piece of land.
Rick and Judy, the brother and the sister, had both worked for an RV dealership before, but they felt that there had to be a better way of running a business and treating customers, which is why they founded Rocky Mountain.
My cousin Terry and I have been with the company pretty much ever since its inception too. We both started out as detailers, oftentimes working until midnight wiring up, installing hitches and all those things – because we only had about six employees at the time.
And over the years, we’ve grown, of course. We’re now on a nine-acre piece of land with over 50 employees – and my cousin and I are still here at the helm.”
What would you say makes Rocky Mountain special?
Bob: “The fact that we truly are family-owned. Out of the 50-plus employees, nine of them are family members, and we’re in our third generation of family that’s working in the dealership.
In my opinion, what’s also helped us is our vision of how we want to take care of our customers – we want to them to feel as if we are their family. You know, everybody’s got a family doctor, family dentist and so on. We want to be everybody’s family RV dealership, and we try to convey that kind of ‘hominess’ to every customer that walks through our front door.”
Can you talk a little bit about your role at the dealership and your key responsibilities?
Bob: “My title is the Assistant General Manager, and my job duties involve overseeing all four primary aspects of our dealership – Sales, Service, Parts and Finance.
So, I’m directly involved in each one of those departments, helping set guidelines, processes and procedures to make our employees’ jobs more efficient and easy. That way, when the customer comes in, they can have an experience that’s above and beyond what’s expected.”
What would you say are some of your biggest challenges?
Bob: “I’d say the employees – making sure that we’re training them in the right fashion, so that they understand all the processes and have the same attitude toward customers that we, as owners, do.”
What would you say is the biggest challenge of running a dealership that sells both RVs and boats?
Bob: “The biggest challenge is that we’re selling boats in the middle of a desert. The closest body of water you can put a boat on is two and a half hours away.
But, you know, again, there’s plenty of people who want to get out on the water and have a good time with their family. We give them that opportunity. People today, especially the millennials and gen-Xers, want to get out and enjoy life just as often as they work – basically, a 50/50 split between fun and work.”
When did you guys implement IDS, and what was the reason for doing so?
Bob: “We started with IDS roughly around the early ‘90s. Before that, we were using Columnar Pads, and we didn’t even have QuickBooks. But, we started getting to the point where we were rapidly increasing our number of employees as well as the amount of business in all of our departments, so there was just no way that we could continue doing things the old way.
We needed some sort of a software package – something that would allow us to save time on all of our bookkeeping, which was our primary focus at the time. We didn’t even think of streamlining the processes for our Service, Parts and Sales departments, though that’s exactly what we ended up doing eventually.
That’s why we took on IDS.”
What would you say are some of the biggest challenges that IDS helps you address?
Bob: “Today, the biggest thing is the help we get with our Service department. From scheduling to estimates and work orders – it allows us to handle more business, stay on top of all the processes and maintain better communication with our customers.
Service department is probably the most influential department in customer retention for us. So, having IDS has been our biggest advantage.”
What is your favorite feature or functionality of IDS?
Bob: “The job scheduler. It allows us to officially schedule customers in and then assign the technicians that would be working on their vehicle. This in turn lets us get our customers in and out at a much faster rate.
It also provides us with the grids that we can utilize to monitor the customer’s vehicle, technicians’ time, parts on order and all of those things – on a daily, hourly or minute basis.”
How do you like the IDS Mobile App?
Bob: “Every one of our techs has their own iPad with the IDS Mobile App on it. It saves them a tremendous amount of time since they no longer have to go back to a computer to log in all their job corrections, and so on and so forth. The picture-taking functionality is a blessing, especially now that the manufacturers require them on virtually every job done for warranty – not to mention insurance jobs.
Our Parts department uses the Mobile App as well – for their cycle counts, which is something we’ve only just recently started.”
How much would you say IDS has contributed to the overall success of your business and that of your team?
Bob: “I can tell you, we would be nowhere near where we are now, today, if we didn’t have IDS. I think it’s taken a lot of time-consuming activities away from our managers, which gives them the ability to manage the people. So, if you asked me how much of our success is due to IDS, I’d say probably about 40%.”
In what way has IDS affected your professional life?
Bob: “It’s made my life as a manager much easier, especially lately. It’s given me the ability to quickly pull up useful reports and graphs on each department and manage each of them based on that information. It’s also given me the opportunity to properly define the processes and metrics that keep each department in order, allowing us to be more organized and efficient.”
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