All things considered, it’s not that often that an individual who works in the daily trenches of an RV dealership becomes a published author. But Marco A. Martinez, you will find, is not a regular guy by any stretch of the imagination.
Martinez currently lives a double life as a business consultant to RV and marine dealerships and as founder and owner of Florida dealership RVCR of Ocala Inc. that specializes in used and consignment RV sales, and extensive service repairs to the general public and insurance companies.
An Air Force vet with a masters in divinity whose resume includes stints at California’s Rexhall Industries Inc. and Florida’s Turning Wheel RV Center Inc., Martinez is now the proud author of “How To Run a RV Dealership: 22 Best Kept Secrets to Help You Run Your Dealership,” a 120-page compilation of short articles he’s written over the past 10 years as a consultant and website blogger that’s now available on Amazon.com as well as his own website and at industry trade events.
Developed as a resource dealers and managers can keep on their desks and use as a lifeline when they need help figuring things out, Martinez’s book includes easy-to-follow checklists he prepared to help managers of all ages establish fruitful routines so that specific tasks are performed on certain days to ensure that nothing really falls through the cracks. The whole thrust, he says, is in helping dealers and especially new managers master the basics of dealership business management – beyond sales and F&I – an area he feels is often sorely overlooked within the industry.
“As the RV industry comes back to life, I am sensing that many dealers and general managers really don’t have a clue as to how to effectively manage the day-to-day operations,” said Martinez, who spent a brief stint in 2000 with Holiday RV Superstores Inc. (Recreation USA) after it acquired his employer at the time, County Line RV. “If they look for help online, they will find a lot of information about running car dealerships, but nothing pertaining to the RV industry.”
Martinez says the book includes segments targeted at F&I, sales, accounting, product and parts managers. “This is operating stuff,” said Martinez, an El Salvador native who has also penned religious books. “It’s not just how to have a successful sales program. One chapter talks about the importance of job descriptions for everybody in your organization. The RV industry is so disorganized. All the dealerships that I consulted for, there wasn’t a single one when I stepped in there that had a job description.
“That’s part of the problem,” he added. “Most RV people have trouble with operations because there are six people assigned to sell parts and five people in charge of various related details. It’s an endless nightmare of disorganization.”
Among the book’s key chapters:
• Get Organized
• Dealership Operations Checklist
• Inventory Turns
• Managing Used Inventory
• Dealership Profit Margins
• Understanding Cash Flow
• Capitalizing On Consignment
• Month End Accounting Issues
• Managing Warranty Claims
Another chapter addresses computerization, Martinez explained, adding that a lot of people think getting a computer system is a good thing, but computer systems only improve the processes that are already in place. They don’t create processes. “It is absolutely essential that RV dealers have these basic steps firmly in place at their businesses,” Martinez told RVBUSINESS.com. “Too many dealers are overly dependent upon software to run their companies. Here’s a tip: software doesn’t help fix broken firms.”
The bottom line, says Martinez, is that there just aren’t enough places to turn to in a business sector like the RV industry for road-tested advice. But he’s got plenty of that in addition to an extensive sales training program plus hundreds of dealership forms available on his website that could bring a semblance of organization to a sloppy shop.
“There will be some old owners who have been there for 50 years, and they’ll tell you everything about it,” added Martinez, who can be contacted at the email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) of his consultancy. “And they’ll know because of trial and error and experience. But a lot of these guys went bankrupt or are dead. Now you’ve got a new breed of people wanting to get into the business. And if they ask how to run a dealership, there’s nothing out there.