OPE 2018 Dealer State of the Industry Report

By John Kmitta

 

To provide insight into the Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) industry, OPE magazine sought insight from dealers by conducting an in-depth national dealer survey during August 2018.

This is the eighth time that OPE magazine has conducted a comparable dealer survey (the previous surveys were conducted in 2001, 2006, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017).

Through the years, the surveys have asked nearly identical questions about dealership metrics, although the past three surveys (2018 included) have included additional questions about websites and social media usage. Below are the 2018 survey results. To see this year’s results stack up versus the response totals to the same (or similar) questions from prior surveys, please see the October issue of OPE magazine or visit https://read.epgmediallc.com/i/1030538-october-2018.

Before you sift through 2018 results below, the following are a few key areas of note and other observations regarding this year’s responses and how the OPE industry has changed throughout the years.

  • The age of dealership owners remains high, and, in fact, the percentage of dealership owners age 60 or older is the highest ever in terms of our survey respondents. Nearly half of all dealership owners who responded (48%) are over the age of 60. That is nearly 30% higher than the number of dealership owners 60 or older in 2001 (18.77%).
  • When combined with the number of owners in their 50s (28%), that means that 76% of the owners who responded to this year’s survey are age 50 or older.
  • On a positive note, 55.10% of respondents have expanded their dealership in the past 5 years, which is the highest expansion mark since our 2006 survey (55.68%). This year also saw a record low (8.16%) in terms of those who have downsized during the past five years.
  • Only 24% of respondents plan to sell their dealership in the next five years. However, only 42% of respondents have a succession plan in place for their dealership, which is noteworthy considering the rise in the average age of dealership owner.
  • This year’s survey saw a 12% increase in the number of dealers who made an annual gross income of more than $1 million (58% in 2018 compared to 46% in 2017).
  • Workforce numbers stayed fairly consistent, with slightly more than 73% of dealerships employing fewer than 10 employees, and the majority (84%) employing 4 or fewer service technicians.
  • Nationally, 96% of respondents now charge a shop labor rate of at least $60 per hour (74% are charging at least $70 per hour).

 

The 2018 OPE Dealer State of the Industry survey results are as follows:

Age of dealership owner?            

20-29: 0.00%

30-39: 8.00%

40-49: 16.00%

50-59: 28.00%

60 plus: 48.00%

 

Number of employees?

0:  2.04%

1-5: 40.82%

6-10: 30.61%

11-15: 12.24%

16 plus: 14.29%

 

Number of service technicians?             

0: 0.00%

1-2 techs: 44.00%

3-4 techs: 40.00%

5-6 techs: 10.00%

7-8 techs: 2.00%

9-10 techs: 2.00%

11-12 techs: 0.00%

13-15 techs   2.00%

16+ techs       0.00%

 

Annual gross income of dealership?                 

Less than $100K: 6.00%

$101K-$250K: 8.00%

$251K-$500K: 10.00%

$501K-$750K: 8.00%

$751K-$999K: 10.00%

$1M-$1,999,999: 20.00%

$2M-$2,999,999: 18.00%

$3M-$3,999,999: 6.00%

$4M-$4,999,999: 4.00%

$5M or more: 10.00%

 

Satisfaction with profit margins?                       

Very good: 0.00%

Good: 32.00%

Fair: 48.00%

Poor: 8.00%

Very poor: 12.00%

 

Annual income from sale of whole goods (as percentage of total dealership income)?

Less than 20%: 16.00%

21-40%: 32.00%

41-60%: 26.00%

61-80%: 24.00%

81% plus: 2.00%

 

Annual income from service (as percentage of total dealership income)?                      

Less than 20%: 14.00%

21-40%: 50.00%

41-60%: 24.00%

61-80%: 10.00%

81% plus: 2.00%

 

Brands that your dealership services?             

Only brands sold: 8.00%

Brands sold & selected others: 50.00%

All brands: 42.00%

 

Business trends during the past 5 years?                     

Expanded: 55.10%

No change: 36.73%

Downsized: 8.16%

 

Amount of consumer/residential business?               

0-10%: 4.08%

11-20%: 4.08%

21-30%: 4.08%

31-40%: 6.12%

41-50%: 8.16%

51-60%: 4.08%

61-70%: 14.29%

71-80%: 32.65%

81-90%: 18.37%

91% plus: 4.08%

 

Amount of commercial business?                     

0-10%: 14.00%

11-20%: 28.00%

21-30%: 22.00%

31-40%: 10.00%

41-50%: 10.00%

51-60%: 6.00%

61-70%: 2.00%

71-80%: 4.00%

81-90%: 0.00%

91% plus: 4.00%

 

Warranty payment satisfaction?             

Very good: 6.12%

Good: 38.78%

Fair: 42.86%

Poor: 6.12%

Very poor: 6.12%

 

Do you offer your employees a 401(k) or other retirement plan as part of their benefits package?              

Yes: 34.00%

No: 66.00%

 

Does your dealership have a website?              

Yes: 93.88%

No: 6.12%

 

Do you think there is a shortage of qualified service technicians for the outdoor power equipment industry?                 

Yes: 96.00%

No: 4.00%

 

What is your biggest concern?                

Economy: 8.00%

Weather: 14.00%

Competition: 4.00%

Cost of operating your business: 16.00%

Profit margin from sales: 16.00%

Availability of quality employees: 36.00%

Other (please specify): 6.00%

 

Which forms of social media do you use for your business? (Please click on all that apply.)            

Facebook: 78.72%

Twitter: 0.00%

Google+: 12.77%

Instagram: 0.00%

Pinterest: 0.00%

LinkedIn: 0.00%

YouTube: 4.26%

Other: 4.26%

 

Does your dealership have a Facebook page?              

Yes: 88.00%

No: 12.00%

 

Do you carry a line exclusively?             

Yes: 34.69%

No: 65.31%

 

Do you plan to add or switch lines in the next year?              

Yes: 18.00%

No: 82.00%

 

Do you plan to expand your current dealership location or open a new location in the next year?                

Yes: 14.00%

No: 86.00%

 

Do you plan to sell your dealership within the next 5 years?                      

Yes: 24.00%

No: 76.00%

 

Do you have a succession plan for ownership of your dealership?                       

Yes: 42.00%

No: 58.00%

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