Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) magazine recently interviewed Jeff Felshaw, owner of Taylor Outdoor Power Equipment and Supplies, Cartersville, Georgia.
OPE: Please provide a brief history of the dealership.
Felshaw: Taylor Outdoor Power Equipment and Supplies began as a farm supply store, and has grown from feed and seed supply to a multi-line dealer of outdoor power equipment. Established in 1948, Taylor now has a full line of lawn and garden equipment and supplies, including one of the largest parts inventories in the area. Taylor offers top-of-the-line, affordable and reliable power equipment with brands such as Stihl, Cub Cadet, Exmark, Hustler and Scag.
Taylor puts emphasis on customer service and offers pick-up and delivery service for outdoor lawn equipment. Our parts department is staffed by experienced professionals who want to make sure customers get the right part and at a fair price.
OPE: How many employees does your dealership have, and what are their roles?
Felshaw: Three technicians, one service manager, one service writer, three sales, one parts manager, one clerical and one warehouse/delivery.
OPE: Do you market yourself online and/or via social media, and, if so, how do you approach your digital marketing initiatives?
Felshaw: Yes, we recently changed our website platform. We are now with ARI, and are finding it to be a great platform. We are able to give more information about each unit, and it is easier for potential customers to ask questions. We hope to add selling parts online within the next year. Our social media is centered on Facebook. We run a paid ad nine months out of the year, and we are sure to post specials and information approximately three times a week. We boost those posts that we feel would benefit with a broader reach. We focus on our county, as well as a few cities south of us where all of our brands are not offered. We also keep a Google ad running nine months out of the year. Our online ads represent all of our brands.
OPE: What are the keys to the success of your dealership?
Felshaw: It’s all about the customer experience at Taylor’s. Whether the customer needs parts, service or is looking to invest in a new piece of outdoor power equipment, we want them to walk away feeling as if the value they received was well worth the visit. It all starts with our service department and having the right personnel overseeing all our repairs and maintenance. That, coupled with efficient tools and a well-stocked parts room, makes high quality and fast TAT achievable. This permeates to our other departments, which feed off the success of our service department.
OPE: You recently moved into a new facility and introduced a new name. How did that come about, what has the process been like, and what have you learned from it?
Felshaw: We feel that good service is at the heart of a successful business. In our old location our technicians could not be as efficient as they needed to be. The repair mowers were kept in a warehouse across the street, and they did not have enough room in the shop area. We also wanted to provide them with lifts that would not only make working on mowers more efficient, but also easier on the technician. In addition, we were located on a back street, and we wanted to be more visible. Our community is growing, and we wanted to make sure those new to the community knew where we were.
As you can imagine, any business that has been around for 71 years must evolve. Up until about 20 years ago, we were all about farm supplies. The name (Taylor Farm Supply) represented what we sold. Over the past 20 years, the area has changed, and so has the farming industry. Many large farms get their feed direct, and we were losing some of that business. Outdoor power equipment was introduced, and has slowly grown. Now 95-plus-percent of our business is outdoor power equipment. We felt that our name needed to reflect what we did. The name Taylor was well known to those who grew up in Bartow County, and we did not want to lose that rich history. So we decided to keep the Taylor and change the name to Taylor Outdoor Power Equipment & Supplies.
The key to the move and name change has been LOTS of communication. We have tried to keep our customers and the community informed throughout the entire process – from the groundbreaking to opening. Most of the community has been very supportive.
OPE: What are the biggest challenges you face (or have faced), and how do you approach those challenges?
Felshaw: In our case, having acquired the dealership two years ago, it was the learning curve. We didn’t come from an outdoor power equipment background. At first it was like drinking through a fire hose. It really took us that first year to understand what we had, and what needed to be done. Our second full year, we focused most of our time on getting our service department where we wanted and needed it to be. Now that this area has the right people and resources, our focus can shift elsewhere.
OPE: What are your plans for the future of your dealership?
Felshaw: We plan to grow with our community. We want to be the “must stop shop” on everyone’s list when they are looking for their outdoor power equipment needs. As previously mentioned, our new location will assist greatly in this endeavor, as will our online presence and focus on spreading the word about who we are and what we do. Nothing beats word of mouth, however, so continuing to offer great service will always remain a “must do.”
OPE: What advice do you have for other OPE dealerships?
Felshaw: If your service department is broken, you will have a very hard time succeeding. Focus on people first, process second, and be very tough and strict on those processes you build. If you offer great service it makes the selling process that much easier.