May '17

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26 • RV PRO • May 2017 rv-pro.com D E A L E R S Treating Employees Like Family Ammari says most of his employees have an average of four to six years' tenure at the store. Some have even been with him since before the Great Recession. Treating them like family is vital. "We're easygoing, so if they need help, we help them. We have cash advances and if they need to borrow money for family issues, we work with them," he says. Best RV also offers a 401(k) plan and offers yearly bonuses for participation in it. Also, salesmen can take part in a gen- erous bonus program, too, based on units sold. There also are rewards for meeting monthly quotas. The service department isn't left out, either, he says, and in addition to weekend lunches, Ammari says his brother recently gave jackets to each employee under him. As is common with most shops, staffing is tough. Fortunately, when a competing dealership closed several nearby locations in 2008, Ammari was able to hire a handful of suddenly jobless service writers and technicians. When he can't find those with RV-specific backgrounds, he turns to the trades. "When I try to hire a tech, I'd rather have a guy with electri- cian experience because he's going to be good at troubleshooting, or I'll try to hire somebody who's good in wood and may have experience building cabinets or fixing walls or floors," he says. A big part of his staffing woes is simply the store's location. Many of those living in the Central Valley work in the Bay Area where they earn bigger salaries than if they worked locally, according to Ammari. He's had problems getting salesmen and even went through five forklift drivers before he found one worth keeping aboard. One person he can rely on is his brother. "Zee is hands-on. He's the guy who from 8 o'clock to 6 o'clock is on his feet running from bay to bay and from customers to ser- vice writers," he says of his brother, who, like Ammari, emigrated from Jordan when he was a teenager. "He doesn't sit in an office." Ammari bucks the trend to keep money on the lot by offering customers an array of items in a well-equipped parts store. He only has two buildings on his lot: one is the shop; the other is the office and showroom. Best RV does offer hitches, satellite receivers and some other niceties, but there's no space for much of anything else. Meanwhile, Ammari refuses to consider opening a second location – even though his present site is landlocked. "I can't clone myself," he says. "I'm a micro manager; I am hands-on, and if I can't see things with my own eyes, I can't process it." Best RV's service department is credited with helping build customer loyalty and grow the business. Best RV's service techs are capable of tackling nearly any type of service work, including axle repairs, front and rear cap replacements, roof repairs and replacements, and even minor collision damage repairs.

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