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P & P Small Engines Finds an Easy Way to Turn Service into a Profit Center


wo_prefs_generalWith your busy season kicking into high gear and your service department operating at full capacity, it’s time to make sure you’re doing everything you can to make sure your service department is a profit center. One of the easiest way to do that is to increase price margins on all parts that are sold through your parts department, as opposed to those sold across the counter. Hundreds of dealers across North America have already implemented this process and are reaping huge benefits.

Jeff Nicholson, owner of P & P Small Engines in Des Moines, IA, has increased his margins on parts sold to work orders and has found it’s an easy way to bring in more money.

“We’ve made changes in Ideal to bump the price on parts sold to the shop, and we started with a 5% bump,” said Jeff. “As I looked at my margins and where I wanted to get to on the parts sales, I decided to become a little more aggressive. It’s not something I would do in the slow season, but right now I actually have that bump at 7%.”

Elevating your price points on parts sold to your shop to make your service department for added profitability is something Bob Clements preaches to dealers and the end result speaks for itself.

“It’s just such an incredible opportunity,” said Bob. “We normally recommend 5%, but I think it’s great that Jeff is more aggressive with seven percent. In most dealerships, 30%of the parts you’re selling through your department are going to your shop. With Jeff’s example, if $200,000 goes through his shop, with a 7% price increase, that’s $14,000 of net profit! I would encourage all dealers to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Although there has been some concern about negative customer feedback, dealers are finding it to be very minimal and most often, a non-issue.

“I think there were a lot of dealers who were excited for this opportunity,” said Ideal’s Lead Trainer, Dave Baumgarten. “I would say that it’s more difficult to get a brand new dealer to implement, but others have started conservatively and those who using it are very happy and have not had negative feedback. It all comes down to net profit because there are no costs. It simply just generates more revenue.”

Jeff Nicholson agrees.

“I haven’t’ heard anything negative from a customer at this point,” said Jeff. “I did have a customer notice that an air cleaner was more through the shop than at the counter, but it doesn’t happen enough to where you really have to deal with the issue.”“After thinking about it and really seeing what happens just to get the parts to the shop, I think it’s justified,” added Jeff. “We’re here to make money, sell parts and sell service. We obviously don’t want to gouge the customer, but it does require more time to get parts out there. We see it as a great opportunity to make the service department more profitable and it’s been great for us.”

Ideal Welcomes Niral Vora to its Innovations Team


Niral Vora

Ideal is pleased to announce the hire of Niral Vora as its Innovations Manager.

Niral comes to Ideal with several years of experience in technology-based product development and digital marketing. He has worked with industry verticals such as retail, banking, international logistics and the government. One of his biggest achievements to date is helping uncover opportunities in digital, such as the development of a product price comparison tool for a national retailer, to help drive incremental revenue for consumer-facing businesses.

In his new role, Niral will work closely with Ajay Thakur, Ideal’s Director of Innovations, and evaluate Ideal dealerships to get a better understanding of their sales, marketing and software needs in order to develop new products that will benefit the customer base.

When Niral is away from the office, he loves travelling, learning new languages, and playing sports.

Support Advice: How to Unsubscribe and Re-subscribe in EDN/EConnect


The Ideal Support Department receives several calls about connectivity issues with EDN/EConnect. Many of these calls can be solved by unsubscribing and re-subscribing the vendor on SnapOn’s Subscription site.

Here are steps on how to do so:

1. There is one computer in your network that has the Ideal Assistant or EDI interface.  It looks like an Ideal icon that is in your taskbar.  Right-click it and click on Subscribe.  This will open up the URL to the SnapOn subscription site.

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2. Your username and password will both be either your business phone number or your vendor dealer number.

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3. Once you sign in, it should take you right to the Current Subscriptions page. Take note and write down the Vendor Code and the Account number. The Vendor code is case-sensitive.

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4. To unsubscribe, click on the top Remove for that vendor.

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5. To re-subscribe, click on Add New Subscription.

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6. Choose the Vendor by clicking on the blue link below their logo and click Integrated DMS.

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7. Type in the Vendor Code. This should match the SupplierID EXACTLY how it is displayed in Ideal (all caps). Type in your dealer number and press Save.

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**NOTE: For Kawasaki, you will have to enter the Vendor Code, Dealer Number, Password (same as your dealer number), and Subscription type, which is ‘R’ (for regular). Also state whether you allow dropship or not.**


8. Now it is time to test the interface. Go into Ideal and find an existing PO. Most EConnect interfaces have a Parts Availability. There is a couple that do not such as Toro and Pacific Stihl. If you get a response, you are good to go.

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If you are still having issues, take note of which Vendors are not working and call Ideal Support at 800-737-1620, or SnapOn tech support at 800-709-7773 and select Option #1.

OPE/Ag Dealer Success: Capital Equipment Discusses how they Successfully Run a Multi-Location Ag Dealership


CapitalEquipmentThere’s never a dull moment when you’re managing an Ag dealership with three locations. Just ask Kevin Holt, owner of Capital Equipment. Kevin grew up in the dealership that his father started in 1980. After graduating college and working in the manufacturing industry, Kevin came back to run the business in 2004. Since then, they’ve experienced tremendous growth with locations in its home base of De Witt, MI, as well as the cities of Clare and Ionia.

We recently spoke with Kevin on what it’s like successfully managing all three locations.

Ideal: Explain the progression of Capital Equipment evolving into three profitable locations. 

Kevin: “I grew up with my father running one dealership and in 1984 we moved to our current De Witt location. In 1989 we took on Kubota as a line and things really started to take off from there. When I came back to the business in 2004, we were looking to expand. In 2007 we purchased the store in Clare, MI which is an hour north, and in 2013 we opened the store in Ionia. The store in Clare is a mirror image of the De Witt location. It’s a Kubota dealership that offers rental, used equipment, and service. The Ionia store is more of a satellite store right now. It’s not a Kubota dealership, but we do offer rental and used equipment. One thing we’ve done with the Ionia store is take on Toro as a line to help diversify our business.”

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Free Profitability Webinar Headlined by Guest Panelist Bob Clements



Ideal invites you to a free webinar where dealership expert, Bob Clements will headline a panel discussion on dealership profitability with special guests Jeff Nicholson of P & P Small Engines, and Ideal’s Lead Software Trainer, Dave Baumgarten.

The webinar entitled “Improve Your Margins without Losing Your Customers” will take place on Tuesday, May 5th at 1 p.m. (ET).

Click here to learn more.

Don’t Leave Money on the Table by Not Updating Your Price Lists


One of the biggest mistakes you can make heading into your busy season is not updating your price lists.  Ideal has updated many major manufacturer lists and have added additional lists. These lists can significantly increase your profitability during your busiest times, so it’s essential you update your lists each time a new one becomes available.  We’ve had dealers lose as much as $400 on a single item by simply not updating their price lists.

To put it in perspective, if you have $100,000 in part sales and your outdated price lists are off by 5%, you must increase sales by 25% to bring in the same amount as you would with the updated price list.

Cost of mis-pricing 500

Click here to download this image in PDF


Your Ideal system provides you with an easy overview of the status of your price lists as well as the ability to add new ones. To view the status of your price lists:
1) Go to Applications>Product>Load Price Lists
2) The PL History button will show you when you last loaded a specific list
3) The Purchase Price Lists Button (if you’re on notify) will allow you to purchase a new list

Price List Status

You can also view and order price lists online by visiting this link:

If there are any lines that you’d like to added to the database, or if you have any questions about your price lists, including whether or not you have the notify option selected in Ideal, please let us know by calling 800-737-1620 ext. 223 or 224 or emailing

From the Support Department: New Process for Entering Welcome Page Tickets


In an effort to improve the service we provide to our customers, we’ve made some changes to the way you submit tickets through the Ideal Welcome Page.  These changes allow you to provide more detailed information about your request.

From the Ideal Welcome Page:

1)      Select the Click to Request a Support Call button.

2)      The pop-up window now includes Type.  Select one of the following:

  • Accounting
  • Software
  • Hardware
  • Interface
  • Product Suggestion

3)      Next, select the Priority level of your question.

4)      Select Email or Call and click Submit.




When entering this information, we ask that you be as detailed with your request as possible and honest about your priority level. Providing the correct information will lead to more efficient responses, from a technician who specializes in your specific request, and will create a better overall experience.


Did You Know? You Can Run a Report to View Warranty Expiration Dates


We recently had a customer ask if he could run a report to show warranty expiration dates so he could market to his customers who had equipment with warranties that were close to expiration. You can do this in the Ideal system by adding the Warr Exp Date field to the Wholegoods List Report using the Report Designer. Here’s how:

1) Click on the Products toolbar button, at the top of the screen.
2) Select the correct serialized product and click on the Properties button.
3) Enter the correct quantity in the Warranty Months Field. This will populate the wholegood record as units are received and sold.


Warranty Months


Note: You can also set the warranty months in the Wholegood Properties of a specific unit. This will calculate a Warranty Expiration date by adding the Warranty Months to the sales invoice date.

Once the warranty information is entered, you are now ready to run the report.

1) Select Inventory>Inventory Reports>Wholegoods List.

2) Next, select Options>Report Wizard.

3) Remove any fields from the Selected Fields column that you don’t need in the report. This will provide room for you to add Warr Exp Date from the Available Fields column.

Warranty Report Fields


4) Once you have removed and selected the proper fields, click the Finish button.

5) Next, select your desired Sales Date range and /or Warranty Exp. Date range, then click Preview to view the report.

6) If the report contains the correct information, go to Options>Save Report As and assign a report name.

Here’s an example of the report:

Wholegoods List Report

Marine Dealer Success: Blackburn Marine Distributing on Serving the Needs of a 300+ Dealer Network


blackburnBill Blackburn was first introduced to the marine industry in 1986 when he was a teenager who helped do odd jobs for his dad’s small propeller repair shop. Through the years, Bill and his father worked to grow the business into a wholesale distribution center for parts, engines and engine-related parts. Bill took over the business in the late 90s and during that time, he’s also worked to expand the service department, which now has the capacity to rebuild outdrives, powerheads and lower units for dealers.

We recently spoke with Bill to talk about how the business is able to successfully serve a network of over 300 + dealers.

Ideal: Blackburn Marine has been in business for nearly 30 years. Can you tell me how you became involved with the business and explain how the business has grown?

Bill:“My father started the business in 1986 as a propeller repair shop. I was around driving age at that time, so I was involved from the very beginning helping with sales, deliveries, and working in the shop. He and I grew the business until the late 90s when I bought the business from him.

The business has grown from a small propeller repair shop to a wholesale distributor of parts, engines and engine-related parts. In addition, we still do propeller repair and welding, but we’ve also grown to do machine work and rebuild outdrives, powerheads and lower units for dealers.”

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Dealer Success: The Power Shop on Bringing a New Sense of Professionalism to a Dealership


Power-ShopThe Power Shop, located in Centralia, WA, has had a 60-year reputation of providing great service on Outdoor Power Equipment. When Cedric and Diane Pruitt bought the business 10 years ago, they wanted to maintain the same level of service, but knew some upgrades would have to be made. One of those upgrades was to computerize the business. Another was to put their daughter, Rebekah Oliver, in charge of the finances.

We recently spoke with Rebekah to find out how the business has been able to grow since her parents took over and how computerization has added a new sense of professionalism to the business.

Ideal: When your parents took over The Power Shop, they had to make some upgrades, which included computerization. Can you explain how that process went?

Rebekah: “When we purchased the business, there wasn’t a complete computer system being that was being utilize. We felt for us to allow the business to grow and be able to accurately track our sales and inventory, we needed a complete and industry-specific solution. We chose to purchase the Ideal software. Overall we have been very happy with the program and look forward to continuing to grow our business with Ideal’s help and support.”

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