Interview with Golf Cars of Arizona on Dealership Expansion
When Dareck Makowski, owner of Golf Cars of Arizona, bought the business, he knew he had some work to do. The previous owners left the dealership with no computerization and a bad reputation throughout the community. Through some renovations, promoting the new ownership and implementing Ideal as its dealer management system, the three-store business has added a fourth satellite location and is benefiting from a 20% per year growth.
We spoke with Dareck to find out how he’s been able to grow the business.
How did you get involved with Golf Cars of Arizona and what changes have you made to make it a successful business?
Dareck: “We bought the business in April of 2012 with three locations. Nothing was computerized. There was no database and service was booked on recipe cards. I came into this business from the HVAC industry, and we had a program that I thought was the best one we worked with called Successware. And Ideal has far exceeded my expectations. It’s a software program that’s actually better and easier to use than Successware ever was.
We opened our fourth location last December. I call it a satellite sales office in a small town. Since I took over the company, we’re doing about 20% growth every year.”
That’s some amazing growth! What do you consider the strengths of your business that have contributed to your success?
Dareck: “I feel we have several strengths. I’ve got a pretty good marketing background, which helps. When I took over and renovated the dealerships, I gave them a professional look and feel, which was something the previous dealership lacked. The previous owners had a bad reputation and I’ve been working to improve that, which has been successful. Another thing that helps is that we don’t really have a lot of direct competition. Our stores in Catalina Green Valley only have one competitor in each place. We’re the only game in town at our Sierra Vista location. We have two competitors in Tucson.”
There aren’t a lot of dealer management systems out there targeted specifically for the golf car industry. How did you come across Ideal?
Dareck: “When I began researching, I first started looking at automotive dealership programs, and was getting nowhere. I then started looking at software systems for the Powersports industry, and it came down to you and one other program. After talking with your sales rep I had no time to waste. It easily became apparent that Ideal was the one to go with.
I’ve seen one of your competitor’s software and there’s just no comparison. A friend of mine uses that program at his business. I asked him why he went with that company and his answer was, ‘well, Ideal was too expensive, so we went with them, but Ideal is a more superior program.’ I’m thinking this is something you’re going to be married to for the next how many years, and you’re going for price? The truth with these programs is that you have to get them right from the first time. I got it wrong in the HVAC business. We hated the first program. That’s why we went with Successware. Life’s lessons always cost money.”
What features do you like best about Ideal?
Dareck: “The inventory management side of it. I just love that everything is integrated. When you create an invoice, it’s already in accounting so there’s no double entry. It’s just one program for the whole business. I know there are parts of Ideal that we’re not using to its fullest potential, but taking a company from recipe cards to Ideal has brought us a long way in the last two years.”
What’s Ideal like in handling multi-store operations?
Dareck: “I love the fact that I can go to the financials dashboard and see how everything is doing on a second’s notice. I don’t have to log in to three separate stores and see what the numbers are for the day. It’s really easy to transfer the inventory from one store to the other, which is great because we move stuff around all the time.”
What features do you like best in regards to service?
Dareck: “I’m not in the service department, but one of the features I know we like is the ability to group some of the services together as a kit, such as doing a break job. The kit includes labor, all the parts, and everything else you need to get that job done.”
Do you use Ideal’s reporting options?
Dareck: “Yes. My bookkeeper used to do sales tax manually invoice-by-invoice. Now she just generates a report out of Ideal and that’s been a huge time saver.
I also love the dashboard. I’m really the income statement guy and that provides me with everything I need. I use it when I want to catch a month-to-date really quick without going into financial statements.”
In what way have you saved time and money since implementing Ideal?
Dareck: “You can enter a customer once and that’s it. It saves man hours being able to have everything in one spot. The service, the database, the accounting are all linked together.”
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to buy software for their business?
Dareck: “Take your time and make sure you’re getting the right one. Don’t worry so much about price, because you’re basically with this for the long haul.”