Interview with The Power Shop on Bringing a Sense of Professionalism to a Dealership
The 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 dealership 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.
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.”
Can you describe how you personally use Ideal on a daily basis?
Rebekah: “I use Ideal for posting journal entries, for payroll, and for taxes. I pay our suppliers for floor plan invoices as well as general accounts payable and general utilities. I’m also in charge of printing account statements, taking customer payments, and dealing with all of our accounts receivable.”
What do you consider the biggest benefit of Ideal?
Rebekah: “It allows us to keep track of all of our customers, and everything we need on a business level. Without Ideal, there is no way to track anything. It would be chaos. Ideal allows us to be a professional business. Without it, I don’t think we would have any sense of professionalism, because there would be no organization in what we do.”
What features of the software have saved you the most time?
Rebekah: “For me personally, it’s the ability to track taxes, what we take out of employees’ paychecks, and what we pay to government. It’s great to have a system that makes sure we are following all of those steps. If we didn’t have it, there would be no way to reconcile those numbers and no way of making sure that I’m accurately keeping track of all of the things I need to keep my eye on. Everything would be tracked on paper, and I know I would miss something. For me, it’s just a huge comfort level to know that I’m not depending just on my own brain, or my own paper trail to catch things.”
You touched on how Ideal has given a new sense of professionalism in your business. Can you elaborate on that?
Rebekah: “Ideal has played a huge role in our ability to give our customers the sense that we are in the ’21st century’. If a customer came in and saw us handwriting invoices, or having to flip-through papers to find an order, they would think this place is back in the dark ages. But they come in, and can pull up their information right there.
The fact that we can now email invoices and statements has also been a huge time-saver for me. It’s great to be able to email statements to customers, or be able to ask them if they’d like a text when their mower is fixed. Our customers tell us we’re up with the times, and that gives us a level of credibility in the electronic and technological world. Without Ideal we wouldn’t have that.”
You’ve also been able to visit with OPE consultants, including Bob Clements, that have also helped you grow and add professionalism to your business. How have they helped?
Rebekah: “I was able to see Bob Clements speak at Ideal’s last training seminar and I really appreciated some of the specific reports he was talking about that we can access in Ideal and measure what we’re doing. He also gave good advice on how to deal with customers who call and want information over the phone from our sales or our parts people. He taught us how to respond, professionally, to those people in a way that helps the customer to understand why we don’t want to do certain things over the phone. By saying ‘I’d love to help you, but this is the reason I can’t,’ gives us the ability to serve our customers in a better way, and provide a professional answer. It also saves us time, energy, and concentration.”