How Tim’s Mowers and More Opened Its Doors Strongly, to Stay Strong
When starting a business, it is a best practice to have a strong opening, setting you up for success along the way. Tim’s Mowers and More, located in Glennville, Georgia, began started out with good planning and research. The dealership opened in May of 2017 in the small rural community known for its annual Sweet Onion Festival after owners Tim and Karen Bland discovered that there was no other business that served the needs of their area for mower sales, parts or shop repairs.
With a background in automotive parts, Tim wanted to set everything up from the beginning for success, instead of having to backtrack later. From anticipating the needs of customers to ensuring that the right parts are there at the right time, Tim and Karen built a business already known for being knowledgeable and customer-centered.
On top of selling mowers from Toro, Husqvarna and others, the store is also known for selling scooters and even go-karts. We sat down with Karen to discuss how to start a business on the right foot and keep evolving for success in the long-term.
How do you set yourself apart from the competition?
Karen: “Our motto is ‘built on service.’ I think that has been key to the difference between our dealership and others; we not only service what we sell, but we also service all brands.”
How do you ensure your products and services meet customer needs?
Karen: “Customer needs are met through listening to word of mouth within the community. We try to stock products based on what customers request. My husband, Tim, has experience in the industry as well, so he has been able to anticipate some of those needs.”
Can you talk a little bit about your role at the dealership?
Karen: “My key responsibilities at the dealership are officially accounting and office management, and my background is in education and human resources. That being said, as a small business owner, my job is pretty broad in scope. It’s a ‘do whatever is needed at any given time’ situation.
I started at the dealership on a part-time basis since we opened, then moved to full-time since my retirement this past August. The toughest part of my job is trying to get everything done in a day.”
When did you implement Ideal, and what was the initial reason for getting it?
Karen: “We implemented Ideal when we opened the doors in May of 2017. My husband was formerly an automotive dealership parts manager, so he was very much of the mindset that we needed point-of-sale, or POS, software and something to manage inventory.
He wanted the dealership to have an accurate count at any given time. With that goal, we researched and looked at several products. We talked with other dealerships who were using Ideal and other systems. At the end of the research process, we made a decision to go with Ideal.”
What were some of the highlights of the implementation process?
Karen: “We had a very good implementation team that worked with us from the beginning to walk us through the setup, with all of the components. The tech support has been very good. We’re able to call in or use the chat online. We’ve been very pleased with that.”
What are some of the must-haves when it comes to a system like Ideal?
Karen: “When we were researching, the inventory management was a huge piece for my husband, as mentioned before. He wanted to know at any given point in time what inventory was on hand as well as have a way to manage purchase orders.
Inventory management and POS tools were both easy to implement and use, for us as owners and for our employees. Most of them are able to use the POS software with very little instruction, so we find it very user-friendly.”
What’s the biggest reason to own a system like Ideal?
Karen: “For us, it was efficiency. From the day we opened our doors, the system that we wanted was in place. It was a way to track inventory and sales as well as have some data for analysis. It gave us the opportunity to look at profitability and the efficiency of processes as well. There is so much more that you can do with an automated system versus paper and pencil.
For us, it was never an option to start with paper and pencil. We knew, from the moment that we made the decision to open the business, that we would look for some type of automation system to help with processes.”
How much has Ideal contributed to the overall success of your dealership?
Karen: “I think that the automation system, and Ideal being our choice for that, has definitely contributed to the success of the business. As we chatted about earlier, we’re able to keep up with our inventory.
We’re able to stay on top of our customer database and sales history. We are also able to track the whole goods as part of the inventory as well as the service department. That has definitely contributed to our ability to look at efficiency and profitability.”