Crowd-sourced review sites are becoming more and more popular. While they don’t replace the more intimate word-of-mouth recommendation from a trusted friend, they are certainly a go-to resource for anything from a good dinner to a mechanic. And, speaking of mechanics, how do yours stack up? Do their skills set your dealership apart from the competition, or do your customers even know you have any onsite? And, if you have mechanics onsite, are they certified?
While the powersports industry does not have an official certification body, dealers still have several options to certify their mechanics.
Available Training Options
Whether you already have mechanics on staff, or are looking to hire, understand the training options that are available. There are several educational entities that offer certified training. The Motorcycle Mechanics Institute housed within the Universal Technical Institute offers several hands-on courses and partners with all of the major bike OEMs. General mechanical skills, brand-specific electives and CPO training are all available. Online courses are also available, but lack the necessary hands-on instructor component.
Some community and vocational/technical schools offer an introductory course on automotive and motorcycle engine repair. If you have this type of school in your area, visit the campus, speak to the instructor, and get a sense of the skills required for graduation.
Finally, make sure you are aware of any local and state requirements for mechanics. Some states, such as Michigan and Hawaii, require a state exam. This article offers a good overview of the motorcycle mechanic education options.
Customize Your Skills
Before jumping into certification, consider your customer profile and dealership inventory. Does your dealership sell only certain makes, or do you offer a variety of new and used bikes from a number of manufacturers? Make sure your mechanics’ skills match your inventory. If you offer a more specialized inventory, make sure your mechanics are experts in those styles. Many OEMs will offer specialized training geared to new or certified pre-owned (CPO) inventory. Do you purchase bikes at auction? Then you need to have mechanics on staff who can bring those bikes up to sale and CPO status.
In addition, does your mechanic have body shop skills? Do you want to invest in this type of repair or modification service, or would you prefer to work with a body shop partner that has certified welders?
As a powersports dealer, now is the time to set yourself apart from the competition, support your customers for their entire ownership cycle, and invest in the skills of your employees.
Certifications are everywhere. Consumers take them as validation that a product or seller is guaranteed to deliver quality. Companies use them to differentiate themselves from the competition. Institutes of education use them to solicit new students as well as show proof of knowledge gained. Certifications can defend a business from a negative issue – or promote a positive position. Some certifications are forced upon a business by regulatory agencies – and others are willingly pursued. As a powersports dealer, what certifications are hanging on your walls or posted by the front door?