New National RV Dealer Franchise Forming
"What I would really like to do is to buy my products a little more competitively, I’d like to sell more, and I’d like to be a part of a recognized brand,” Enyeart, who’s owned and operated his dealership for 15 years, told RV PRO. “I know the business. I know how it works. I know how it ticks. I know how to make it tick better. Somebody has to make the bold move to make it work for the customers, because it’s not fair to the customers what’s going on right now.”
Enyeart plans to launch his idea for a national RV dealer franchise, called Family Tree RV, early in 2013. To do that, he said he needs at least 50 dealers to be onboard. About 25 dealers are already interested in joining.
“We ultimately would like to grow the group to 150 dealers, but we also know how resistant and independently-minded these great independent businesses are,” he said. “They’re going to have to see their peers becoming a part of this to eventually cave in and do it, too.”
Joining the Family Tree RV franchise means taking on the company moniker and paying a $49,900 franchise fee per year – something that’s been difficult for Enyeart to persuade dealers to do. But, he said, the rewards of joining are endless.
Sixty to 70 percent of the $49,000 franchise fee would be used on national and local advertising for Family Tree RV dealerships, he said.
“Other than their website and maybe an ad in their local newspaper, most dealers don’t take advantage of the advertising mediums that are in their particular trade area,” Enyeart said, who added that an additional 30-40 percent of advertising expense could double most dealers’ sales each year. “There’s no way for these dealers to really expand their business and reach into other markets, and reach out to people that are thinking about the product, until they spend the money.”
If Enyeart can convince 50 dealers to join the Family Tree franchise, that would mean the company could spend $1.5 to $1.8 million on advertising in its first year. The franchise would spread its message on cable news channels and other networks, like Home and Garden, that are watched by the industry’s prime demographic, Enyeart said.
“One ad during Bill O’ Reilly on Fox (News), or during Pierce Morgan on CNN, costs about $7,000. Those are nationally-syndicated shows watched by millions of Americans,” he said. “An ad on The Home and Garden network costs $400-$500. We don’t have to spend that much money to make impactful ads that raise awareness for our dealerships nationally.”
The other 30 to 40 percent of the franchise fee would be spent on aiding the work of Family Tree RV's executive leadership – including Enyeart, who will start out as the company’s CEO and president. Enyeart said franchise leadership will work with manufacturers to ensure improved buying power, equalized freight costs, improved warranty payments and procedure, and quality construction programs.
“We’ve already talked with four manufacturers who agreed it’s time for equalized freight to happen,” Enyeart said. “We’ve also had three to four manufactures that have agreed to discounted wholesale, and two to three other big ones that will agree to it once our group is formed. That doesn’t mean we’ll get a better deal than Camping World, but that means at least we’ll get the same deal.”
“We’re also going to work with manufacturers so that every dealer can acquire every manufacturer’s parts without going through another dealer,” he said.
Other benefits of joining the franchise, according to the Enyeart, include in-house extended warranty programs, collective insurance and retirement programs for employees, local advertising assistance, floorplan lending programs designed specifically for the franchise, a Family Tree website that can host franchise-wide inventory, online parts sales revenue sharing, and repair service training.
With his plan, Enyeart said Family Tree RV could add more than $250,000 to dealers’ bottom lines with its buying power, increased sales from advertising and improved competitiveness against Camping World and Internet dealers.
“We’re not going to give up,” he said. “The dealers who are signed up now (to join Family Tree RV) know it’s going to work. But we need enough people. Sometimes a business owner needs to be bold and take a fresh step toward something new that’s going to make them more money.”
The next meeting for Family Tree RV will be announced in August.
Click here for more information about the franchise opportunity.