Not every dealership sells nationwide, but the ones that do have likely faced difficulty finding financing for customers located in other states, resulting in lost business. Florida-based St. Petersburg Powersports aims to keep a hold of those customers by centralizing the financing process at one of its three locations, Corporate Finance Manager Robert Matt told Powersports Finance.
“We’re a multi-state company, so not only are we in Florida, but we also have a store in Illinois, and we’re going to be opening up other stores, as well,” Matt said. “We’re also starting a business development center (BDC) department, but this BDC department is different from other ones in the aspect that it’s going to be finance-based. We’re going to centralize all the financing through one department. So, if the Orlando store needs financing, the St. Petersburg store BDC will process their credit apps when we get them their financing.”
St. Petersburg Powersports is a franchised dealership that carries brands such as Polaris, Indian, Victory, and Triumph. In 2016, it was bought by iMotorsports, an Elmhurst, Ill.-based dealership that specializes in Slingshots, Indians, and Can-Am Spyders. With Orlando, Fla.-based iMotorsports Orlando, the three stores make up the iMotorsports Dealer Group.
The St. Petersburg location will serve as the financing hub for the dealer group, connecting the dealerships’ various lenders to maximize their financing potential. St. Petersburg Powersports works with lenders such as Performance Finance, ThunderRoad Financial, Model Finance Co., Marine One Acceptance Corp., Synchrony Financial, and Sheffield Financial.
In addition to getting an Elmhurst customer financed in Elmhurst, the St. Petersburg BDC can pull lenders from other stores to finance consumers in other states.
“What I can also do — because we also ship nationwide — is let’s say a customer in Texas calls up and says they want to buy a motorcycle in our St. Petersburg store,” Matt explained. “They have credit unions up in Illinois that will finance in Texas, and I might not have a bank that finances in Texas out of the St. Petersburg store. So, before, I would lose that customer. Now, because the customer is not in-store, I can transfer it to my Elmhurst location, finance it through Elmhurst, and do it that way. It allows me to capture more business while not losing a customer.”
One of the challenges of this method is that it can create a lot of paperwork. Matt, who worked in automobile dealerships before switching to powersports three years ago, stressed the need to use one portal that can streamline the whole process, naming aggregators such as Octane Lending, AppOne, and Dealertrack. That way, the dealership doesn’t have to enter the deal “19 different times.”
St. Petersburg Powersports has begun implementing the new BDC and plans to start financing the two other stores in the coming weeks.