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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Some of you know I've been working in the industry for a few years now. I have a job now that I will be starting that has nothing to do with snowmobiles or any powersports and I'm happy as ever. Snowmobiling was always my life long family and personal hobby. I went to school and got a 4 year degree in automotive emgineering technology. After that I went to work for a small polaris engine remanufacture and clutch shop in southern MN (we will call this job1). Alot of you know the name. And then to escape that so I could actually get paid I went to a polaris / cat dealer (we will call this job2)

  1. You know the saying "if you love what your doing for a job you never actually work a day in your life." Well thats wrong. I love working on my sled and improving it here and there. So I took job one. I should have known to be weary when I was offered a wage that was worse money than ive ever made in my life. I denyed that, but then was called back for an ok starting wage. Time goes on. End up working 6 am to 6 pm every day for a month. The owner decides to buy a bigger shop. Awesome! Except he lays us off and expects us to come in to work as "volunteers" to move the shop. And if we don't he will offer us a job back and give us zero hours so he doesnt have to pay in for unemployment. He did it before, for someone he fired. So months of that crap, promised we would be reimbursed. I find out that's a lie. And after working 10 to 12 hour days to move his shop he tells his last 2 loyal grunt workers (clutch guy me and engine builder other guy) who both went to school for this. That we need to work harder, we are a disgrace to the male species and we need to go cry to our mommies.... Both of us left on the spot. I had a job within an hour down the road at job 2 which would give me better hours and much better pay.
Job 2 is great, I like it. Has structure and a boss who isn't a dictator wannabe. Hours are regular and everyone there is awesome. Nothing bad comes out of job 2. What wore me down was the snowmobile customers. Holy chit. Snowmobile season is absolutly nuts. I dont even have time to pick my own ass. Not all customers are bad. Some are great! And those guys we applaud you. I've never worked somewhere where people try to cut the prices so hard. Its like they think its a garage sale! "What kind of deal can I get? Can I get a discound if I buy 2? How are the prices so high? I'm not leaving until you give me a reasonable price. I know you got more wiggle room than that (we don't)" Every single day at least 3 of those phrases are said.

Guys if you wait until there is snow on the ground to get your sled ready or repaired from last year. Dont get pissed at your dealership for not having your parts you need. Winter happens every year around the same time. Its no surprise. I know you have a very short season. im a rider too and half my snowmobile time is taken away because I work every other weekend to help you out.

Everyone has this mindset in the snowmobile industry that if you buy a few things from a snowmobile buisness that your now buddies and you should get good deals for "supporting" their buisness. When in fact by them giving you deals you are hurting their buisness. I swear its like dealing with people at a back alley chinese market. Ive had a guy seriously ask me if he could borrow my personal sled for the weekend because his was broken. I thought he was joking until I said "yeah right" and his response was "well ive had a dealership do it for me before in the mountains" good for him. Hes a saint and an idiot. He got upset! What!? I cant beleive how the some of the snowmobile community treats their dealership.

Now not all guys are like that. They are understanding, dont ask for hand outs or discounts and are patient. To those guys, thank you. Seriously. You dont get enough recognition.

Guys if your going to a buisness who gives a crap about snowmobiles and work on sleds or sell parts. The guys who know what they are talking about and are really helpful are also snowmobilers. I guarantee those guys are sacrificing serious ride time for you. And the guys who do. You need a round of applause. To have the joyful part of the sport stripped half way away every single year, your saints and dont deserve the crap you have to take day after day.

One night I was getting home after work in the winter. It was about 6:20 pm. I saw these guys on sled riding the trail. I could see they were low slung old indys and they were just taking this awesome sweeping corner at a good speed. It made me think. I used to do that. I remember doing that with my family on a week night. Going to the bar and grill for dinner and ripping back home. It made me happy for those guys! And I realised, in this industry and where I work. Ill never have that ever again. Thats when I knew I wanted out of the industry. And I finally am out of the industry. Its time to make my hobby, a hobby again. And thats where I will keep it. I learned alot. Theres nothing I can't do to my own sled. I have the tools I need. I'm glad I did it. But I'm way happier I'm out.

To those small shops who are legit, dont abuse your small staff and take time out of your own sport to help others in the sport. I thank you. Northstar rick is someone who I see is one of those guys. I never had work done from him. But I did build his clutch for him. I saw your name on the list and I did what I did. Built you your clutch to be damn near as perfect as I could get it. I was happy to see you liked my work.

My insight is over. Or rant. What ever you may call it. If someone is working on your stuff. Be a good normal person. It keeps those guys going.
 

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Things change.
Sledding is not what it used to be.
It costs more to buy, to ride, to transport, to repair, ext ext.

There is nothing wrong with a customer trying to get the best possible deal on a big ticket purchase. It's not their fault the seller is having trouble moving sleds, or not making money. I support local business and always treat any dealership I buy from with the upmost respect, but there have been stories of negative cases.
Fun Unlimited near me in Gouveneur, NY is a great dealership, Mr. Powers treat his customers well and they are great people, would absolutely buy from them.
Before they arrived though, Nesco's used to be a Cat dealer in that same area. They mishandled money, didn't repair sleds properly, delayed repairs/service and eventually went belly up, I even heard reports from a few folks they would keep profit from sales and other types of corruption, like taking customer sleds for rides, beyond just testing....I'm talking actual trail rides. Many people were not happy and some got royally screwed, so its not all roses when dealing with a dealership.
Now this is a far and few between example, most dealers are solid, but this type of thing does happen, it all comes down to that business's personal and leadership.

For some this big ticket 8K-12 purchase only happens a few times in their lifetime, so its not unfathomable for a buyer to expect service and honesty from that said dealer, even if the warranty expires, he should be able to get honest service, obviously having to pay for it. I feel the same way about groomers you feel about workers at dealers, they put in alot of their time to make it better for everyone else. I always buy those guys a drink if I ever see them stopping at a pub and/or gassing up.
But a buyer does have a reason to be frustrated sometimes, and being a dealer, its your professional responsibility to put up, help and deal with those said people. I deal with attitude and pissy employees sometimes at work, its part of the job.

And lastly, going back to my first point, sledding has changed.
But you can still beat a 15 year old sled around for $1500 and still have as much fun as the guys driving newer iron, its all about what you want to get out the sport.
 

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I agree with both Muscle D and Pinki. Snowmobiling has changed a lot, just as much as winters themselves have changed, coincidence? But all in all snowmobilers are by far the cheapest of cheap when it comes to power sports. But again I think that has to do with weather and lack of a real snowmobile season, so people want to make their dollar stretch. I feel I am realistic with my snowmobile dealer. When they quoted me a price on my last sled and our soon to be next two new ones, it was below MSRP and I never even tried getting it lower or shopping around. The price I'm sure I could have gotten cheaper by going to a bigger dealer but I was comfortable with the prices and they are the closest dealer to me, so why wouldn't I want them to stay in business? A few hundred dollars cheaper is going to me squat if they close up and I need to go elsewhere. I wish the industry was a little better at accommodations for customers or at least loyal ones. Like loaner sleds, open 7 days a week during the in season and or early/late hours. If a guy's sled that is going to need a new engine is going to take a week plus to replace/repair I don't think It's too much to have a sled to ride if there's local snow. That is a program that could be set up by the OEMs not the dealership. Would be a great way to get test rides on new sleds and possibly land a few new buyers. I also love hearing stories about how dealer X took a part off a sled in the showroom to get customer X riding because there was snow. That's the type of accommodations I am talking about, and more dealers should be willing to do so, as are they really going to sell that machine that day, maybe but probably not and chances are they now have a customer for life. Just my thoughts from a HCS. Besides drinking beer this is my only hobby, so I try and make the most of it.
 

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In the olden days we didn't even ride far from the car or truck due to the machines not being that reliable. And a lack of a groomed trail or lack of trail in general. Most rides were for "fun" and that's how it went when we got to the dealer for "fixing them up" again as we had to do weekly to ride it on the weekend. Most sleds were old junkers after only a few short years. Now, it's all changed 100%. Sleds go further and ride better than ever. You don't usually worry about a breakdown as much and all 4 brands still run even with thousands of miles on them. The dealer is there for service same as car dealers and service is how they make their money. Sales do not. But if you buy a sled and no parts are available that sucks too. Parts not available after 15 years is a stretch anymore just because you see people riding those old machines still. Just not serious riding for thousands of miles on a trip anywhere. I still enjoy going to the dealer to look things over but in my case I only buy used machines. Sometimes from a dealer but mostly it's from whoever has whatever that is available that i like and can get a good price from. I imagine at some point I'll quit riding but for now I can so i go. Trips are still the best part of sledding.


Steve
 

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Sounds like the real world.
I have had many young guys come through my shop out of school, the ones that claim it is their passion never last. It is important to separate your hobbies from work. And work life from the rest of your life.
 

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I was in your position in the late '90's. I worked at a marina for many years, met a girl, and decided to move to be with her. Ended up working in a parts department for a large powersports dealership. I quickly learned how difficult many sledders are to deal with. We used to do snow shows around the midwest and while we had fun, we worked our asses off selling clothing and accessories. EVERYONE believed they were entitled to a discount. After working there a year of so, I had lost interest in riding my sled because I was just sick of being around the sport. The cycle and ATV guys didn't act that way. We'd get called every name in the book if we didn't have some obscure part or if we didn't discount whatever people were trying to buy. I eventually left, went back to school, and found a different career. My interest in sledding slowly came back and now it's as good as it's ever been. I now make it a point to be fair and respectful to the people at the dealerships. I still shop at the dealership where I worked and my friends that work there say it hasn't changed much. I realize that not everyone acts that way, but the ones that do give the rest of us a bad rap. The sport is hurting and most dealers are trying to do their part, but honestly, I'm surprised there are as many dealers left as there are. Just my $0.02.
 

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OK I can agree and dis agree with a lot of things here and even maybe show some light on problems

first off, this is just my experience and opinion and mean NO bash on anyone!

But when folks say, that if they get a job they love, they will never really be working a day in there life, that old saying
I can agree and disagree on this BIG TIME

as there are catches to this rule

and its sometimes missed by those that try to get careers in fields they like, they forget and miss a BIG part of that LOVE and work part

an example

if you LOVE riding snowmobiles, then having a job that requires you to work on them, maintain them repair them,m is NOT the right job to have to LOVE
as already noted, your working in the season you love
so your actually working against what is going to make you happy

this is the same deal, for say those that LOVE TO HUNT
and become game wardens
what happens to your time to enjoy your hobby
well your working when its going on and NOT enjoying, it as you end up dealing with most of the BAD hunters and things taking your time away from the hobby you love!

so, when folks say they want a job doing what they love, these above types of jobs(and many more I can give as examples) are the wrong career paths to be taking if you love the hobby!


NOW< if you have a passion /love to see sleds,
and are maybe more into the design and fab, side of snowmobiles
then that is a different Career path, and odds are you will have more time to TEST new tings, RIDE sleds in winter time and NOT be swamped with your time being taken away from you, IN SEASON, as a lot of your work will be before snow fly's, so to speak
and you might LOVE what you do and still get to ride and enjoy the hobby!

ALL parts of one type of hobby, are not the same in what they afford you to do , come time to play in the hobby!

NOW< as for customers, MAN I can fully agree with some of them are nightmares to deal with, and they have NO clue they are that way, and no matter what or how you tell them they are a pain in the ass,cheap, or full of BS< they never seem to get it

I had a gun shop to support my hobby,
and like stated above, you go from LOVING a hobby, to seeing the down sides to things and customers

some customers are great, under stand things, get your in the business to make a profit, so you can afford to live and pay bills
and some expect everything at BELOW COSTS, and act like little kids when they don;t get there way!
I blame a lot of this extreme haggling on the world wide web
and some of the scammers with adds, folks lying at what they paid, to make others feel like they got robed or what ever some reasons are some love to pretend what they paid to the world

and well, I also blame, huge company's that can buy things in HUGE bulk and get lower prices than smaller dealers can
and then folks expect us smaller dealers to have BETTER prices
it just doesn't work that way!
CAR company's IMO are a BIG reason for the haggling on prices too, seems there is NO real price on any vehicle, and every dealer has a scam to make a profit no matter what you paid for a new vehicle
and well, folks magical think its the same way on sleds/atv's motored sports, and then they bring that same mind set into other SMALL business's

seldom do I ever see any of these folks, haggling for price DEALS and DISCOUNTS< at grocery stores, or wally world and the likes
some how they, magically think the sticker price in these places are real
and yet at power sports stores(gun shops, and other smaller business owned places) there NOT!

they presure to haggle and try to get more money off the items

and MAYBE so,me owners are to blame, as well, SO many DO take off $$ for THIS guy, but NOT that guy, so they sort of create the monsters they complain about
its a double edge sword, as small business's many times DO need to take extra care of customers that spend MORE $$ in there shops, to KEEP there returning customers happy and keep there business alive!

where the LARGE stores don't need to do this, they get millions of walk in's that maintain there income

smaller shops, sadly, HAVE to bend at times to grease the hands of bigger customers to, stay afloat and that most times means, less er customers pay more for things, it almost sounds backwards, but IMO< its more likely how it works
and as such, its why haggling and higher expectations some times happen on customers!

so, if one wants a JOB/CAREER they LOVE< pick it wisely and think down the road better
find one that allows you to do BOTH< be a part of the hobby and time to DO the hobby, or you too I think will find, disappointment in your job pick!

and lastly
I will say this, anyone that is in SALES in a BUSINESS and THINKS< some customers are ???
well try listing something for sale on Craigslist or like online site's

and listen to the insane insulting low ball offers and how fast they get MAD and remarks they will throw at you when you laugh at there super LOW offers!
you think folks in stores at times want deals, there not half as bad as those on , online private sales sites looking to buy!

folks on these places THINK 70% off an asking price is normal anymore< or lower? and get MAD when you say NO to them many times LOLL
so, its no wonder folks are the way they are some days??
we created them and now dealing with them!
 

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Good post, and it's very true, I deal with the same thing in a similar but different industry dealing with racers and car guys, boat guys, they are the worst, they usually play the "big show" as I call it, robbing Peter to pay Paul, to keep their big money power boat going. It can be a battle. The parts end is absolutely maddening. Some, most, who am I kidding, "buddies" want a part for my cost for a deal, I tell them, I can't beat summit's price, just get it there I say, or I say, if I am not making anything on it, just buy it yourself and bring it in. The ones that piss me off, are the ones who argue and whine about the cost of a part from me, they know I can get a better deal and I could actually make a few bucks, but then they pay full boat from like summit. Oh, ok, I see, you claim to be my friend, but it makes you mad to know I would make some money off you? But you pay some random person you don't know the same price for the part so they can make the money anyhow? (y), thanks pal. F off. It's very frustrating. Or they piss and moan and whine and cry, as THEIR project starts to really add up, and they didn't think it would cost this much, etc etc, like I put a gun to their head and made them do it. Or the guy who says, in conversation I say how it can be a battle to get paid, a lot of guys get in over their head, and then whine about the price, and they say,"sounds like you need to find better customers, I won't do that, I get it, it is expensive" Then you give them the bill, and they say" wait a minute here, we are waaay off on what you quoted me" and I just shake my head and laugh. No,remember, you wanted to upgrade to the $550 valve covers and air cleaner lid from Ford Motorsports that I told you was a total rip off for what you got, but you wanted them, and I told you the core was extra, and I told you I would be adding sales tax, then you wanted tis done, and that done, etc, that all adds to the tab. Then they get all whiny, they pay, but they think they got screwed, and whine about any little thing. It can be frustrating. I will say, not all are like that, some are great to deal with but they are like 1 in 6.

I also got into doing what I do for the love of it. I made my wet dream come true, and has turned into many a nightmare, lol. With all that said, I have met and become friends with a lot of good people, and I do have a pretty cool job, but a traditional way would have been a lot better. I work 10am to 10pm most days, and work usually 1 day on the weekend, and during certain parts of the year, I work 7 days. I also get phone calls and texts at all hours, weekends, holidays, etc etc, which can be frustrating.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Getting someone a deal on a machine is great. Where I worked, if you could make 500 bucks in profit, that's a sale. Then parts and accessories on the day of purchase are discounted. No matter what it is. It could be a shirt even. Each person also gets a free hoody. We could put accessories in with the deal if they are financing too. And the guy who the general manager acvidentially said 10% over cost... I heard him say it lol he meant 10% off. But I gave him 10% over cost because I heard it said.

People buying machines should have the best service. Period. They spent alot of money. Even if we only made 500 bucks off of them. Any recalls and warranty we make money on. After warranty we make money. The shop makes or breaks a dealership. And having a good parts department to support them is even better.

The snowmobilers who haggle the hardest are one buying all kinds of accessories for their sleds and gear. Stuff they dont exactly need. It also was very harsh because the previous management had EVERYTHING 15% off, including all parts. It even said it on the company cards. They were so proud they could push so much product. But once the new manager came in he got rid of that. Which of course upset people. But we made the same amount of money even after selling less parts and accessories. Which is a good thing for the guys up fronts sanity. And less messed up orders.

The old managers also gave their personal phone numbers to everyone. And took orders over their own facebook. So they never stopped working. And complained that their only day off they were still working because everyone called them and messaged them. I never gave out my phone number. Not once. And customers really really tried. I said you can email me. No one knew my last name lol I knew better. I know where that road goes. Insanity. It took a while to make it clear that I will do what ever I need to help you guys, but only when I'm at work.

And there are jobs that I loved, that had nothing to with my passion. I can totally love a job, that doesnt take over my personal life and passion. That's what I'm falling back to in a way... Except I get to do something much higher up with my degree.
 

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Sounds like a lot of these issues are just sales issues in general I don't think this is a snowmobiler issue. There are some disrespectful people in every crowd. As far as everyone wanting a discount. The markup in this industry is rediculous 40% in most cases and I don't think anyone these days pays msrp for most parts and accessories.
 

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Everything thats been said about the Snowmobile industry and the customers can be said about the Marine industry and Boaters.....

Extremely difficult people to deal with that are cheap, selfish, unloyal and rude. Not all of Us are this way obviously but most are.

Sadly everyone is out for themselves in this Country nowadays. They will drive 2 hrs to another dealer to save $100 on a deal, then bring the unit to you for warranty work and act like you owe them something.
 

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Sounds like a lot of these issues are just sales issues in general I don't think this is a snowmobiler issue. There are some disrespectful people in every crowd. As far as everyone wanting a discount. The markup in this industry is rediculous 40% in most cases and I don't think anyone these days pays msrp for most parts and accessories.
You think 40% markup is ridiculous? Do you even realize what it takes to keep a dealership running and its employees paid?
How about taxes , tools, insurance....the list goes on. Nobody is getting rich off being a Powersports dealer. Guys like You kill me.😒
 

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You think 40% markup is ridiculous? Do you even realize what it takes to keep a dealership running and its employees paid?
How about taxes , tools, insurance....the list goes on. Nobody is getting rich off being a Powersports dealer. Guys like You kill me.😒
Its not the customers fault so I don't know how you can blame them. Blame the manufactures or parts suppliers. In todays world you can look up what parts are selling for online in seconds. Supply and demand. No one is going to pay MSRP when they can get it way less. As far as not getting rich in powersports, dealerships either have to keep up with the times or get left behind.
 

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Its not the customers fault so I don't know how you can blame them. Blame the manufactures or parts suppliers. In todays world you can look up what parts are selling for online in seconds. Supply and demand. No one is going to pay MSRP when they can get it way less. As far as not getting rich in powersports, dealerships either have to keep up with the times or get left behind.
Just like I thought. No idea what it takes to keep a dealership running.
Go ahead, look up your parts online. Get them for as cheap as possible. Save yourself $10-20 here and there to make yourself feel better.
Just dont cry when every dealer around you closes its doors. But guess you dont care anyway with that mindset.
 

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That’s the getting left behind part. The old ways of doing business are long gone. Dealerships have to constantly evolve or they are not going to make it. It’s not the customers fault which seem to be what you want to blame the problem on.
 

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That’s the getting left behind part. The old ways of doing business are long gone. Dealerships have to constantly evolve or they are not going to make it. It’s not the customers fault which seem to be what you want to blame the problem on.
If the cheap ass customer shops online constantly to save a buck or two instead of supporting his local dealer , who else is there to blame!?!
I looked up some parts this year for both my Sleds and online prices compared to my local dealer where within a few dollars here or there. Add shipping and its a wash. Only reason I did this was to get the part numbers for my dealer to order them. They love me for saving them the time of looking them up. As a former parts Guy I know it helps esp during busy season. They even had most of the parts in stock! Even the intake boots for my old IQ. How can I sit there and not support that! What the hell else are they supposed to do, install them for me for free!

I cant tell you how many times I would spend valuble time looking up parts for someone, only for the asshole to tell me "oh I can get them cheaper online" and then have the balls to say "Can I have the part numbers?"
Absolutely ridiculous.
Unless you have been on both sides of the counter , you cannot understand how buying online hurts the dealers and sport in general.
 

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In the olden days we didn't even ride far from the car or truck due to the machines not being that reliable. And a lack of a groomed trail or lack of trail in general. Most rides were for "fun" and that's how it went when we got to the dealer for "fixing them up" again as we had to do weekly to ride it on the weekend. Most sleds were old junkers after only a few short years. Now, it's all changed 100%. Sleds go further and ride better than ever. You don't usually worry about a breakdown as much and all 4 brands still run even with thousands of miles on them. The dealer is there for service same as car dealers and service is how they make their money. Sales do not. But if you buy a sled and no parts are available that sucks too. Parts not available after 15 years is a stretch anymore just because you see people riding those old machines still. Just not serious riding for thousands of miles on a trip anywhere. I still enjoy going to the dealer to look things over but in my case I only buy used machines. Sometimes from a dealer but mostly it's from whoever has whatever that is available that i like and can get a good price from. I imagine at some point I'll quit riding but for now I can so i go. Trips are still the best part of sledding.


Steve
Not sure what you mean back in the olden days,but i got into snowmobiling back in 74...yeah i was stupid choosing the wrong brand a used ski-doo at the time, i was totally new to snowmobiling. Within a week the sled was traded in for a leftover arctic cat. It began a new chapter, and what this sport was about... my first of many bag trips in quebec with a new snowmobiling crew. In 79 i bought a new yamaha exciter, It was bulletproof doing 7600km that season up there. Every yamaha till 87 was extremely reliable till switching to polaris that year. I guess i was spoiled, but learned quickly how to repair a sled which still comes in handy today.
 

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Sounds like a lot of these issues are just sales issues in general I don't think this is a snowmobiler issue. There are some disrespectful people in every crowd. As far as everyone wanting a discount. The markup in this industry is rediculous 40% in most cases and I don't think anyone these days pays msrp for most parts and accessories.
that is literally the mark up in every industry that involves an object + parts sales + service. The snowmobile industry is no different on how things are bought and sold to them. The problem with snowmobiles is it has turned in to a niche business for a small portion of the country. There are several factors of why and imo it’s not the cost of doing it. Lack of easy access to riding areas is the number one factor imo.
 
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