The Bobcat dealership network is a family – a tough, but united group of innovators, product experts and customer advocates who conquer challenges and succeed together. At every level, from sales to customer service to manufacturing and distribution, we support each other in our efforts to empower customers to accomplish more.
On the dealer’s lot, millions of Bobcat customers get to truly experience what our brand is all about – and what it means to be One Tough Animal®. The Bobcat dealership is the local face of a global market leader. They deliver on the knowledge and expertise we’ve acquired since creating the compact equipment industry.
To help customers realize the potential in every Bobcat® product, it takes an intense commitment from dealers, and Bobcat commits to them with equal enthusiasm. The Bobcat organization has developed its proven model of dealership success over more than a half century. This model includes significant Bobcat resources, from state-of-the-art business systems and training to marketing support and communication. It’s all dedicated to helping dealers maximize their sales, service and profitability.
Let’s get to know a few dealers who have experienced the opportunities that Bobcat has to offer. If you’d like to explore your own Bobcat dealership opportunity, contact our Dealer Recruitment team.
Knightdale Tractor & Equipment Company
Knightdale Tractor & Equipment Company of Knightdale, North Carolina has been in business since 1969 when it was founded by owner Shane Adams’ parents, Billy and Iris Adams. The company, however, is relatively new to the Bobcat dealership network, having first signed on as an authorized dealer in 2020. Knightdale specializes in Bobcat grounds maintenance products – Bobcat compact tractors, utility vehicles, Toolcat™ utility work machines, mini track loaders and small articulated loaders.
Since joining the Bobcat dealer network, Adams has been impressed with the level of dealer support he’s received.
“One thing that I can say about Bobcat, just being a dealer for nine months, is that they’re very professional in every aspect I can think of,” said Adams. “You don’t have to wait for two days to get answers. You can call somebody and they’re right on top of it, whether it’s a new financing program, a service issue or a parts issue.”
Adams and the Knightdale staff rely on in-person training and regular contact from Bobcat staff, but they also appreciate that Bobcat isn’t heavy-handed in its approach. “I would say Bobcat definitely strikes the balance where they reach out frequently, but it’s not overbearing either,” said Adams. “As far as training, they’ve sent people here several times. I also call field reps to keep us updated on what’s new and coming up. I have a guy on the service side, and another that is basically on the sales side. Both of them call on us and respond in a timely manner.”
Adams advises other new Bobcat dealerships to be ready to make the investment necessary in a floor plan. “In this day and time, you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew,” said Adams. For Knightdale, the pressures of carrying a new brand of equipment are tempered with a genuine partnership from the company that brings it to market.
Adams explained: “They are going to track your success, but they don’t push or threaten you. They’ve been really low key, and I appreciate that, because as a first-year dealer, you’ve got enough pressure trying to read the market.”
Bobcat of Athens
David Shoemaker has been in the irrigation business for 40 years, beginning as a contractor. As the years went on, his residential and commercial focus grew to include industrial and agricultural work. Eventually, as he looked for new ways to structure his profitability, he became an equipment dealer, which led him to Bobcat.
With experience selling other brands of equipment, Shoemaker knew the value of a strong brand, and Bobcat had the prestige he wanted. “With our first foray with another construction equipment brand … there was a 10- or 20-minute conversation just to explain who the manufacturer was,” said Shoemaker. “Brand recognition was key, and Bobcat has set itself apart in being the originator of this style of equipment.”
Like many Bobcat dealers, Shoemaker values his Bobcat representative, Jim Papczynski, as an extension of his own team. “Jim has helped us close some deals that we would not otherwise have closed in the competitive arena we’re in,” said Shoemaker.
With a busy schedule and numerous products to keep up with, Shoemaker appreciates the level of training he can receive online. “Many other brands provide very little training – especially any type of online training,” said Shoemaker. “I will say that some training requirements are a little more challenging to the dealer than we see from some other manufacturers, but in return, customers will know the dealer has been well trained and that the dealer is committed to doing its best with the Bobcat products it sells.”
To spread the word about products and sales incentives, the BrandBuilder program has become an important part of the marketing mix at Bobcat of Athens. The program provides easy ways for dealerships to utilize their co-op marketing funds, with brand-approved marketing materials, pre-approved and custom advertising, mailers, prospect lists, public relations help and more. Bobcat of Athens takes advantage of the Google AdWords program to reach potential customers, and it keeps its social media platforms populated with fresh content from the BrandBuilder dealer social media offering. “I think there’s good value there for what they’re providing you,” said Shoemaker.
For committed dealers like Bobcat of Athens, Bobcat provides an excellent partnership with a solid model for profitability and customer loyalty. “We interact with a lot of the premier brands in our industry, and I would stack Bobcat up at the top,” said Shoemaker.
In 2018, Greg McGrew was approached by a dealer principal about acquiring Bobcat of York and Bobcat of Adams County.
“I’d been in the equipment business for 18 years at the time, so I obviously knew Bobcat and knew the quality of the products,” said McGrew. “And I’d heard pretty good things about the company … I decided if I ever became a new dealer again, it was going to be with Bobcat. So, we were pretty excited when the opportunity came up.”
The purchase took place in 2018 – McGrew joined Bobcat Company through his new venture, Crownstone Equipment. He found quick success and fulfilling work with both Bobcat of York and Bobcat of Adams County before adding a third branch in late 2018 (Bobcat of Frederick). In February 2020, Crownstone opened two new locations: Bobcat of Hagerstown and Bobcat of Lancaster.
As Crownstone navigated its rapid success, McGrew benefited from a close relationship with his partners at Bobcat Company. “Dealer Profitability Manager Christian Rennegarbe and Dealer Development Director Wes Becke at Bobcat were probably the biggest assets that we had,” said McGrew. “We kind of lean on them pretty hard, and my CFO talks to them almost weekly to try and structure our dealership for the growth that we’re seeing.”
Crownstone opened new stores rapidly, and Bobcat Company assisted Crownstone with its efforts to target geographies and understand the unique aspects of each location. “Dealer Accounts Manager Nick Heberling has been a big help with that,” said McGrew. “We rely heavily on heat maps as we’ve opened five – coming on six – dealerships. Nick was able to help us identify locations that were close to the action when we were looking to open a branch in Hagerstown.”
Reporting dashboards from Bobcat give Crownstone a quick and convenient view of key dealer performance metrics, and McGrew keeps a close eye on them as he makes decisions for the company. “The reporting dashboards are handy,” said McGrew. “Dashboards are something that I personally track for stocking purposes and forecasting.”
Crownstone is enthusiastic about participating in opportunities to get face-to-face with Bobcat experts. “We had some guys go to Boot Camp this year – it was great,” said McGrew. Bobcat Boot Camp is a hands-on training experience where dealer sales staff receives detailed training on the extensive line of Bobcat machines and attachments. They also get time to operate the machines and get familiar with all of their features and benefits. “My CFO and I actually just went to West Fargo (where Bobcat is headquartered),” said McGrew, “which was also a great experience.”
Opening new locations can be challenging during the global COVID-19 pandemic, but the supportive nature of Bobcat Company toward its dealers – and the character of the people who stand behind it – have helped McGrew feel confident as he’s navigated a unique business environment.
“We’re grateful that we didn’t experience any setbacks, but just the fact that they are here for you if things do get bad was a big deal for us while we were trying to figure out what was going to happen,” said McGrew. “Bobcat let us know that they’re not the kind of company that calls you to say all this stuff needs to get taken care of today … They’re going to work through it with you.”
“With Bobcat it feels like you have a partner,” said McGrew, noting that some manufacturers take more of a one-size-fits-all approach. “There’s more flexibility and opportunity to work together with Bobcat.”