Interview with Kevin Newingham, Bad Boy Mowers Sales Manager
Bad Boy Mowers entered the UTV business in 2009 and we've learned a lot over the last three years. For instance, the UTV market is more competitive than the mower market. We've found that our traditional mower dealers aren't always the best fit for our side-by-sides, so now we have 50-75 dealers who strictly handle UTV sales.
We currently sell gas-powered and electric models, and each one is marketed to a different type of customer. The gas-powered UTV is targeted for the recreational driver who rides on weekends. We've designed our UTV to be versatile, so you can do recreational riding with it, and then you can use it on the farm. Other manufacturers' models might be strictly for work and not something for trail riding with your family. We felt the versatile UTV would reach a bigger segment of customers, so that's who we are targeting.
The electric side-by-side is for a very niche customer; somebody who is looking for green options. This includes avid hunters, municipalities and schools. Schools especially are starting to have that "go green" push, so we're seeing a lot of our units going to that segment. A couple years ago, the market for electrics was mainly hunters.
I think the electric market will grow as technology changes and the equipment evolves. Right now, when you say "electric," most people are skittish about how long the vehicle will last and whether they'll have operational issues. Those concerns are legitimate considering that electric technology is new to automobiles, much less side-by-sides.
"Nobody else is even close to what we're offering with our new electric UTV ..."
One thing our most successful dealers are doing — that all of our dealers need to be doing — is qualifying the customers who walk in the door. They need to make sure they're putting them in the right product for the right application. When the customer walks in, greet them and find out what they're going to be doing with their new UTV.
Customer service is very important for dealers and it's the main thing for the manufacturers. Normally, when a product malfunctions, it's not usually the dealer getting bad-mouthed, it's the product. We strive to make sure our dealers know the importance of customer service and especially service after the sale.
One reason our segment of UTV dealers is small now is that we require dealers to participate in service schools and have a mechanic on staff that is familiar with ATV engines and electric technology. Most mower dealers have a small engine mechanic, but that mechanic may not understand an ATV engine.
We work with and teach dealers how to make money by selling their service. That goes back to their sales force becoming very familiar with our product line as well as the competitor's product. A dealership is going to be at a disadvantage if the sales team isn't aware of our advantages or doesn't know the competitors' products. Customers may try to get them to match a competitor's price. That won't be the case if dealers sell service.
On the Horizon
The UTVs that we will unveil later this year are very user-friendly. Nobody else in the market is even close to what we're offering with our new electric UTV. We're also introducing a diesel model, redefining our gas UTV and more.
We are growing our business outward, like we did with our mower business. We're targeting the six states surrounding our base in Arkansas. We're in the process of hiring a new sales force and planning TV advertising. I believe our new products can compete with the likes of Polaris, John Deere and Kubota and the other big players.