It took a while for Tom Rigg, owner of Rigg’s Outdoor Power Equipment in Indiana, to admit he needed help with is business.

Tom Riggs

When it comes to looking for business partner, it's important for dealers to think about management areas they might be weak in and won't fix themselves, Tom Rigg says.

After opening a second dealership in northern Indiana while still running a lawn care business, Rigg took on Geoff Blanco, a former IT business owner from Chicago, as his business partner. Together they built 2 more dealerships, and Blanco helped land a contract to sell Kubota equipment.

Blanco has also helped Rigg tackle challenges with communication and technology facing the dealerships.

It’s important for equipment dealers looking for business partners to think about which management areas they’re weak in and likely won’t be fixed on their own — whether it’s technology or marketing or part and service, Rigg says.

“It can be hard for an owner to do, especially if they’ve been doing things themselves for 30 years. You have to understand that there’s something missing there.”

Some dealership owner-principals getting ready to retire — or hoping for more time off — find themselves on the hunt for someone younger to take their place. Rigg says it’s important to find someone who can handle the transition seamlessly.

He feels that’s possible with Blanco on board. “It used to be people wanted to talk to me and just me, and I had my hands in too many things. This way, the day I walk out nobody will ever know I left.”