The car business is one of the most fast-paced and dynamic industries out there. Whether you are a dealer, salesperson or service tech, no two workdays are the same. The only constant you can count on is change. You can never stop learning.

Understanding the industry landscape and how important it is for dealerships to continually evolve makes me appreciate the benefits of 20 Groups. The true value of participating in these meetings is that your peers can help drive improvement in ways that a manufacturer could never hope to replicate. Belonging to a 20 Group creates positive peer pressure among members to improve sales performance, the F&I process, operating procedures, and CSI.

If you are looking for a new topic to raise at your next meeting, I encourage you to talk about your facilities. Here are 11 facility-related topics that I often encounter in the field and may be of interest to your 20 Group:

1. OEM timelines: Do you have a manufacturer-mandated timeline for your next remodel? You may find that many of your colleagues have a “comply, contest or collaborate” mindset regarding the suggested changes, and you will find that incentives for completing redesigns vary wildly from brand to brand.

2. Per-tile profit: High-end clothing and furniture stores divide their gross sales by the area of their retail space. Who in your group is getting the most dollars per square foot of showroom?

3. Storage space: Does your monthly rent include additional costs for vehicle storage lots and turn-back lots? Is there an alternative?

4. Fixed ops: and you considering sales growth, enhanced warranty work, and potential recall spikes into your future service-drive demand?

5. Toyota Taj Mahals: Many dealers build retail mansions that reflect their vision of the perfect store but may not be easily converted into another brand. Are your improvements hurting your buy/sell prospects?

6. Positive charge: Do your current showroom, team area and admin support areas foster a positive experience? Are they the types of physical work environments that you would want to walk into six days a week? Do they inspire greatness? If not, it may be time to consider a new layout.

7. Go modular: Many dealers would like to be able to add an insurance or car rental agency, coffee bar or gift shop to their operations. Can your floorplan accommodate new additions?

8. The bill: On average, how much do you spend per year on facility maintenance?

9. Time sinks: How much time do you spend making facility, construction, maintenance and design decisions? If a dealer can delegate this responsibility to a trusted manager, everyone benefits.

10. OEM-approved purchases: When it comes to manufacturer-mandated furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E), do you know the difference between “required” and “recommended”? Do you know how to source alternatives?

11. Center stage: Does your OEM have any new lead products that require a “showroom gallery” approach?

Did you know that the concept of a 20 Group and the practice of getting likeminded professionals together dates all the way back to 1727? That’s when Benjamin Franklin created the Junto Society. This pioneering group would meet once a week to discuss topics of the day, business ideas and mutual improvement.

It was Franklin who said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Involving the facility opportunity within your 20 Group conversations will allow for you to learn how to enhance your customer’s experience, complete new construction in a cost-effective fashion, and head off any challenges that may arise from a renovation or new build.

Brent Tally is the founder and president of TallyCM, a firm that specializes in the design and construction of automotive facilities. [email protected]