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Marine Industry Certified Dealership Program Evolves to Meet Needs of Today's Dealers

Tuesday, October 14, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lindsey Johnson
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The Marine Industry Certified Dealership Program has made it more convenient — and affordable — than ever for dealers to get Certified. The program recently lowered its fee structure and developed a tiered approach, making it cost-effective for dealerships of all sizes to enroll and complete the various program steps at the pace they feel most comfortable.

To begin the path towards completing Certification, dealers can start with Step 1, which focuses on outstanding customer service, for an entry point of less than $600. Dealers can then move on to Step 2, focusing on operational excellence, for $949. Finally, to achieve superior performance, the third and final step, Five Star Certification, the cost for dealers is $1,330, keeping the total fee for program participation under $3,000.

There’s also a Fast Track option that allows dealers to follow a more streamlined route to Certification at a total cost of $2,499, which represents a $380 savings over completing the program one step at a time. Members of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas receive additional discounts for each step of the MICD Program (a $50 savings per step and $100 off the Fast Track).

This new pricing represents a marked improvement over previous iterations of the program, which cost nearly twice as much to complete. Originally, the dealership’s cost of program entry was an outlay of $2,895 plus a $2,124 Grow Boating stipend, bringing the total program cost to $5,019. Today, with the new generation of the MICD Program, that initial dealership investment cost has been reduced to less than $600 to begin working through Step 1.

"Operating the MICD Program as a three-tier system has significantly lowered the cost of participation for dealers compared to its initial cost back in 2005,” says Sonja Moseley, MICD Program director. "The new, lower pricing structure ensures that more dealers will be able to make the investment in Certification, and that more will see it through to completion — helping create an industry culture that places even greater emphasis on outstanding customer satisfaction at the retail level and ultimately increases boat sales.”

The three-step MICD Program structure was first unveiled in November 2013 at the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo (MDCE) in Orlando. Rather than the original 72 program requirements, the MICD Program is now broken into three steps of 10 standards each.

Step 1 in the Certification process focuses on establishing a high level of customer satisfaction through communications, appearance and quality. Step 2 of the program continues to enhance the customer experience by implementing processes for overall dealership functionality. The third and top Certification tier, Five Star MICD, targets high-level business practices proven to generate superior performance.

For dealerships that want to go straight to the industry’s apex, they have the option to participate in the MICD Fast Track. Rather than reaching the highest level of Certification one step at a time, the MICD Fast Track allows dealerships to move directly to Five Star MICD status with one process and 15 standards, combining many of the program requirements for a streamlined approach.

"Changing the MICD Program to a three-step, pay-as-you-go process versus all-or-nothing participation up front has made it much easier for dealerships to justify and afford enrolling,” Moseley explains. "Since we first instituted the changes last year, we’ve heard from countless dealers that say they are happier with the new structure, and that it makes the process easier and less costly for them to participate. Reducing barriers to entry, which are primarily time- and cost-related, is the key to helping the program grow and expand, and we feel the new program reorganization is a step in the right direction towards strengthening its presence and pervasiveness throughout the industry.”

Additional cost savings are built into the new MICD Program structure. Instead of being required to Recertify every year at a cost of thousands annually, under the new program structure dealers are only required to Recertify every other year, further reducing program costs and making participation that much more affordable for marine retailers large and small. And so far, there’s clear evidence that the new program structure is working to bring new participants into the fold.

"The MICD Program has seen a 36 percent increase in participation since the revamped structure was unveiled at MDCE 2013 last November,” says Moseley. "We look forward to seeing that number rise even higher as we move into 2015 and beyond.”

The MICD Program also is working on major improvements to its current online interactivity. The new-and-improved system will be unveiled at MDCE 2014, taking place Nov. 16-19 in Orlando, Fla.

For more information about the MICD Program, visit or contact Sonja Moseley at or (763) 333-2424.

About the Marine Industry Certified Dealership Program
Managed by the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA), the Marine Industry Certified Dealership Program (MICD) is dedicated to improving the customer experience at the retail level. The first step in the Certification process focuses on establishing a high level of customer satisfaction through communication, appearance and quality. The second tier of Certification continues to enhance the customer experience by implementing processes for overall dealership functionality. At the program’s Five Star level, established organizational procedures are implemented to ensure smooth operations and happy customers. To learn more about the MICD Program, visit