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Dealer Certification Frequently Asked Questions
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Do consumers know anything about Certified Dealers?
We believe that consumer awareness is one of the most significant pillars to making Dealer Certification successful. With that in mind, we work with several organizations — and we’re working on others — to communicate the value of doing business with a Certified Dealer. Here’s an overview:

  1. First and foremost, we believe in empowering YOU to tell your story of how Certification makes you a better boat dealer. We help you by providing resources like press releases, advertisements, sales strategies, the consumer commitment and more.
  2. Second, the Dealer Certification Program was launched by Grow Boating, and MRAA uses the committee established by Grow Boating to build a relevant program for today’s industry. Grow Boating, through its consumer-facing Discover Boating website, promotes Certified Dealers and why it’s important to buy a boat from a Certified Dealer.
  3. Speaking of why it’s important to buy from a Certified Dealer, here’s an article we collaborated on with Boating magazine. Each year we work with Bonnier Corp., which publishes Boating magazine, to tell their subscribers about the value of doing business with Certified Dealers. Ads in their magazine and their newsletters, as well as custom content in their newsletters and on their social media sites, all of which promote Certified Dealers, are distributed to boating consumers on an annual basis.
  4. Each year, the National Marine Manufacturers Association produces promotes Certified Dealers at its boat shows, providing a page in its show directory that highlights all of the Certified Dealers displaying at that event as well as signage for Certified Dealers’ booths.


What are the requirements to get Certified?
Dealer Certification has a master list of 15 requirements, under which there are sub-requirements. Six requirements include the creation of process maps that will help you create consistency in your operations for your employees and customers. Start the process by taking a Pre-Certification Assessment; ensure you have resources in place for your employees; track and trend customer satisfaction; live up to specific standards both at your facility and on your website; and more. See the requirements for getting Certified.


How does “getting Certified” work?
The Certification process begins with your commitment. You register and pay through the MRAA website, and we’ll assign a consultant to you. The consultant will host a “discovery call” with you to get you started, and then your consultant will be a resource for you throughout the process to review your submissions and host a wrap up webinar with their findings or suggestions for improvement and to help you become Certified.


Who are these consultants you speak of?
MRAA’s Dealer Certification Consultants are contracted professionals who have worked in the marine industry and at dealerships of all types for a number of years. Collectively, they’ve helped Certify hundreds of individual dealerships of all shapes and sizes. They are passionate about helping you improve your business, and their marine industry experience can help you do that in a customized fashion. Meet our consultants.


How long will it take me to become Certified?
Once you’ve registered and paid to become a Certified Dealer, we give you a six-month window to demonstrate that you’ve met the requirements. Depending on what types of systems, processes and documentation you had in place prior to registration, becoming Certified could take you just a month or two. If business takes off between registration and your scheduled completion date, or something else gets in the way, we can also work with you to extend your deadline, as necessary. Most dealers complete the requirements within the six-month time frame.


How much does it cost to become Certified?
Certification enrollment is $2,399 for members of the Marine Retailers Association, who get a discount because of their support of the association’s work. Yes, non-members are invited to become Certified, as well, and they pay just $100 more, so $2,499. Not a member? Join MRAA now.


How long will I be considered Certified?
Dealer Certification works just like many other accreditation programs. You will be guided through a specific process to enable your business to meet the requirements of the program, and then you will participate in an annual ongoing process, including an education curriculum, to maintain your Certification. Specific details of the 2018 curriculum are still being finalized, but it will provide marine dealer education and training on a quarterly basis, to include online coursework, reading materials, peer-to-peer interaction, testing and more. Satisfy the requirements of the curriculum, and you will maintain your Certification for another year.


Do we have to get Re-Certified?
"Re-Certification," as it was once known, is changing for 2018. While specific details are still being finalized, in January of 2018, MRAA will begin offering an educational curriculum customized for Certified Dealers so that they can maintain their Certification vs. getting “Re-Certified” every other year. This educational curriculum will provide great value as it focuses on helping Certified Dealers learn the latest trends, strategies and best practices on topics critical to your success. What’s more, you can invite your entire team to participate. Stay tuned for more details.


Does my manufacturer support Certification?
More and more manufacturers and suppliers are supporting the Dealer Certification Program in one form or another. Some will co-op the Certification fees. Some will reward you on the back end if you achieve Certification. Still others believe so much in the power of this program that they are building it in as a requirement alongside other programs. While you can view a list of the manufacturers that are currently supporting Dealer Certification here, we encourage you to ask your partners about how they might reward your efforts to become one of the best dealers in the industry.


I AM a manufacturer. What can Certification do for me?
Dealer Certification serves as a customizable template that dealers can use to strengthen their foundation and build upon it for greater success. And when your dealers succeed, YOU succeed. Here’s a snapshot of Dealer Certification’s real-world impact:

  • We’ve seen an entire dealer network raise its Customer Satisfaction Scores from a mid-80s CSI score to a low 90s CSI score with the help of Dealer Certification.
  • Certified Dealer CSI scores, in fact, are consistently higher than scores from dealers who are not Certified.
  • We’ve seen self-proclaimed “C” or “D” level dealers become “A” level dealers.


Interesting statistic: Our industry watched as 35 percent of our dealers went out of business during The Great Recession. But only 8.4 percent of the industry’s Certified Dealers went out of business during that same period. Said another way: If you were a dealer in 2008, you had just a 65-percent chance to survive the forthcoming recession. But if you were a CERTIFIED Dealer, you had a 91.6-percent chance of making it through. How will your dealers fare during the next downturn?

And we believe that Dealer Certification can raise the bar for your dealer network, as well. Let’s start that conversation now so you don’t miss another model year. Manufacturers and suppliers, contact Allison Gruhn at 763-333-2419 for more information.

Dealers ... More questions? Contact Nikki Duffney now at 763-333-2420.

8401 73rd Avenue North, Suite 71, Minneapolis, MN 55428