Hire Better to Fill Dealership Openings

There’s nothing more critical to your dealership’s success than your team. Recruiting and hiring new team members to fill the gaps in your workforce has always had its challenges, but never has that hill been so steep for marine businesses as it is now, during what some are calling “The Great Resignation.” 

Here’s the good news. While there is no magic wand to make these problems disappear, never have you had so many resources and so much education to guide you through the recruiting and hiring hurdles you’re encountering. Bookmark this page to be your go-to resource. We’ll keep adding the tools and information you need to find your way around what is, perhaps, the biggest roadblock your dealership faces in today’s market.


LEAD STORY: What Dealers Need to Know about “The Great Resignation”
When you hear or read about “The Great Resignation,” it may sound like a historical event, but experts suggest it is part of an ongoing, long-term trend. Here are the 5 things you need to know as a dealer about  navigating this trend. By MRAA Vice President of Education Liz Walz

BLOG: Avoid These 6 Common Recruiting & Hiring Mistakes
Finding qualified candidates to fill your dealership’s open positions isn’t easy … especially right now. The labor shortage – not just in the recreational boating business, but in almost every industry – means that any decent candidate has their pick of jobs to choose from.  So, how do you set yourself apart and increase your chances of being selected as the employer of choice? Well, for one, you can avoid these common recruiting and hiring mistakes. By MRAA Vice President of Education Liz Walz

WEBINAR: Control What You Can Control This Hiring Season 
There’s a lot you can’t control when it comes to the changing, shrinking workforce from which you’re trying to hire. Which makes it all the more important that you take control of what you can change. 

Join us for an April 7th Ask the Expert Webinar where we’ll share the tips and tricks to help your dealership and its open positions stand out among the masses. We’ll tap into the expertise of MRAA’s own workforce guru, Director of Workforce and Foundation Development Wendy Mackie, as she leads us through three common hiring scenarios. Register for free now.

WEBINAR: How to Hire a Coordinator or Expeditor

It’s the time of year where you are ramping up your team in the Service department. With that, a key consideration to this should be answering, “How do I reduce the amount of time it takes to get boats repaired and back on the water?” Answering that will prove critical to improving your number one metric for the customer experience as business and customer traffic increases, and that is your Repair Event Cycle Time, or RECT.

One solution to not only managing your RECT “score,” but also improving your RECT is to put the time into two crucial roles. Those are the Service Expeditor and the Coordinator. Now is the time to weigh the benefits of these positions. The Expeditor will help your technician, and the Coordinator is supporting your Service Advisor.

In this webinar, hear from Matt Santomenna from Race City Marine and Sarah Hassildine from Strong’s Marine on how they have incorporated these roles into their dealership. This MRAA Ask the Expert Webinar is powered by BoatyardRegister for free now.

Target Your Recruitment (PDF) 

So often, knowing where to look and also where to post jobs is critical in finding more candidates and, ultimately more success in hiring. This handy one-pager breaks down the types of spots and locations to consider when you decide to post your open positions. Each outlet. you share to can (and have proven to) produce a different type of worker and target population. Finally, each location and worker /population leads to certain specific worker benefits. For example, if you post on Indeed, chances are you’ll appeal/attract Millennial and Gen X non-trade or degreed professionals who are typically a mid-level or better professional with a good amount of time left before retirement.

BLOG: Answers to Your Most Common Hiring Questions 
If you’ve got questions about hiring, we’ve got articles, resources and online courses that can help you answer them. By MRAA Vice President of Education Liz Walz

MRAA Mini-Guide: Why Your Dealership Needs an Org. Chart & What It Will Tell You

Being great at workforce recruitment and hiring often comes back to mastery of the basics: things like creating crystal clarity for prospective and current employees about how your dealership defines success and how they will work with your team to achieve it. This can be made easier by developing some simple resources like job descriptions, an employee handbook, and yes … a dealership organizational chart.

MRAA Mini-Guide: Staffing Your Sales Department 

Different dealerships have different philosophies and ideas about the optimum number of salespeople needed to staff a marine dealership. The MRAA Mini-Guide: Staffing Your Sales Department was created to help retailers debunk sales staffing myths that may limit future business growth.

BLOG: Develop a Culture Prime for Recruiting & Hiring  

Want your dealership to stand out in a hyper-competitive job market? Develop and maintain a culture that will attract potential hires. Discover four ways interviewees learn about your culture and one way you can learn about it in this blog from MRAA Certification Manager Liz Keener. 

BLOG: 5 Ways to Advocate for an Improved Labor Market

When MRAA Members talk, decision makers listen. You have firsthand experience and information about the way the workforce crisis is affecting you and your industry colleagues in your area. That makes you the advocacy expert. Here are 5 ways you can share your expertise to advocate for relief of your workforce pains. By MRAA Government Relations Manager Chad Tokowicz and Director of Workforce and Foundation Development Wendy Mackie  
RESOURCES: Find, Attract, Onboard and Retain Marine Techs 

We know there are few positions in your dealership that are tougher to fill than a marine technician. Yet marine technicians are essential to your ability to care for and hold onto your customers, and keep your bottom line healthy. That’s why MRAA has partnered with the TechForce Foundation. Tap into their expertise within the Workforce section of the MRAA Resource Center, then watch their Women Techs Rock video.

DEALER CONVERSATION: Tyson Townsend, Human Resources Director, Western Division, Tommy’s
Let’s face it: You didn’t get into the dealership business because you love HR and you’re looking to use your wisdom on recruiting and hiring and all the secrets for employee retention. On the contrary, this month’s guest on MRAA Dealer Conversations, Tyson Townsend, is indeed an HR expert and has brought his knowledge and experience to the dealership world. Check out this one-on-one conversation for some insights into how Tyson and the Tommy’s team navigate the ups and downs of today’s labor market. Check out the conversation here.

Trade Only Column by Matt Gruhn: 5 Tips for Building a Great Team

For all the untouchable macro trends that amplify the challenges brought on by the workforce shortages, there are simple, concrete steps you can take within the walls of your own dealership to win the battle for great employees. Here are five tips.

BLOG: Know These Red Flags Hurting Your Recruiting and Retention Efforts 
MRAA Online Education Manager Cecelia Pallotto shares with you an overview of the 2022 Continuous Certification Q2 course “The Five Red Flags that Derail Your Recruiting and Retention Effort” with author and Dealer Week speaker Kelly McDonald. You’ll get five key takeaways that the course can provide you as a marine retailer in the Continuous Certification program as well as a glance at McDonald’s HIRED model.

BLOG: Hire Learning
You’re neck deep into your hiring season — not to mention coming off two of the most challenging years as a business owner you’ve ever witnessed — so adding to your team ahead the summer boating season is at the forefront of your mind. A recent Pulse Report conveyed some interesting thoughts and feedback from dealers that participated in the survey on staffing challenges.

BLOG: 2021 Compensation Data is Almost Here!
In November, 2021 MRAA launched the Marine Industry Compensation Study. It was conducted for the first time in 2017 and came as a response to an industry-driven desire to identify compensation and staffing trends in dealerships across North America. We are happy to announce we are just two weeks away from releasing the full report!

MRAA Mini-Guide: Mastering the Interview at Your Dealership 
Great management begins with hiring great people. And it is this skill – recruiting and hiring great people – that can turn your business from an also-ran to market leader. A critical element in bringing this to life is found in-between recruiting and hiring in the oh-so-crucial skill of interviewing. This free MRAA mini-guide on hiring and interviewing has been real-world tested, as it is largely built on the process use by our team here at MRAA.

MRAA GUEST BLOG: How to Support Remote Employees
A growing commonality within today’s workforce includes more employee working remotely, so offering them support is critical for your boat dealership’s overall success. In this guest blog, MRAA Education Champions Dealership Advantage offers its top tips to help employers support their remote workforce.


Let’s be honest. In any discussion of the challenges your businesses face, it’s easiest to just cut to the good stuff: The solutions. This section of our Recruiting & Hiring coverage hopes to offer you insights, tactics, strategies and best practices you can implement. We encourage you, however, to venture further into this and explore the courses and all of the amazing ideas and inspiration they offer as you seek to further strengthen your workforce.

NOT an MRAA member? Join now.

Hiring: You’re Doing It Wrong (MRAA Silver and Gold Members Only): Staff turnover is expensive and exhausting. It’s time for a change. The traditional model is to hire, then train. The new model is to train, then hire. Learn how to put this strategy into place and watch your employee performance headaches and turnover rates decline. 

MRAA Guide to Apprenticeship (MRAA Members ONLY): One alternative to filling an open position through a traditional job posting is apprenticeship, a strategy with proven results for many dealers and their apprentices. Learn more about success with this strategy.
Dealer Case Study: Onboarding (MRAA Silver and Gold Members Only):  During a Dealer Case Study at Dealer Week, Alpin Haus shared several workforce best practices, including a handout with a Sample Boat Product Specialist Hiring Process, Training Process and Schedule.

Dealer Case Study: The Advantage of Apprenticeship (MRAA Silver and Gold Members Only): One alternative to filling an open position through a traditional job posting is apprenticeship, a strategy with proven results for many dealers and their apprentices. Learn more about success with this strategy.
Dealer Case Study: Combating a Local Tech Shortage 

How Colorado Boat Center used a one-week, on-the-job working interview to hire three marine technicians from outside its area. 


There are as many ways to improve recruiting and hiring outcomes as there are dealerships. Each of you have a unique combination of revenue centers with a different organizational chart, operate in a unique market with a unique combination of products and services, offer a unique culture for your employees to work in, and have a unique combination of experiences trying different recruiting tactics and strategies. 

Below is a diverse line-up of resources and benefits designed to help you fill the unique gaps in your dealership’s workforce strategy, starting with the basics.

Job Descriptions: 
The MRAA features more than 50 job descriptions for common marine dealership positions. Use this link to craft your dealership’s own job descriptions and better communicate the expectations you have for each employee? Is there a lack of clarity or too much cross over between positions in your shop? Job descriptions can help. Get started today.

MRAA Guide: Job Descriptions That Amp Up Productivity
Want to take your job descriptions to the next level to make them a better tool to attract, onboard, retain and boost the results of your employees? Download this guide for step-by-step instruction on how to incorporate key result areas that can lead your people and your dealership to next level performance.
Employee Handbook: 
The MRAA offers this sample employee handbook to be used as a template for creating your own employee handbook, and modified in accordance with local, state, or federal law in effect at the time of its creation or revision. Please consult with your legal counsel before implementing any policies contained within this sample employee handbook or distributing this employee handbook to employees.

MRAA Health: Your Competitive Advantage 
When you’re competing with other employers for job candidates, the health care benefits you offer can give you a powerful competitive advantage. That’s why MRAA partners with Bukaty Healthcare to offer members health, vision and dental plans that save dealerships an average of $1,600 per employee, as well as access to a Live HR Help Desk and a number of other resources to help dealers attract, develop and retain a strong workforce. 


NOT an MRAA member? Join now.

NOT yet a Silver member? Upgrade now.

Attract and Keep Techs: This course, with its resource-packed workbook, unveils best practices you can use to attract and grow new talent, as well as why top techs quit and what you can do about it. It’s part of MRAA’s monthly TNT Series. 

Build a Service Dream Team:  This 3-hour workshop may have been filmed in 2014, but it’s real-world lessons and tools for recruiting, hiring, onboarding and retention of Service Department employees are just as relevant today as they were then. 

How to Recruit, Work with and Lead People Not Like You: Research shows a diverse workforce leads to better decisions and solutions, and growth in business and profits. Given the workforce shortages marine dealers have endured in recent years, learning how to successfully recruit and retain a more diverse employee base can go a long way to solving one of our biggest problems. How do you work alongside someone who may be quite different from you, respect those differences and be effective in your role? And what about leading a diverse team? Take this practical and engaging course to gain answers to these questions, including specific techniques you can apply in your dealership immediately.
Rethink How You Find Great Techs and Advisors: Let’s face it: Service advisors and technicians are the hardest positions to fill, so maybe it’s time to rethink how you find them. Learn how to create career paths within your dealership’s Service Department that allow you to constantly train and cultivate your next rising star while they make you money!  
Create a Parts & Accessories Superstar: 
As part of this course, you’ll learn how to prepare your team members to succeed in this department. Perhaps most valuable is its resource-packed workbook, which includes an onboarding schedule, job descriptions, daily checklists and performance evaluations for each P&A position.

Want The Best Courses ALL THE TIME? 

We know how difficult it is for you to come up with a training plan for your team. We also know how difficult it can be to sift through more than 200 courses in MRAA’s catalog to find the one that would be best for you at this moment. 

That’s why MRAA created Training ‘N Tactics, or TNT, a monthly educational program for our Silver and Gold members. On the first business day of each month, MRAA introduced a moderated version of the most timely and relevant course that can impact your business. The opportunity for you is to use that course to educate your team. Watch it and discuss it as a group; or assign it out, watch it separately, and then gather to discuss what was learned and what you can improve upon. TNT’s course of the month for MRAA’s focus on Recruiting & Hiring? Learn new ways to grow your team during the current labor shortage with “HR Strategies to Fill the Gaps in Your Dealership’s Workforce.”


The Five Red Flags that Derail Your Recruiting and Retention Efforts You know better than anybody, the worker shortage is real. The marine industry has more jobs available than there are workers to fill these positions. So how do we find, recruit, and hire employees when there don’t seem to be any? Join Kelly McDonald as she dives deep into each of these pain points and gives us actionable solutions. In this course, you will learn how to look outside of the box to build the team that will make your dealership a well-oiled machine. 

Develop Your Dealership’s Workforce Outside In: The No. 1 impediment to dealership growth? Lack of skilled workers. Through this Continuous Certification course, you can learn how to develop your workforce through coaching and mentoring. 

Employee Satisfaction Survey Process

When it comes to hiring, a culture where employees can be confident they have a voice and the ability to contribute to improvement and growth is a competitive advantage. Certified Dealers  build and maintain this culture through an annual Employee Satisfaction Survey Process, facilitated by MRAA to ensure anonymity and encourage accountability. Want to learn more? Contact Bob or Certification Manager, Liz Keener.

Take Your Employee Satisfaction to the Next Level The shortage of skilled workers can make it a challenge to attract and hold onto the right employees, who are fired up to provide the customer experience you want and are expected to deliver. In this course, you’ll learn the importance of employee satisfaction surveys when it comes to hiring and retaining the best team for your business — and how to use them to make real change that benefits your culture and your bottom line. 


Dealer Week Discounts!
If you want to stay on top of all of the most up-to-date trends and issues, as well as the strategies, tactics and best practices that can help you tackle them, then you need to attend MRAA’s Dealer Week. Held each December, Dealer Week brings together the leading experts, the leading dealers and the leading manufacturers and suppliers for three days of collaborative learning and connectivity. And bonus: MRAA Members save $200 per person off of registration.

MRAA’s Virtual Business Development Center: 
Curious how your service department is stacking up through the eyes of your customers? Through MRAA’s Virtual Business Development Center, or vBDC, MRAA and its partner, Customer Service Intelligence, Inc., will handle your customers with great care, following up with them with gratitude and empathy and will report any issues (and of course, positive feedback) to you so you can keep them happy and on the water, as well as in the queue for that upgraded boat in the not-so-distant future. Learn more or enroll today so we can begin helping you strengthen the future of your business.
Discounts on Dealership Certification: 
For the most comprehensive support in helping you strengthen your foundation, sharpen your operations and take the best care of your customers and employees, Dealership Certification brings together the best of all MRAA programs and services into one great program. Use Certification, its resources and its consultants to build bulletproof systems and processes that will help you deliver world class-level customer experience.