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How to run a successful father and son dealership

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Starting and running a successful family owned business is a great achievement. Statistics reveal nearly 78% of all new jobs across the U.S. are by family owned businesses.

But starting a family business has its fair share of challenges. Take, for example, a father and son business. Some fathers find it difficult to allow their sons to take the lead role in a business they founded. On the other hand, some sons abuse certain liberties, creating confrontations that affect business operations. But if well managed, business challenges can be minor, even in a successful father and son car dealership. Here’s how it works…

Cash-in on custom branding

Showcasing your dealership’s commitment to quality and attention to detail through custom branding can effectively differentiate it from the competition. By leveraging custom branded products, you can elevate your marketing campaigns, strengthen customer loyalty, and leave a lasting impression on potential buyers.

Additionally, having a focus on custom branded products grants a car dealership a powerful tool via enhancing its advertising and marketing efforts. By incorporating personalized elements into your business strategy, such as custom merchandise, branded vehicle accessories, and tailor-made promotional materials, your dealership can create a strong and memorable brand identity. These custom products also provide a unique opportunity to connect with your target market on a deeper level, conveying authenticity and establishing a sense of trust.

Respect and know each other’s strengths

Respecting and appreciating each other’s strengths is one way to run a father-son business successfully. If your father is a visionary and you’re a hands-on individual, you can co-exist in a work environment by appreciating each other’s strengths.

The owner of Carvana, a used car dealerships platform, advises visionary fathers to manage the business as sons employ a hands-on approach and manage daily business operations.


Classic Used Car Dealership Photo Credit: Frank Cervantes/Facebook

To manage conflicts, rely on outside expertise

When there are conflicts between a father and son, it’s best to rely on outside expertise to make informed and strategic decisions. One of the smartest things to do is to create a board that helps run the dealership. A board can help preserve the founder’s vision for the company and provide continuity and guidance to a younger generation. Directors can build relationships with new family members who are added to the company or board.

Remember, conflicts at work always spill over into conflicts at home. You’ll not only affect your business operations but also disturb the peace at home. Only 30% of family-owned businesses make it into the second generation—and conflict is one of the culprits.


Running a car dealership can be complicated when you work with family.

Keep family relationships away from the office

Removing relationship labels can help you to efficiently run the business. Instead of viewing each other as family, view each other as business partners. It’ll be uncomfortable at first, but it’s necessary for business efficiency.

Family relationships and business can intertwine to form a cocktail of complex dynamics that could affect the entire business. To make sure this doesn’t happen, keep family relationships away from the office. Be firm about it for the interest of the business.


Leaving the dealership for a weekend adventure in the wild. Photo Credit: Ford

Spend time outside the office

Avoid conversations that turn into family talk when in the office. Keep family-related conversations at home to avoid conflicts at the workplace. The opposite is also true. Spend time together away from the office and keep off work-related conversations. When you’re having a family dinner, focus on your family. 

Take time to spend quality time together away from the office. For example, you can play sports together. When focused on a specific sport, you’ll barely have time for family or business-related conversations.

Spend time together outside the office often. Connect with nature or enjoy each other’s company, and you’ll avoid conversations that lead to disagreements and conflicts. Work together to grow your relationship and your dealership.

Author Biography: Mahrukh is a content creator, calligrapher and educator. She is a regular contributor to various websites like Contenterist, where she writes a variety of niches such as well-researched articles, blogs, product descriptions and so on.

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