More small dealerships make this year's list

This year's list of the 100 Best Dealerships To Work For has more small dealerships than last year's list: 42 this year, up from 31 in 2012. The number of large dealerships on the list dropped to 14, from 29 in 2012.

This survey defined small dealerships as those with up to 49 employees and medium-sized ones as those with 50 to 99 employees.

Does that mean small dealerships are better places to work? Not necessarily.

In fact, a review of the data used to evaluate dealerships shows that what stands out is not so much the variances among small, medium and large dealerships as the consistent, nearly identical, scores of the 100 Best Dealerships To Work For, regardless of size.

For example, dealership employees were asked if they agreed with the statement: "I would recommend employment at my company to a friend." Among the dealerships that did not make the list, the share of employees who said yes was 87 percent at small stores, 85 percent at medium-sized dealerships and 84 percent at large ones.

But 97 percent of employees at both small and large Best Dealerships To Work For said "yes." At medium-sized Best Dealerships To Work For, it was 96 percent.

Employees were also asked if they agreed with this: "The leaders of this dealership care about employees' well being."

Again, at the dealerships that applied for consideration but didn't make the list of 100, the "yes" response rate was 87 percent at small dealerships, 85 percent at medium-sized ones and 82 percent at large ones. But among the Best Dealerships To Work For, it was 97 percent at small dealerships and 96 percent at both medium-sized and large dealerships.

In fact, the average survey scores for the Best Dealerships To Work For, with a higher score being better, was 96 percent for both small and medium-sized dealerships and 97 percent for the large ones. Among dealerships that didn't make the list, the average scores were 86 percent for small dealerships, 89 percent for medium-sized ones and 84 percent for large ones.

So it's hard to definitively prove that the smaller the dealership, the better place it is to work. Among the Best Dealerships To Work For, size is almost irrelevant.

You can reach James B. Treece at

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