I am constantly amazed by how much bureaucracy dealers face running what used to be called small businesses.
I'm not sure many dealers in North America would consider their dealerships small businesses. But by some government standards, they are small.
Today it's almost imperative to have legal assistance on the payroll. What was a simple business a couple of decades ago has turned into a nightmare for many dealers around the country.
There isn't much you can do today that doesn't run up against some local, state or federal law or regulation. Many are patently ridiculous. But that doesn't seem to matter as far as the regulators are concerned.
Heaven help you if you are thinking about opening a dealership or expanding an existing one. And you always have the factories imposing new rules and regulations that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But the most grievous challenge facing the North American auto dealer is being bombarded by overzealous regulators who seem to be fighting one another to create and enforce more unnecessary standards.
There are plenty of rules that should stay in place. But if you have a dealership in California, for example, you are inundated with all sorts of rules that raise the cost of doing business, and that means customers are going to be paying more for products and services than they do in other states.
Local and regional dealer associations often can lower the cost of complying with regulations, but not always. Certainly local associations can be the warning bell for new and even more onerous rules and regulations.
Sadly, the consumer ends up paying for all the regulations no matter where a dealership is.
We've been hearing a lot about the size of government. But the federal government isn't the only one growing rapidly.
It seems all governments want to get bigger and more intrusive in our businesses.
It's tough enough to be in the retail business. Government doesn't seem interested in doing anything to make it easier.