Indiana Considering Selling Motorcycles on Sundays

01/17/2012 @ 2:19 pm, by Jensen Beeler18 COMMENTS

Indiana is on the verge of redeeming itself in the eyes of Asphalt & Rubber, as the Hoosier State is all set to vote on allowing motorcycle dealers to sell bikes on the Lord’s day (that’s Sunday for you heathens). Indiana State Senate Bill 192, which is sponsored by State Senator Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso), would end Indiana’s ban on “buying, selling or trading motorcycles on Sundays.” The bill is a part of a larger national movement to do away with one of the motorcycle industries more puritanical customs of trade.

Perhaps realizing what all other B2C companies have known for decades, motorcycle dealers are finally warming up to the idea that most consumers do not have time to shop for a motorcycle during the nine to five hours on Tuesdays-Fridays (most shops are closed Monday as well), and as such, some motorcycle dealers nationwide are shining to the idea of having two, count them: TWO, days during the weekend where bikes could roll out the dealership doors. Naturally the abysmal economy is helping fuel most of this “Open on Sunday” fire, but a movement like this has been coming down the pipe for quite some time.

Pennsylvania recently passed a similar bill in 2011, as have other states in our great union. In an industry that still hocks the “race on Sunday, sell on Monday mantra” it will be refreshing finally to have dealers actually open on one of those two days mentioned (hint: it’s not the day where they’re supposed to be selling bikes). Clearly, A&R is of the mind that motorcycle dealers would be better off open seven days a week, and thus we are happy to see that motorcycle dealers are moving one more step closer to that reality.

If you ever wanted a reading on how the motorcycle industry is its own worst enemy at times, the issue of dealers opening up on Sundays is perhaps the best example. Indiana’s State Senate is expected to vote on the Senate Bill 192 later this month, and it is predicted that the bill will pass despite some push back from local dealers. Yes, there are actually dealers who don’t want the ability to decide what days their business should be open. For instance Tom Hartman, the Chairman of the Motorcycle Dealers Association of Indiana, wrote to the Senate committee to advocate that the bill be opposed, as most dealers in Indiana want Sunday off from work. Palm, meet face.

Source: Northwest Indiana Times via DealerNews

  • Shaitan

    As a heathen, I approve this message.

  • jjrider

    Letting the dealers decide when they want to be open? How crazy is that? ;-)

  • If you have ever met Tom, or been to his dealership in Evansville, you would not be surprised at his stance on being open on Sunday.

    Your point about dealers sometimes being their own worst enemies is spot on. It reminds me of a bad horror film sometimes… the girl is running away from the slasher…she has two paths to choose…”this way to certain death” or “guaranteed safety”.

    And its not just the motorcycle dealers. Why are all of the service departments closed on Saturdays, not just Sundays. When are we supposed to get our vehicles serviced? Funny thing is if you ask why they are closed on Saturdays they look at you like your crazy, because everyone knows that we all have all the free time that we need during the week to work around their schedule.

    It is truly amazing that they can complain about how bad business is when you ask, and yet these business practices are completely unacceptable in any other industry.

  • next thing you know they’ll be allowing people to marry their pets!

  • marty

    It took years for stores to open here on Sundays…not the stores I want to be open like a Motorcycle shop : /

  • Kevin D

    “because everyone knows that we all have all the free time that we need during the week to work around their schedule.”

    So absolutely true, when will they ever learn that WE are THEIR customers. THEY need OUR money for them to survive.

    Most dealers here in the Philippines are open on Saturday, but only a few on Sunday… plus if they are, it will only be for half a day. Many people in Asia work 6 days a week and not 5, so it gets really irritating to have to have to skip work and adjust to THEIR schedules.

  • Jake Fox

    One day a weekend is enough. Let them stay closed on Sundays to be with their friends and families. There are more important things in life than shopping. If no shops are open on Sundays then there are no sales lost unless people are going out of state to buy bikes on Sundays. When I was a kid most shops were closed on Sundays and somehow the western world didn’t collapse and we were all able to survive. It’s like when people decide to boycott oil companies by refusing to buy gas one day. It just means the gas stations will sell more gas before or after that day. And now most retailers are open on holidays. Why? Holidays should be enjoyed by all Americans unless you provide a critical service like transportation or emergency services. We need to quit bowing at the altar of the almighty dollar and get our priorities straight. Work to live, not the other way around.

  • That’s fine, Jake, but shouldn’t it be up to the owner of the shop whether they’re open the whole weekend? Dealers who wish to be closed could remain closed, while those who were interested in making some additional money would, indeed, do so. Win-win, I say. Choice ALWAYS is the better way, and I cannot support those who would work to deny my freedom.

  • doug

    “Let them stay closed on Sundays to be with their friends and families”

    So you’re saying that all grocery stores, Target stores, Wal-Mart stores, Best Buy etc. should be mandated by government to give their employees Sunday off? It’s a matter of choice for the owner of the bike shop- NOT OUR LOVELY GOVERNMENT!

    If I choose to buy a motorcycle on Sunday I will CHOOSE the shop that is open. If the motorcycle shop is open and sells the brand I want I will give him my hard earned cash. Ah, capitalism at it’s finest.

  • James Schipper

    But what about teh fire and brimstoan!?!?11!!! OMG!!1!!! No!! It Buuurns!!!!1!!!

    It’s fun to see things change over time, and how far some areas of life (and the map) we still have to go. I had no idea there was actual legislation that prevented businesses from dealing in this kind of devilry on Sundays.

  • Ervgopwr

    Indeed. As a life long west coaster, it amazes me to hear the strange laws of the other parts of the country. I’ve even heard that you can’t buy beer on certain day’s of the week. Why would anyone want to restrict god’s greatest gift to man? Her wisdom surely would not want any restrictions on that sweet nectar.

  • Jake, how about closing on a Wednesday? Or Tuesday/Wednesday. Somewhat common practice in the ski industry. If you choose a business that caters to folks’ weekend activities, you probably should be available to cater to them. Want Sunday to yourself? Take any of the other 99% of jobs in this country.

  • Spaceman

    I’m with Jake, but then again I work at a shop in PA. We’ve chosen to remain closed on Sundays, but we’re open the other 6 days of the week. I support the idea of businesses being able to choose whether or not to be open on Sunday.

    What I DON’T support is the mentality our culture has developed that mandates consumers have the right to ANYTHING at ANYTIME – regardless of how it affects anyone else.

    I can’t wrap my head around it. If motorcycles are your passion, how can it be such a huge inconvenience to get to your local shop during business hours? We make ourselves available to our customers for 50 hours over the course of 6 days every week. How can someone complain that we’re not “catering to their schedule”?

    The employees that work at the businesses we all frequent (motorcycle or not) are entitled to lives away from work. WE’RE all here to serve YOU 40+ hours a week…maybe do us a favor and “inconvenience yourself” during business hours.

  • Spaceman, I fully support a dealer’s choice to be closed on Sunday. For that matter, I fully support a dealer’s choice to be closed whatever days of the week it chooses. If a dealer wishes to only be open on Saturday morning from 6-7:30 a.m., it might not get a lot of business, but that’s life. It’s all about choice.

    The problem isn’t when a dealer chooses to be in business or not. The problem is when government makes those decisions as law. When it’s illegal for somebody to sell on a Sunday, it indicates that the division between church and state is nowhere to be found.

  • cds

    Let’s see, what day of the week am I most likely to need a widget for my bike and have time to go get it?
    If I’m 90% of the American motorcycling public, that’d be Saturday or Sunday. I don’t see many folks going out for a Wednesday morning ride, or spending Monday afternoon wrenching in the garage. If mc dealers are moaning about business being lousy, try taking a few steps to cater to your customers needs.

    Indifferent attitudes towards customers is what drives us to the Internet. Not being open when we need them is as good as not existing, which, if my city of 60k people is any indication, is the way things are headed. The local big-4, BMW & HD dealers all shut down in the last 2 yrs, leaving only a pair of niche Eurobike dealers known for lousy customer service. I won’t miss them when they’re gone, either, because they never really offered much.

    On the other hand, there’s an all-makes parts and basic service shop that’s open 7 days a week & has been thriving throughout the recession…

    The invisible hand of the market is a funny thing, innit?

  • JSH

    @ Spaceman: Your shop may be open 50 hours a week but the key is which hours are you open. Are you open hours that are convenient for your customers or hours that are convenient for your staff.

    What I can’t wrap my head around are retail businesses that are open only when many of their potential customers are at work. My local motorcycle dealers are an excellent example. They are open Tues – Friday 9am to 5:30 pm and Saturday 10am to 2 pm. Considering that I work from 8am to 5pm that leaves 4 hours on Saturday that I can shop at the local dealers. Needless to say I don’t buy much from them. I buy my parts online and my riding gear online or from Cycle Gear. The key here is hours of operation.

    I can understand that a dealer may not be able to staff a store from 8am to 10pm 7 days a week. However I can’t understand why they can’t be open a few hours in the evening when people that work 1st shift could shop at their stores. Even 10am to 6 pm would be an improvement though I would prefer 12pm to 8pm.

  • david

    yes, having a LAW that you can’t be open on sunday is silly, but the larger point is up for discussion. I work in a motor cycle shop,in the past the reason we were closed on sunday was because we were all out RIDING, going to races, motorcycle related events that all happened on, you guessed it, sunday. some of us even liked to go race ourselves, and for a long time the biggest customers of the industry was the industry itself. I miss getting to participate, but it’s a brave new world I guess..

  • To that end, the obvious solution for shops that open on weekends is to hire staff who will be happy to work those days. When I was a parts manager, scheduling staff was sometimes challenging, but never impossible.