The National Automobile Dealers Association reported that at the end of 2019, there were 16,682 franchised light-vehicle dealerships in the U.S. Opportunities are available throughout the U.S. and in towns large and small.
Few people start their career as an automotive dealership owner. Many start as a vehicle sales manager or in some other position within a dealership. An aspiring dealership owner should anticipate having at least 50 percent of the money needed to start or buy a business. Some people find it helpful to have one or more partners in a business venture.
An owner is by definition the boss, which is why opportunities for advancement are limited. Advancement often takes the form of expansion of an existing business, leading to increased earnings and prestige. Expanding a business also can entail added risk, as it involves increasing operational costs. A successful business owner may be offered an additional dealership or an executive position with an automotive manufacturer.
Read industry publications such as Auto Dealer Today (https://www.autodealertodaymagazine.com), NADA Headlines (https://www.nada.org/nadaheadlines), and Used Car Dealer (https://www.usedcardealermagazine.com) to learn more about the field.
Land an entry-level job at an automotive dealership to learn about the field and make valuable industry contacts. Ask your school's career services office for help with finding job opportunities.
Conduct informational interviews with dealership owners and ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field.