Driving client needs for a first-rate ride
While the thought of hitting the road may be considered just a dream for many, for Josh President and Co-Founder of Ultimate Toys, offering the luxury wheels to make it happen is a way of life. Ultimate Toys is the industry leader providing the highest quality and multifunctional luxury travel vehicles for people to explore America. The company is a family business with its roots deeply embedded in a personal need and the desire to share it with others.
The idea and story behind the brand began about 5 years ago, when Gary Green, the father of Josh Green, had an idea. Based in Ohio, Gary loved to take trips with the family.
Touring the country, the Greens had the privilege of being able to be on the road most summers in RVs and other luxury oversized vehicles like Prevost buses. But as soon as the children left home, the big vans were left to gather dust.
After a decade of touring and the associated maintenance aggravations, Gary sold his van. But the itch came again.
Gary started browsing for a new vehicle. However this time he wanted something reliable, easily maintained and luxurious enough to make traveling comfortable while being proud to show it off.
The vehicle also needed to meet some personal needs like taking friends out, going to a ball game, or just a quick family weekend. But this wasn’t as easy as it seemed, and it took years of searching before he realized that nothing available would fit his needs. During this time, Gary learned a lot about the industry.
As a part of that process, Gary went to a premier manufacturer called Midwest Automotive Designs (MAD) who would custom- build exactly what he needed on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Chassis.
The result was something truly unique on the market and perfect for him. Being a serial entrepreneur, Gary thought he could sell a few to friends and decided to become a dealer for fun. With permission from MAD he started selling the vans.
Before he knew it, Gary had sold about 20 units within six months which typically takes an entire year for a dealership. There was indeed a market for the Ultimate Toy.
Gary started this in 2017, but in 2018, Josh was brought on board by Gary. In the first operating year, the Greens sold about 120 vans. This number has increased each year.
In 2019, about 240 units were sold, and in 2020 during the pandemic, about 550 went to happy new owners. Over 2,000 units were sold within the first five years of operation.
The company now sells five core Sprinter models, with a few variations exclusive to Ultimate Toys. Recently, the company has begun to offer a RAM ProMaster version, which is more affordable than the Mercedes-Benz.
Other products include a unique teardrop travel trailer and the custom Ultimate Jeep. This expansion has opened the company up to new markets.
And with a more extensive market, the company has had to grow to a team of over 30 employees. Most of these staff reside in Cincinnati, Ohio, with several in Elkhart, Indiana – where MAD is located.
Josh Green fills in on the workings of the company, “Collectively, there are about 30 employees. Gary is still an active chairman, While I oversee the day-to-day operations.”
The company relies heavily on word-of-mouth referrals and a strong community of owners. While more commonplace today than they were when the company started, these vehicles still turn heads on the street. This means the company has had to assist owners with exceptional support and information, as most onlookers often request to see the vehicle’s interior and ask a lot of questions.
The company’s primary clientele are business owners who mix their vehicle use between business and personal needs.
“I’ve heard many realtors buying our vans and being able to show homes and do presentations in the vehicle. This is our bread and butter, creating a truly multi-function, versatile, and high-quality vehicle,” says Green.
Ultimate Toys is proud of their reputation and they do not resort to the perceived questionable sales tactics of vehicle dealerships. Pricing on the vehicles is fixed, and consumers can expect true transparency regarding what they’re getting. And for this reason, all customers are treated equally and get the exact same pricing and experience.
Communication has also been streamlined with the company’s digital-first approach. While this means there are no physical handshakes, building client relationships requires going above and beyond and having the right internal personnel for these handoffs.
“Our sales executives start this process with the clients. While they do have sales in their title, we consider them more like ambassadors or consultants. Rather than selling you down a certain path, they work to understand your needs and find the perfect solution for you,” says Green.
By the end of this process or matching game, there’s a clear direction of exactly what the client wants. Once completed, the process is handed over to a pre-delivery manager, whose main objective is to assist the client until the delivery of the vehicle.
The pre-delivery manager’s role can take from a couple of weeks to six months. These variables in timing are due to several reasons, but often revolve around supply chain constraints.
Getting these pre-delivery managers up to speed has taken immense resources, but it has meant better documentation integration and technology to streamline processes, including processing transactions.
Once the keys are handed off to the client Ultimate Toys has developed a phenomenal team to assist these new owners with their vehicles as they can be complex, and many buyers are first-timers. This specific team will walk customers through their vehicles via Zoom and ensure they are set up for success.
Also included is communication about the warranty, how-to questions, and a unique Airbnb -type rental program that Ultimate Toys exclusively offers. This allows owners to rent out their vehicles and includes insurance protection, driver background checks, and more.
The program allows the owners to monetize their vehicles when they’re not using them. Many clients have taken advantage of this program, which has become very lucrative as customers can cover the cost of their vehicles over just a few weekends.
Another exciting program for Ultimate Toys is the Showcase Partner program. Because not all potential buyers can get to Cincinnati, clients can opt in to showing their vehicles locally and share their experiences with interested parties. Owners are compensated for time regardless of outcome.
By taking this approach, Ultimate Toys delivers customer services above and beyond what is expected, and their clients can make new friends as well as pay for their dreams. Everyone wins by simply giving the customers what they want.
As the industry still grapples with supply chain issues caused by COVID, success has been down to the company’s phenomenal relationship with MAD.
MAD has been operating for over 20 years and is owned by the REV Group, which means they have a lot of buying potential. This wouldn’t be the case if they were independent. Another factor that has helped combat supply issues is the company’s entrepreneurial drive.
It’s also worth noting that MAD has not laid off a single person due to not having enough work, which bucks the industry trends that we even see today.
Another vendor that Ultimate Toys works with is neCamp responsible for building the new exclusive teardrop campers. nuCamp is also known for being the best of the best in their niche.
Financing is also a crucial part of the buying process for many clients. In fact, clients can finance these RVs for up to 20-year which means that they are often considerably less expensive than your average car. Best of all, if used for business purposes, they can be written off up to 100% in the first year under Section 179.
The company has a handful of excellent logistic partners. But as always, for a company to succeed, you need the right partners – which Ultimate Toys has plenty of currently.
With the company only five years old, the future is hard to predict, but its focus, for now, is the internal culture. The company has a small team, who all work incredibly hard to achieve the output they do.
There is a very strategic investment into the staff to ensure they are getting what they need, developing, and being rewarded. Ultimate Toys’ team strives to constantly challenge the status quo and outperform competitors.
The company’s motto is “Live Your Best Life.” This motto was developed with clients and employees in mind, and it certainly describes life at Ultimate Toys.
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AT A GLANCE
Ultimate Toys, Inc.
What: Luxury RV distributor for the upscale vehicle market
Where: Cincinnati, Ohio