“Stayed neither by snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness from accomplishing their appointed course with all speed.” That quote belongs to the Greek philosopher, Herodotus (approximately 484-425 B.C.), describing the incredible efficiency of the royal Persian couriers of the era. That saying was paraphrased as, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds," and was inscribed on New York City’s James Farley Post Office (formerly the General Post Office Building) upon its original construction in 1912. It has been used as the unofficial motto of the U.S. Postal Service ever since. It is also how the intrepid trainers of the Vitu Registration Management Professional (RMP) courses operate throughout the country in their efforts to keep dealership title clerks up-to-date on all things DMV. That stalwart commitment to going wherever whenever to ensure vehicle sellers are compliant includes taking the California Motorcycle Dealers Association (CMDA) endorsed RMP course focused on powersports — REG 201M — straight to the source, which leads these experts into some unique and diverse terrain reflective of the road (or lack thereof) traveled by these specialized vehicles.
“A lot of these places are on the outskirts,” Gisela “GiGi” Gonzalez, RMP Training and Development Specialist, shares, “For example, we flew out to Lake Tahoe in the winter, snow everywhere, and the clerk said, ‘We’ve had four slide-offs today.’ I didn’t know what those were, so I asked her, ‘What’s a slide-off?’ And she said, ‘Well, it’s when the car slides off the mountain because of the snow.’”
Jen Vasquez, another RMP Training and Development Specialist who frequently travels with GiGi for these classes, chimes in, “She said it so nonchalantly. ‘Yeah, it happens all the time.’”
Regardless, GiGi and Jen still drove up the mountain and taught REG 201M to a handful of seasoned California-based title clerks who were surprised at how helpful it was. Participants with decades of experience tend to think they don’t really need the class, but they invariably discover there are a slew of new DMV regulations of which they are completely unaware constantly being implemented, revised and deleted. And that is the bonus of REG 201M: Fundamentals of Recreational Registration & Titling — the way it shows you that you don’t know what you don’t know until you know.
Who is the target for REG 201M?
Title clerks in powersports dealerships tend to be Jacks of All Trades — following the customer sale transaction from beginning to end. “While the content of the REG 201M course is created for both the beginner and veteran clerk, 95% of the time our onsite trainers discover it’s the vets who are attending the courses and come in already knowing DMV, but just want to make sure there aren’t any new changes,” Geneva Richardson, Training and Development Manager for RMP, reveals. ”When that happens, the RMP trainer will modify the training to the title clerk’s needs.“
When the course first started in 2014, REG 201M was part of the standard RMP curriculum. It was listed among its stable of classes from which to choose on the rmpschool.com website. As time went on, however, Geneva noticed something that made her and the rest of her team realize this was something that had a very specialized need that had to be met in a different way.
“We quickly figured out it wasn’t a real need for the broader dealership industry and said, ‘Hey, let’s just figure out a way to address recreational dealerships,’” Geneva says. “It’s the same basic content format as our other RMP courses, but focused on recreational.”
REG 201M focuses on the needs of CMDA partners by addressing the unique terminology and additional paperwork that goes along with registering a recreational and powersports — aka leisure — vehicle. It deals with the appropriate way to register these modes of transport and what the DMV requires in terms of forms, policy, regulation and basically everything needed to keep those specialized dealerships compliant. For 2018 and throughout the transition in 2019, it has also added training on California’s impending AB 516 mandate that goes into effect on January 1, 2019.
Meeting a market where, when and how it lives
RMP courses take place at offsite facilities that can accommodate the fairly sizable class attendance. With the 201M Powersports course, shifting who it focused on also included how those participants received the information. Powersports dealerships can be located in areas that are not easily accessible, as mentioned. The team revised their usual “at a facility near you” way of working and began offering to meet clerks in their place of business at a time and day convenient to them.
The answer has been to create scenarios that support these clerks on their terms. REG 201M is made available on a “By Request” basis — you can go onto the RMP website and fill out an inquiry form. Once that is done, the trainers work with the different dealership personnel to find out what is convenient for them. Classes can be taken before the dealership opens, during business hours or even later in the day, when customer traffic is winding down. The workshop is very flexible due to the nature of the recreational vehicle business and is conducted in-store.
While there are a few RMP trainers whose specialty is actually powersports, every one of the expert teachers is well-versed in all the rules of the recreational vehicle road (or off-road). Staying on top of all things DMV is what they do for every one of the courses taught through RMP. However, unlike a new or used car dealership that may get a recreational vehicle as a trade-in once in a blue moon and has a general specialty they are known for — cars, commercial, etc. — powersports stores can become very specialized. For example, a motorcycle shop sells bikes, yes, but they may also sell off-highways. Or they only sell Harleys. Or maybe they sell vessels and so on. Once the trainers know what dealership they’re going to they investigate and research that specific store to ensure they’re providing the best possible information for their needs.
“A trainer has to prep themselves by going onto a recreational dealership’s website and find out what they’re selling — how are they processing this paperwork, because the avenue by which they are processing can be different as well. With recreation and motorcycle, there are so many different avenues that information can go. As a trainer, you know it,” Geneva points out, “but you always have to re-acclimate yourself to the information.”
And DMV regulations are constantly updating and shifting, which leads to the “you can never know everything” mantra of the RMP trainer.
“To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge.”
Confucius said that and it’s a universal truth that never changes. The world of powersports is filled with veteran title clerks who have been in their job and living the recreational vehicle life for many years. Their base of knowledge is huge and ingrained, so the value of the REG 201M class often goes unrecognized until a seasoned clerk is in the midst of the training.
GiGi says, “DMV updates rules somewhat frequently and it’s often difficult to keep up as a clerk. So, it’s always good to go in there for a refresher and learn. There are so many people who come to our workshops then say, ‘I’ve been doing this for 20+ years and I learned something.’”
Jen adds, “We get that a lot. I had two girls come to a course just the other day who have been doing DMV for years, but they said, ‘I always come once-a-year for a refresher and I always learn something new.’”
GiGi picks up the thread here, “Even last year with the Transportation Improvement Fee — there are all of these things that people don’t know.”
Jen says, “Like the Temp Tags — AB 516 — everyone needs one except for off-highways but that new rule basically affects everybody and there’s a lot to understand with it.”
With so many changes, it’s hard to keep up and RMP is working to ensure powersports don’t get left behind. Thanks to CMDA’s endorsement, more powersports dealers are discovering just how invaluable the course is. The association has been a great partner in getting the word out about the benefits of REG 201M, noting how the course has proven to lead to a more efficiently run title and registration desk that has produced significant cost savings for various leisure vehicle dealerships. Some of the main perks CMDA has been quick to tout include employee cost reductions, improved registration processing efficiencies and increased dealer cash-flow reflected after taking REG 201M. It’s why making access to the training as easy as possible is so important to the RMP team.
Geneva muses, “There’s not always a need for a class in the recreational world, but making it easy to fill that need should you have it is why we’ve structured REG 201M the way we have.”
And just as Vitu has created AB 516 training to prepare all dealers for the new law going into effect on January 1, 2019, so does RMP make staying on top of the ever-evolving rules and regulations for recreation and motorcycles that much easier to do on a title clerk’s own time.
“You can always learn something new. I must learn something new — I could say everyday, but at least once-a month. All of us at RMP are constantly working together to improve the curriculum, so we stay on top of whatever changes may be coming at DMV,’” Geneva says. “When we see something, we revise the course to accommodate whatever revisions may have been implemented. Armed with that, we can go into a powersports dealership and offer a six hour course or we can condense it to 2 hours of their time.”
To streamline the seminars and ensure clerks are getting the most in the time they have available, RMP sends out a questionnaire prior to the class to share what topics are covered and which would be the best for their specific need.
“After all, there’s always something.”
Geneva and the RMP staff know that because of how quickly the DMV moves, it’s impossible for any one person in a dealership to stay completely abreast of those changes on their own so they always know everything. As powersports innovates — more digitally connected, autonomous, foldable, the inclusion of single-person vehicles — there will be even more rules and regulations to take into consideration, and RMP is staying ahead of the game by being as involved in those discussions as possible so they can keep all CMDA dealerships aligned and up-to-date. To learn more about REG 201M: Fundamentals of Recreational Registration & Titling, go to www.rmpschool.com and check out the course description. Fill out an inquiry to get the refresher or first-time knowledge you need, and one or two of the expert RMP trainers will come your way. Who knows? Maybe it’ll even be GiGi and Jen.
“I told her, ‘You’re driving,’ because I have a very big fear of driving on a mountainside. I can’t do it. I said, ‘You’re gonna have to drive, I’m sorry,’” GiGi says about their Lake Tahoe trip, laughing, pointing at Jen.
“And I said, ‘But I’ve never driven in snow before, what’re you trusting me for?’” Jen says, laughing along.
But Jen drove them anyway, because a clerk needed them. And they got them. And they were glad. And as long as there are powersports vehicles and rules to regulate them, RMP trainers will be “stayed neither by snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness from accomplishing their appointed course with all speed” to make sure all those who need REG 201M get REG 201M.