Case Studies

Tally Construction Management LLC

Pursuing a thriving niche in automotive dealership construction

Founded in 2011, Tally Construction Management LLC (TallyCM) specializes in the planning, development and construction of automotive dealership facilities. In just five years TallyCM has completed more than 50 construction projects for some of the nation’s largest dealership groups including Penske Motor Group, Earnhardt Auto Centers, Keyes Automotive Group and many more.

The Scottsdale, Arizona, company offers a full slate of construction services, including site assessment; complete owner representation through the planning, design and construction phases; and the placement of a certified construction manager to oversee every project, long-term facilities maintenance service contracts and warranty assurance products.

Tally Construction Management LLC

“I don’t think there’s anybody in the country with as much automotive construction experience as us,” says Brent Tally, founder and president of TallyCM. “A lot of guys touch on automotive, but there are no others who do it as wholeheartedly as us. Our business philosophy also sets us apart; we run and manage a project just like it was ours.”

At home on the auto lot

Tally got his start in the construction industry shortly after graduating from Arizona State University in 2001. Tally went to work for a general contractor that specialized in automotive dealership construction before eventually signing on with U.S. auto dealership giant, the Van Tuyl Group, in 2003. He spent eight years with the company before striking out on his own in 2011.

“I’d just had my first child in March and I was burned out on the auto industry,” says Tally. “Two weeks later I got a call from a guy who used to be with Van Tuyl who said ‘I just got a Volkswagen store awarded to me in Tucson and you’ve got to project manage it for me.’”

The Volkswagen job led to a contract to build a Fiat dealership and the next thing Tally knew he was right back in the world of automotive dealership construction. TallyCM now has six employees in Arizona overseeing the company’s west coast projects, as well as branches in Salt Lake City and Cleveland.

“Automotive is a very small, niche community and everyone knows one another,” says Tally. “Almost all of our business is referral-based from dealers or auto manufacturers and they like us because we speak their language.”

Under the automotive dealership model, individual dealership owners are often required by manufacturers to perform regular upgrades to their facilities and equipment. This creates a robust market for niche construction management outfits like TallyCM that can work with the same dealer or dealer network on a number of projects throughout the years.

“There is a constant flux of real estate and construction-related things going on at dealerships and we help them with that process, from purchasing real estate to buying garbage cans when they move in,” says Tally.

Establishing strong partnerships

In the course of just five years TallyCM has built relationships with some of the largest automotive dealership groups in the western U.S. The company does a fairly even split between remodel and ground-up construction projects, skewing slightly toward remodels. “In the last few years there have also been a lot of relocations or new points when a dealership wants to add a store in a new market,” says Tally.

The company recently broke ground on a project for Larry H. Miller Dealerships, a large Utah-based dealership founded by the owner of the Utah Jazz. The 28-acre project in Draper, Utah, includes three distinct building projects: a relocated ground-up Mercedes-Benz dealership, a relocated Ford/Lincoln facility and a new building for Prestige Financial, the financing arm of Larry H. Miller Dealerships.

TallyCM also recently broke ground on a 65,000-square-foot project in Phoenix that will see an Earnhardt Auto Centers Lexus dealership relocate from Scottsdale, Arizona. The project includes a five-story parking garage and is slated for completion as soon as Halloween.

“That’s the world we live in: there’s a date set by the dealer and manufacturer that you have to have stuff done by or you forfeit your dealer agreement, so the dealers are always anxious to get them finished so they can get into their new facilities and start selling cars,” Tally says.

The company assists dealerships in selecting architects and general contractors to complete each project, as well as sourcing shop equipment such as lifts and air compressors. “We manage that entire process from the top down,” says Tally.

While TallyCM has only been around for five years, Tally’s own experience in the industry allows him to avoid many of the pitfalls those just entering the unique automotive dealership construction market might face. “I always tell clients, there aren’t a lot of mistakes out there that we haven’t made, so we can foresee problems and catch them before they become big issues,” he says.

As the automotive dealership market continues the trend toward consolidation, Tally is hoping his established relationships with leading dealership groups will allow him to expand the company’s presence in some of the nation’s largest markets.

“Around 20 percent of the dealerships in the country are in California and Texas, and we’re not currently in Texas, but it makes sense for us to be there. The southeast is also an area that we’re looking into,” he says.

Tally Construction Management LLC will continue to thrive in the market thanks to its niche specialty and Tally’s own holistic understanding of the relationships, personalities and strategies that keep the automotive dealership world running.

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