Many dealers struggle with reconditioning, either that it takes too long to get a car done and through the system or they are paying too much to get it done. Often they complain about both.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, most of these problems can be fixed if the dealer really wants to fix them.
The dealer has the power to fix anything they want to fix. A simple step to improve the situation is to hire a “Chaser.”
A “Chaser” will gain you a few days in recon and reduce your recon expense by a couple hundred dollars per car. Maybe even more on both ends.
A “Chaser” is someone who does just that. They chase the used cars through the system. This is not a high paid position; somewhere in the $3000 range per month. It’s a person who has solid mechanical knowledge, good people skills, attention to detail and the ability to communicate with the sales department and the service department.
Think of them as being in an assistant manager category. It is not the same as having a dedicated service advisor or used car technician.
The “Chaser” has a single-minded focus with no other agenda. They will never let a car sit for even one day while it waits to go from service to clean up. If clean-up is backed up they will start kicking and screaming to find a solution, whereas the service adviser is thinking “next” in terms of his/her own next repair order opportunity to make some money.
The “Chaser” is an employee of the sales department but spends most of their time in service. They need to have a certain amount of approval authority so they can speed things up for you.
I often hear dealers say they already have that, as they give the service department the latitude of spending X dollars per car without having to get approval.
Whatever that threshold is that you’ve given them it’s a
safe bet that you’re going to have a lot of cars bumping that number.
It’s a bit like telling your salespeople that you are only going to accept deals with a $1000 gross profit. You’re going to get a lot of $1000 deals. People take the route of least resistance. You won’t see too many $500 deals and you’re not going see too many $2000 deals.
The “Chaser” needs to have enough mechanical knowledge to know when to hold them and when to fold them. They won’t let the wool get pulled over your eyes.
They are there, in part, to protect and assist the used car department with the ultimate goal of speeding things up. They work for the used car department not the service department.
The “Chaser” is going to gain you some days in recon by doing…well, just that. They are chasing the cars through service. They chase the cars and they push the cars through each station. If things get backed up, they are looking for a solution on how to make it happen.
Many dealerships rely on the used car manager, service writer or, in some cases, the service manager to handle these duties.
And, for the most part they don’t have the time, expertise or focus to make it happen.
You may be sitting there reading this thinking, geez, I don’t want to have to hire any more people. I get that, I understand that. I have a question for you.
How much do you have to save per car in recon or gain in days through recon for the “Chaser” to more than pay for themselves? That’s all I’m gonna ask, Tommy Gibbs