By and large, most dealers and managers have come to understand it’s not the big that will eat the small but the fast that will eat the slow. We all know the faster we can get a car on the lot and online the more we increase our odds of making a respectable profit.
If you are committed to 60 days or less (which you should be) then any days in the cycle in which the unit is not available for sale is a killer.
The question often comes up, “When does the clock start ticking?” Does it start with the acquisition, the day you own it, or does it start when the car goes on the lot/online?
Let me make this as clear as I possibly can. It starts the moment you own it. Period. No exceptions, no ifs, ands, or buts.
But Tommy, it’s been in the body shop for 20 days? Nope, no, no, no. The clock is ticking. Your money is tied up from day one. You’re working with a depreciating asset. If you try to think any other way, you are lying to yourself. Don’t lie to yourself.
10 Things To Help You Win The Clock Ticking Game:
1. If you are in a state where there are title issues there has to be a clear line of communication with the office on a minute by minute basis to alert you when the title arrives. Any breakdown in communication is costing you money. Staying after these title issues cannot be left up to chance. Somebody has to take ownership of chasing after the titles.
2. It’s a fact that you are having to go further out of your area to buy cars at auctions, but you have to be selective and know what the timeline is that you are dealing with. Anything you can do to reduce transportation days is better. You might even want to consider paying the trucker a bonus for fast delivery. Our software helps you keep track of days in transit.
3. How hard are you trying to buy cars in your own market? Do you have a procedure set up so that when someone comes in and wants to sell you a car that you give them the full routine with a written appraisal? Does your website have a self-appraisal link so the customer can get real numbers from you quickly.
4. Mine your customer base. For sure, you know which cars you always do well with. Often they are right under your nose hiding within your CRM. Vin Solutions has some great tools for finding those vehicles and giving you a chance to buy the car, trade the car or ultimately sell the owner a new car.
5. How about a unique and separate website that drives the customer to your website to sell you their car?
6. If you’re in a market with CarMax, consider promoting that if the customer brings their CarMax appraisal to you within 7 days of the appraisal, that you will give them more for their car than CarMax or give them $100 cash if you can’t beat CarMax’s offer. What do you have to lose? Suppose you buy 10 extra cars this month and also pay out $1000 in loser fees. Do ‘da math, what did you make on the 10 extra cars?
7. Fix your service and recon issues. I know it sounds likeI’m picking on service a lot and that’s not my intent. I just know in most dealerships it’s the same old, same old. How many total days are being wasted from the time the car is acquired until the time it gets on the lot and online? In today’s age of speed, you have to find every day that you can if you’re gonna win the “meter game.” My UpYourGross software comes with a free “Recon Tool.”
8. Make sure you include in your “save-a-deal” meeting every morning a list of all vehicles that are either in transit or tied up due to title issues. The more you pick up the intensity on these units, the faster things will happen.
9. Pick up the intensity level. Not just you, but the entire team has to understand that any day that a vehicle is not on the lot/online it’s costing the dealership big money.
10. Consider hiring a “Chaser.” A chaser is just that. It’s someone who chases your units through the system to ensure nothing sits any longer than absolutely necessary.
When does the clock start? When you own it.
What can you do to improve the clocking ticking? Re-read 1 thru 10.
Control what you can control. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs