You Can Fix It

There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t get several calls from dealers struggling with reconditioning of used vehicles.

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.

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. Far better.

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.

Really? Let’s say you give them $800 without asking any questions. I can promise you-you’re going to get a lot of $800 tickets. It’s human nature.

That’s like the sales manager who says I’m only going to accept a $1000 deal. Well, 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.

Part of their pay plan might be based on average recon cost and the average number of days to get a car to the front line. Of course, you have to be careful that they don’t go too far on the saving money part.

You’ll be able to tell if your policy account and complaints go up, so don’t be too concerned if you elect to make it part of their pay plan.

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. Most 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