I have been in the car business since 1999 in Las Vegas. I recently opened my own small lot and we are doing just 'ok' ...Any advice on how to grow from 5-7 cars which we have been doing, to 10-15, eventually 20. We offer BHPH, put it's a hell of a balancing act, so we have pulled back on it for now. Not trying to be the next Bill Heard or Findlay, but we do want to get more business.
Clem, Glad to hear you don't want to be the next Bill Heard, that's a lot of legal hot water that I'm sure you want to stay out of ... welcome to the site
I have been a car dealer since 1974 and I have lasted that long because I am always improving my business model . I am doing better right now than I ever have . Always be looking for ways to improve your business. Do not try and do more with your business than your capital will allow. The biggest reason for divorce in the car business is that car dealers get over extented with their credit ( just kidding, but you get the point).For more information see my as yet un-written book "I have been lied to, cheated , cussed at but I keep coming here each day to see what will happen next". Maybe I need a shorter title !!
Thank you Frank
That was helpful info.
I started a dealership in Houston in 2006. Just like you, we grew from 5 cars to 70 cars.
Each stage is completely different than the other. The biggest variables will always be managing people and overhead.
If you want to grow, you'll have 2 immediate limitations.
1) Capital. You'll need the money to buy cars. If you don't have your own money, you can:
a) Get a personal loan from a bank. Needs to be more than 50k to make a difference.
b) Get a floorplan (special loan for car dealers) from your local bank. This will give you the best rates.
c) Use MAFS, DSC or AFC as a floorplan.
The best I believe is some combination of the above depending on your situation.
2) After solving #1 you'll need to buy cars. Car buyers. By far, for a used car lot, this is what will make you or break you. Your growth is limited by the amount of cars you can buy. A good buyer, one that can buy you a car that will make more than 20% back, can comfortably buy between 5 to 15 cars a week. This is highly dependent on his or her connections (with franchises) and the auctions they go to.
When you resolve those two limitation, you'll be ready for the next stage...
Good luck and let me know if I can help in some way.
That info is very true and extremely helpful...
Advertising - no bodies- no sales
I just spent a few minutes on your website, likely more time than most prospects will spend. You are not relating with customers, period! If you intend to grow you better relate to them.
1. Nothing about you, no picture, no nothing!
2. No phone number
3. No email.
Conclusion: You're wanting to win by trying to fail. Engage them and they just may engage you!
Awesome breakdown Philip.
Inexpensive marketing idea that has worked well for me over the years: Buy a BK list, roll up your sleeves and do an in house mailer. What I have always used is bright colored construction paper that you tri fold. It looks compeltetly different than anything else that comes in the mail so it gets opened. Takes some time to fold, staple and stamp but it gets a lot response. Tip: Great way to get kids to earn their allowance!