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Do you take your own photos?

Discussion in 'Inventory Software Support & Best Practices' started by mattwatson81, Apr 19, 2009.

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Do you take your own photos?

  1. We take our own photos (DIY)

    35 vote(s)
    83.3%
  2. We use an on the lot service provider

    7 vote(s)
    16.7%
  1. mattwatson81

    mattwatson81 Getting Refreshed

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    Thought I would start a poll to see who takes their own photos versus paying a 3rd party provider to do it.

    In these tough economic times I would think more and more dealerships would take their own photos to cut costs.

    Anyone have any tips on how to better take your own photos?
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009
  2. Alex Snyder

    Alex Snyder Administrator Staff Member

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    We started taking our own about 2 years ago, and hired the person who worked for the 3rd party company to work in our parts department - she was fantastic! It works out better when the person is an employee and doing it full time - you get a bit more done, and that person is not afraid to point out where a Used Car Manager might be dropping the ball.
  3. Blake Arbogast

    Blake Arbogast Refresher

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    Question? We currently take our own pictures and upload them to our Cobalt site. Cobalt then takes that information and feeds all the other providers. I have been tracking how long it takes for a vehicle once uploaded to Cobalt to show up in cars.com, autotrader.com, etc....3 days. I've gone through all the usual step and no one claims responsibility.

    So my question is, how many of you use a company such as Dealer Specialties to host and send your inventory?
  4. Alex Snyder

    Alex Snyder Administrator Staff Member

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    I hate to say it Blake, but I have yet to find an inventory tool that makes this process any faster. Dealer.com is very good about accepting a new feed and we have them pushing to AutoTrader. I can watch a car be 100% complete on our website and take 3 days to show on AutoTrader.com. iMagicLab uploads to Dealer.com and Cars.com and I'll see Dealer.com have things days before Cars.com does.

    I experienced the same thing when we were on HomeNet. So, even though I can't stand to say a nice thing about CoBalt, I don't think it is their fault. The large inventory sites just seem to be behind.
  5. mattwatson81

    mattwatson81 Getting Refreshed

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    It is usually all timing issues. For example last I knew Cars.com only updates the site in the afternoon, so we send them files at say midnight and it doesn't update till mid afternoon the next day. AutoTrader though takes multiple feeds daily so it can be kept more up to date.

    It's all timing issues.
  6. JoePistell

    JoePistell Uncle Joe

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    Blake,

    I love it. GM BASHES YOU for not answering an email in minutes, yet endorses cobalt. hahaha....

    ahem. sorry about that. That's as bright as flying AirForce1 past NYC skyscrapers.
    [​IMG]
  7. JoePistell

    JoePistell Uncle Joe

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    p.s. Back when I was forced to use cobalt, I used HomeNet to do all the important work.

    HomeNet Inc Give 'em a call, tell them Joe sent ya!
  8. Blake Arbogast

    Blake Arbogast Refresher

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    Joe,
    Hopefully if GM goes bankrupt, cobalt will go with them. Maybe in the future I can co-op my Dealer.com bill.....Hey I can dream!
  9. kevinfrye

    kevinfrye Jr. Refresher

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    We shoot inventory photos in-house at 4 of our stores using Homenet as our tool, and we use Dealer Specialties at our other stores. Without question, we get better quality pics and data doing it in-house, but it ultimately depends on who you have taking the pics and doing the work. For many of our GMs, this is one more thing to worry about, so they use Dealer Specialties, while our others that are more aggressive, or have more available manpower, do it themselves.
  10. DogbertBH

    DogbertBH Getting Refreshed

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    Everyone at our dealership wears multiple hats, but I have managed to keep our photo taking hat off my head.

    We use AutoUplinkUSA for our photos. The guy who takes the pix pays very close attention and takes pride in his result.
  11. idkmybffamir

    idkmybffamir Noob

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    We always take our own photos. Because of our very sunny location, I use Photoshop to balance lighting levels, color, and add a watermark.

    When I wasn't using Photoshop, I was correcting photos with Picasa, and resizing/watermarking them with FastStone Image Viewer. Batch feature = :-)

    I really want to have a consistent, empty and well-lit spot to take pictures of my cars. Some pictures of our cars came out like crap even after color-correcting them. We have no room for a studio on our lot. The neighborhood is overly populated and the residential areas behind us are shaded with trees. Auto Excel - Photo Viewer for an example.. it's not that bad, but I really hate the glare and the 20934823 cars around it. We are soon to switch locations, so im praying there will be a great space for pictures or a studio.
  12. Jeff Kershner

    Jeff Kershner Founder Staff Member

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    I bring photos in house every chance I have. When I was at a smaller dealer group, they were using Dealer Specialties..of course that sucked. I brought the whole process in house using DeskLot | Used Car Window Sticker Printing Software. Print Your Own Used Car Window Stickers. | Home. It was/is a software that you can run from your desktop. I built a statement in the DMS that exported the inventory into a CVS file that uploaded into Desklot. This program would also export out to what ever service you wanted right from your desktop. Don't ask me how I ever did it, but I would export out to our dealerskins website and even AutoTrader.com.

    Bringing the photo process in house has always been a no brainer since most services take no pride in the photos. They are nothing more than a window sticker business.

    I brought the photos in-house at the prior MB dealer I was at from day one using Homenet.

    Photos were already an in-house operation months prior to joining MileOne. If you want quality photos (the single most important aspect for your online merchandising) it just makes sense to bring it on house.
  13. Jason Walter

    Jason Walter Getting Refreshed

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    It is kind of a tragedy and an issue we have fought for a long time. It's kind of ironic because when I first took over our internet department back in 2000 I booted Cobalt just to get stuck with them again! We kept BZ and have just limited the ability of our Cobalt site to interfere with our other site.

    What I think GM should have done is like the CRM, have multiple vendors that are approved. It would have been a win/win for everyone involved!

    As for the picture issue as I posted in another post we use our porter to do so. He is a young guy who is pretty tech savy and teachable. He knocks out all our new and used each day about midday. Doing it in-house is the only way to go!
  14. Alex Snyder

    Alex Snyder Administrator Staff Member

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    Ut oh - another GM dealer who doesn't like CoBalt. :sssh: GM might come a knockin' with an audit :eek2:
  15. MullerToyota

    MullerToyota Refresher

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    Ditto. We use AutoUpLinkUSA for photos and basically handling out entire used car inventory (we don't take pics of new cars). It is very convenient to use their feed to feed all of the sites we use for used cars.

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