• Stop being a LURKER - join our dealer community and get involved. Sign up and start a conversation.
Get Podium

Small Dealer Needs Advice

Tallcool1

Boss
Mar 17, 2014
362
219
Awards
1
First Name
Clint
Hey @Ron Wynn . Good to see you asking around and trying to navigate your way through your new venture! I am going to dig in here and see if I can't give you a hand.

You are in Atlanta. Georgia has the strongest Independent Auto Dealer's Association in the country. START THERE! I so badly wish Nebraska had an association like what you have at your disposal. We are trying! You are surrounded by strong and successful dealers, and most that I know are willing to help.

You don't have enough inventory. You sold 40 cars last year. You operated on (nearly) a 30 day turn. If you are a beginner that has no experience in retail automotive, and you are on anything under a 60 day turn...you don't have enough inventory. 10 cars in inventory MINIMUM. As someone else said, 4 is a hobby and it looks like a hobby to anyone visiting your website.

Get on Facebook Marketplace. If you aren't getting any traction there then you have the wrong inventory. You need to be selling the stuff that does well on Facebook. Good rule of thumb....CHEAP CARS! Not garbage cars, cheap cars. Anything you can retail under $5,000...maybe $7,000 depending upon your 1 mile radius market. I know, those are the hardest cars to buy! Yes they are, and thank God you only need 10 per month! You can do it.

You sold 40. Where did those sold customers come from? Where did they find you?

You can cut your DMS bill in half by going to Frazer. I know, it's $50/mo savings. It is still money.

Do you really need Carfax? I don't know.

Absolutely do not dig a deeper hole than you have already. Seriously, don't do it. Figure out how to sell 120/year with your current set up before you throw a nickel at a higher rent factor or constructing your own deal. Grow to the point that facility or location is holding you back. That point is not now.

Just a few thoughts. Call the GIADA right away and get signed up. They will point you toward a peer that is close to you and you can go camp out with someone for a few days!
 

Ron Wynn

Boss
Apr 3, 2020
13
8
Awards
1
First Name
Ronald
This is awesome feedback. Seriously, I am so grateful to have this feedback. It is exactly what I need. Sometimes it is just validation of what I already thought and other times it is a smack in the face, lol. Not trying to respond to every point made today but some responses may clear the way for yet more feedback. But honestly, this feels like an abundance of knowledge already and like I said, I am grateful already.

I am a member of GIADA and I agree they are a great resource. I'm sure I am not maximizing their value. I will give that a try to see if I can find a person to have a conversation with.

I am not on Facebook. I have dabbled but its not a default platform. But I see that as an opportunity.

Cheap cars...like TallCool said, the hardest cars to buy (to buy well, at least). Everytime I have a cheap car it is extremely popular. I have however picked up a few dogs doing that and it takes a lot of time to get them sorted out and I've gotten upside down on a few because of repairs. I'm getting better at evaluating cars on the spot (a real art) and maybe better success with those will come with time. I seem to do OK with the +/- $10K cars even if they don't sell as fast as the $5k cars. I was thinking of making that my specialty: 7 to 10 year old luxury brands with about 100k miles on them.

I hear the chorus...don't dig the hole any deeper. Kind of relieved actually to get set straight on that one. I've been agonizing on it. My current storage place is not working out though and I have to find something more suitable, but it can be more of a lateral move (not a deeper hole). I won't go into details but I can only store about 7 cars there. Cash is not my limiting factor, space is.

The majority of my customers found me through CarGurus, then Autotrader (by a factor of about 25% of the CarGurus leads) then Craigslist. I figured most customers are going to one of these platforms to find cars. It never occurred to me that customers might find me without seeing my ad on one of these platforms. Todd my 20 something daughter was trying to get me to set up Google Business page and I just didn't get it. This is something I have struggled to figure out and it also relates to consolidating my reviews. I never thought of CarGurus and Autotrader as competing with my website. I always thought everyone had to leverage those tools in order to get the leads they need. I didn't really think anyone would find me except through them.

Fully agree that I need detailing help. It will be impossible to expand otherwise.

Thanks for the list Digital. That is helpful and I will use it.

Zane - Yes at least in Georgia we can sell cars as long as we maintain social distancing and proper safeguards. I am also having fun but a big part of the fun for me is making a profit. That's where the thrill comes in for me.

Guys seriously. Thanks so much. I find this enormously helpful and encouraging.

Ron
 

Ron Wynn

Boss
Apr 3, 2020
13
8
Awards
1
First Name
Ronald
Two more things I meant to respond to...

Direct Deal - I have set up a couple of financing options. I actually set them up a while back but never got comfortable with the whole RouteOne and how all this works. It is just so foreign to me. I did get on the phone with ROne today to walk me through the process again as a refresher and am determined to get a financing deal done.

TallOne - I get the point about too few cars but I was wondering if you could educate me on the terminology you used. What do you mean by 30 day turn? 60 day turn? I've never heard that before.

Thanks again.
 
Increase Test Drive Appointments!

ChrisR

Boss
Oct 12, 2015
244
233
First Name
Christian
Two more things I meant to respond to...

Direct Deal - I have set up a couple of financing options. I actually set them up a while back but never got comfortable with the whole RouteOne and how all this works. It is just so foreign to me. I did get on the phone with ROne today to walk me through the process again as a refresher and am determined to get a financing deal done.

TallOne - I get the point about too few cars but I was wondering if you could educate me on the terminology you used. What do you mean by 30 day turn? 60 day turn? I've never heard that before.

Thanks again.
the X day turn is when you will only hold a vehicle for X days. After that it gets sold to a wholesaler, auction, leading up to that deadline, drop the price, or when you hit that threshold, have a policy in place that you will write down the car by a set dollar or percentage amount, take it out of that month's gross, and adjust pricing.

It helps to have something like a hard turn in place, to make sure you aren't holding too much capital locked up in inventory that is only devaluing with each passing day.
 
  • 1
Reactions: Alexander Lau

Ron Wynn

Boss
Apr 3, 2020
13
8
Awards
1
First Name
Ronald
the X day turn is when you will only hold a vehicle for X days. After that it gets sold to a wholesaler, auction, leading up to that deadline, drop the price, or when you hit that threshold, have a policy in place that you will write down the car by a set dollar or percentage amount, take it out of that month's gross, and adjust pricing.

It helps to have something like a hard turn in place, to make sure you aren't holding too much capital locked up in inventory that is only devaluing with each passing day.
Makes sense thanks.
 

Retail My Ride

Lot Lizard
Feb 14, 2020
40
21
First Name
Jim
Hi Ron. Your story is very similar to mine (and most solo operator start-ups). The first 2 years will test your fortitude! Years 3+ start to payoff. I was averaging 4/month as solo operator the first 2 years and now I am doing 10 solo (pre-COVID) at $1700 per unit. I have become so efficient solo that I also launched and run RetailMyRide.com website. I am happy to mentor you and share my trials and errors to help shorten your learning curve. One thing I would definitely encourage you to do is take a look at implementing consignment sales into your overall model and I can definitely help you do that relatively easily. Consignment frees up working capital, reduces overhead, reconditioning costs and market risk so you can use your money to rent/own that larger property you need. Average margin on consignments is $1,000 - $1,300. My inventory mix is generally 60/40 consignment/owned. I hope Jeff doesn't slap me for promoting, but check us out at https://www.retailmyride.com/pages/become-a-consignment-pro. We offer free dealer signup and a free listing. If you want to open up a mentor channel, reach out to me. JIM
 

ryan.leslie

One of the good guys
Apr 20, 2009
610
547
First Name
Ryan
Hi,

I think you should follow these site, where you can sell vehicle quickly with low budget
1. eBay Motors
2. AutoReprice
3. Facebook Marketplace
4. CarGurus

I hope it will help you buy and sell vehicles at a discount with(offers). These great sites that may be helpful to you if you haven't seen it.
grover.jpeg
 
  • 1
Reactions: Alex Snyder

Ron Wynn

Boss
Apr 3, 2020
13
8
Awards
1
First Name
Ronald
Hi Ron. Your story is very similar to mine (and most solo operator start-ups). The first 2 years will test your fortitude! Years 3+ start to payoff. I was averaging 4/month as solo operator the first 2 years and now I am doing 10 solo (pre-COVID) at $1700 per unit. I have become so efficient solo that I also launched and run RetailMyRide.com website. I am happy to mentor you and share my trials and errors to help shorten your learning curve. One thing I would definitely encourage you to do is take a look at implementing consignment sales into your overall model and I can definitely help you do that relatively easily. Consignment frees up working capital, reduces overhead, reconditioning costs and market risk so you can use your money to rent/own that larger property you need. Average margin on consignments is $1,000 - $1,300. My inventory mix is generally 60/40 consignment/owned. I hope Jeff doesn't slap me for promoting, but check us out at https://www.retailmyride.com/pages/become-a-consignment-pro. We offer free dealer signup and a free listing. If you want to open up a mentor channel, reach out to me. JIM
Jim I'm going to check out your website. Thanks so much for the feedback and offer to help.
 
  • 1
Reactions: Retail My Ride

Ron Wynn

Boss
Apr 3, 2020
13
8
Awards
1
First Name
Ronald
Just a quick check in for anyone watching...I have been so energized by getting the honest feedback. Doubt can be debilitating when you are trying to grow a small business like this and this forum is an awesome way to get clarity, guidance and affirmation. The abundantly obvious thing I need to do is have more cars to sell, which means I need more room for cars. So I am "full court press" trying to find a more suitable location to rent, that will allow me to have at least 10 - 15 cars offered for sale at any time. That is a bit of a process but I have located a couple of places that would be a big improvement and talking to those landlords now.

I also have been contacted by a DealerRefresh member offering some mentor time and I am hoping we connect by phone today.

Really pleased that I found this forum. Thanks again and I will check in again soon.
 
  • 2
Reactions: Direct Deal and ChrisR