At this point in the financial life of the North American auto industry as well as the business of most automobile dealers in North America – the US & Canada business is tough.
Automobile dealerships, their owners and managers are under constant and unrelenting pressure and pressures to limit and cut costs. One area continually looked at for job and wage cuts are the “business office”. With advanced computerized systems, interactions with head office systems and programs and general advances in business systems and computerization cuts for administration would seem to be a wise means of reducing dealership cost structures and thus increase the bottom line. Yet in line with today’s business climate staffing the business office well and with the “right people” makes more sense in 2011 than ever.
In many larger or medium sized automotive dealers now the business office itself is one of four integral key departments. The business office is one. The other three areas are the vehicle sales department and its sales managers; the parts department is the second. True not all dealers have separate parts depts. especially some smaller ones. The last of the separately designated areas is the car or truck service department with its service techs, highly trained automotive mechanics as well as support service tech assistants.
A well run and staffed business office will save dealers money and costs as opposed to simply being a wage and cost sink hole of pencil pushers and bean counters. A competent well chosen business manager or administrator themselves plays a key, often under-appreciated role in each and every automobile sales transaction that the dealer or group of dealerships transacts. It must be appreciated that each group of employees have certain positive as well as negative attributes. Sales staff are great at selling vehicles – yet they are often “car guys” who see their role as “doing the deal” and their sense of attention to detail and thoroughness when it comes time to paperwork is often to say the least not 100 % and lacking. The dealership business manager plays a key role in each and every sales transaction. They oversee all the financial and legal aspects of the sale process and processes. They negotiate and explain purchasing options, yet again to customers and potential customers. They may even “save” deals for you that might otherwise be lost at some point in the sales process and processes.
They should ensure that consumer protection legalities are completed properly. Woe to the dealership that makes errors and mistakes on consumer protection or advertising rules and legislation. The time spent dealing with these errors and issues in terms of both time spent, costs involved legal and otherwise as well as opportunity costs of management and sales staff diverted to take care of these emergency fires and situations is not piddling. A good business office administration should nip these problems in the bud before they even have a chance to occur and see light of day.
On that of that one of the additional responsibilities and roles of the business dept is to protect the dealer both in regards to accepting trades be financially and legally and in addition prepare the vehicle with proper, accurate and vehicle specific licensing and plates as well as auto insurance and that a thorough pre-delivery inspection (P.D.I.) of said vehicle/vehicles has been properly and thoroughly completed and detailed.
Hence in summary a good and competent business office and administrator is not a cost to be evaluated and reduced in any good dealership or record. A well run business office will make and save you money and not the other way around. For the good financial health of any auto dealership management and ownership should make their business office and its administrative staff a top priority for development and assure excellence rather than a cost center that the organization should reduce and downsize.