Keeping your used car business in operation means taking every step to ensure that you’re an honest dealer. It is especially important for used car businesses to maintain a good, trustworthy image since there’s a good chance that you may have nearby competitors in your local used car market. Going above and beyond customers’ expectations to offer superior service and automobile repairs helps this image and your overall business success.
Acquire more vehicle inventory at used-car auctions. Bring a knowledgeable car expert to the auction to help distinguish between lemons and reliable used cars worth selling. Make a rough estimate concerning the amount of labor needed to repair and fix cars at the auction that may not be in good running order. Use this estimate, along with the make, model, and year of each of the auction cars, to determine if you can make a decent profit after selling them. Don’t bid more than you think the automobile is worth or if it requires too many repairs to make it worth your while. Pay for the used cars you “won” at the auction and obtain the important paperwork, such as the automobile’s title.
Inspect, repair, and clean the vehicles on your used-car lot to get them ready to be sold. Hire a licensed mechanic to repair faulty automobile parts and make repairs as needed to vehicles. Instruct your mechanic to document all repairs made. Hire a professional auto detailer to clean both the interior and exterior of the used vehicles to make them presentable to customers.
Maintain a neat appearance throughout your outdoor car lot and inside showroom. Sweep the outside lot to get rid of debris, sticks, rocks, and pebbles. Wash outside business signs and power-wash the exterior of your office buildings. Clean inside offices and organize desks. Sweep and mop the inside of your automobile showroom on a regular basis. Park each of your used cars on the lot using equal spaces between each automobile to give an orderly appearance. Make sure spaces between automobiles are large enough to accommodate fully opened car doors.
Offer warranties on all of your used cars, especially those which you have serviced and repaired. Many people get wary of used car dealers selling vehicles strictly “as is,” but offering a 60- or 90-day warranty may convince some customers to buy.
Greet the potential customers who come to your used car dealership. Hire assistants and salespeople, if necessary, to help talk with customers and answer the telephones. Train your salesperson to assist customers and ask questions about what the customer needs.
Calculate a “bottom dollar” for each of your used vehicles. This dollar figure represents the minimum amount of money you can sell your cars for without forfeiting profit. Figure this amount by adding a 5 to 10 percent markup to the vehicle’s total dealer cost. Carry this minimum dollar total with you when negotiating selling prices with customers. Assign a trade-in dollar value to automobiles that customers are trading in for a new used car. Look up these values in the Kelley Blue Book (KBB) or National Automotive Dealer Association (NADA) guides.
Make customer service one of your top priorities in your used-car business. Help customers by offering a free vehicle identification number (VIN) report or background check on your vehicles from CARFAX.com or AutoCheck.com. Follow up with your customers either by direct mail or with a telephone call to thank them for buying from you.