The following four tips can help dealers improve their reconditioning processes:
The first step to the reconditioning process is buying the right cars. Too many dealers are tempted to buy without doing adequate research in an effort to fill their lots. They shouldn’t skip the step of researching a vehicle’s history through services such as CarFax, AutoCheck, VinAudit, and VINCheck. It can sometimes pay to get reports from multiple services, since they can reveal different information.
Once they’ve obtained the information they need to make an informed decision, dealers shouldn’t ignore it in a rush to increase inventory. They should avoid vehicles that require a great deal of reconditioning work, since that represents money that may or may not be recouped when the vehicle is sold. More work also represents a greater outlay of time on the part of the dealership’s staff.
Consider Creating a Dedicated Offsite Center
Some larger auto dealers have had success opening dedicated detailing and reconditioning centers off of their property. They’ve found that doing so increases their efficiency, allowing a used vehicle to be serviced, detailed, and displayed within a day in some cases.
One Maine auto dealer saw his reconditioning time go from five or more days to one to four since he moved his detailing operations off-site. He now knows exactly what the true cost is to recondition each vehicle, so there’s no guesswork involved. In addition, he found that his dealership’s service bays are now freed to handle more work from customers.
Lower Reconditioning Costs
It’s easy to let reconditioning costs get out of hand. As costs pile up, dealers’ chances of making money decreases. That’s why it’s important for dealers to lower costs where they can without compromising the vehicle’s safety.
Using non-OEM parts, for example, can help lower costs on everything from brake pads to wiper blades. And any outside vendors, such as those who recondition upholstery or fix dents, need to be closely scrutinized to ensure that costs don’t run unchecked in the absence of adequate oversight.
Create a Plan for Each Vehicle
Each vehicle should be quickly evaluated to determine its retail prospects. This includes trade-ins, which can be discussed once a day to ensure that they’ll receive the right amount of work. Dealers can streamline the process by establishing a typical cost range for most reconditioning. As long as they stay within this range, they can generally proceed as planned. For vehicles that may cost more, the reconditioning staff should be easily able to get quick approvals or denials so they’ll know how to proceed.
The reconditioning process should be constantly monitored to ensure that it’s working smoothly and responsibility. Adjusting the process as needed is key to holding employees and the dealership as a whole accountable and to improving the bottom line.