First step into selling cars
I knew I could expand the number of cars being sold by my Father and turn it into an actual business.
I saw my Father sell a couple of cars and he was laughing. He couldn’t help but brag about how easy it was to get a couple of sales in. All of a sudden my competitive mindset got sparked, I had to beat him. I saw he was selling cars even though his adverts sucked and he didn’t really need the money. So he wasn’t trying because he had no need.
I knew with my online advertising experience and my desire I could expand the number of cars being sold and turn it into an actual business, not one that was something he was messing around doing.
It was simple. I followed how he went about each sale. The input he had. The adverts he made. The money he was paying out. Then I looked at what the competitors were doing. And came up with a way to sell the cars in an easier fashion.
My Father also had a workshop at the back of the house. With the best tools money can buy. All American Stainless Steel. Fully kitted out with snap-on. Welders. Everything you can think of. I thought that we could incorporate this into making the car sell quicker.
So I decided we should do the following:
a) Market that we serviced the cars before selling
b) Market that we provided guarantees or warranties
c) Valet every car
d) Offer repair / servicing to customers
My Father had already been regularly servicing and repairing vehicles for people he knew. As he’d been doing it for 20 years at the family home. But he was rubbish with paperwork and was not professional. He didn’t keep track of anything either.
I set out to bring in new repair / servicing customers. And to add a touch of trust to everything and to increase the profits of each sale.
One major challenge was when purchasing cars, inevitably the best cars you want would not be road legal to drive back. Or they would be knackered and need towing. It would mean that we would both need to go to the seller’s premises, bring a rope and tow the car back. Driving slowly and carefully.
Or we would attach the car to the back of a towing dolly. But this towing dolly would not be suitable for some vehicles, as it was too high. You’d also need to manually jack the car up. Which took way too long. You’d have to spend ages outside someone’s place looking like a fool. Messing around with their car.
My Father also saw that sometimes the parts he was getting would be quite expensive. Or the prices would vary. He’d have to ring up every single time he wanted to order parts, wait in a queue and then pay upon delivery. He’d also see that sometimes the parts they would send wouldn’t be the correct items. They would not match. So they’d have to be returned and replacements sent out. Thus wasting time.
If you had a customer you’d have to make up some excuses so they aren’t left waiting. Or you would have to lend them a vehicle, so they can use it. So they can get to work and back.
Also a lot of room was taken up storing the towing dolly. It was a joke. It was also really annoying having to get it out every time we wanted to use it. Especially in the cold, or the slippery mud. It was also really heavy to pick up and wheel around.
It would also take too long to purchase a vehicle. Also there was not a large enough supply of great vehicles to buy, where you felt excited at the price you were paying. Purchasing cars was a real problem. Probably the hardest problem to solve to turn this into a great business.
I set out to solve all these challenges.
– I made sure all the paperwork was correct and up to date using a computer.
– I created a servicing checklist that was worked through when every car was serviced.
– I created a vehicle health check list so that whenever a repair job was carried out, customers were made aware of any issues that might exist. This was using a traffic light colour coding system. Red, Amber Green. If they saw red or amber. Usually they would just let us carry out the work, making us more money.
– I bought a smartphone and implemented the same sales techniques on the cars, as I did with the software and diagnostics. From good photos to better descriptions. I listed all the vehicles on every car sales platform you can think of.
– I did a deal with a parts supplier, I put the 2 biggest suppliers against each other in order to get the best contract possible, making them bow down to us more than they would have otherwise. I contacted the CEO of both Euro Car Parts and the CEO of the Parts Alliance directly to strike up a deal. Either just calling them up, or asking for their email. Whichever way I could to get their attention. They gave the go ahead and funnelled me down to those in power. My demands were heard and a deal was made quickly.
– We effectively had 2 companies we could get parts from at a price that would match those who buy in extremely large orders. With the likes of Kwik Fit etc. The delivery speeds were also extremely quick. In reality we would go to the cheapest one out of the two.
– Sometimes both companies would charge too much for specific items like an ECU or a sensor. Or a turbo. The easy answer was to buy them from individual sellers online. And still haggle them down even more. It just meant we would have to wait a few days for delivery. Unless we went and collected the goods. But we would always let the customer know the situation. If the customer was desperate, we might pay a little more for the item, find a more expensive item closer, pay out more money to collect it. Or just charge the customer more money. But the best solution was to explain they would need to wait. To maximise profits if they were happy with that. And explain the price from major suppliers would be outrageous. It would then be the customers choice, to pay or to wait.
– The deal with the parts suppliers, meant we could order from them using their electronic systems. So you could search for parts via a REG number, or Chassis number and you would know the part you are getting would be the exact part for the car in question. It was easy. We simply pressed a button and the parts would arrive at our door.
– I made an electronic invoicing system too. And integrated the vehicle maintenance software from my other ventures. So customers would know exactly what work was carried out on their vehicle. When their next service was due. They could see everything easily.
– I created a simple little website to showcase the cars on and to advertise the repairs and servicing facilities.
– I advertised the servicing / repairs using Google Adwords and optimised the website to maximise sales. I also did a bit of SEO and created content to push the sales.
– On every car advert I suggested we should change it into a real business. So I added 12 months free warranty with every car. I also said each car was fully serviced before someone bought it. I also advertised that each car would be fully valeted before it was sold.
– I cut a deal with a warranty company to provide us with marketing materials and a warranty so I could include it with every car sale. This meant if anything went wrong with the vehicle, the warranty company would pay out. The warranty company would send the vehicle to one of their trusted garages. And then pay a certain amount depending on the package bought by the customer. I made it so that we were actually a part of their trusted garage list, so we would be paid by the warranty company to fix any problems with the vehicles. And we were getting money from the sale of the cars.
– I also did a deal with HPI. To provide free HPI Checks with every car and to provide a 7 day driveaway insurance for free. This meant the customers could see the car was fine before buying. And when they did purchase it, they didn’t need insurance. They could use our insurance with our partner for 7 days, giving them the time to find their own insurance.
– I decided we needed a recovery truck and to get rid of the towing dolly. So we sold the towing dolly and set out to get a spec lift truck. This would make it possible to transport any vehicle quickly. The machine would do all of the work. It would also mean we could collect vehicles that needed repairing without having to tow them.
– Car sales improved drastically. In the first week. The very first time I tried to sell any cars. Nearly all the cars sold. I did about £8000 in the first week.
– I had customers over the moon, begging to buy the cars from me because they were scared other people would get them first. The customers were even offering to pay more money than I was asking because they liked me so much and trusted me.
– Purchasing car parts was no longer a problem. We knew the market price of every part, the best / cheapest / quickest places to buy every single item.
– I even did a deal to find used car parts from around the country. There is a car breaker network who lists all of the top scrapyards. You do a search and they send you offers. I found the best places and then said if I only use you, will you give us better prices, we’re not going to pay joe public prices, no way in hell. Some accepted. Others we told them where to do. This meant we had another place to get super cheap used parts from. Another option if the marketplaces were a waste of time. You could usually get a used part for next to nothing. Say a £100 new part could be acquired for £10.
– Sometimes we would find a whole car to buy for like £50. Just to remove the needed parts from it to then put on the car that was for sale. This would be a cheap option to fix a sale car.
– The other parts would also be removed and sold. The car would then be scrapped, making sure at the worst care the purchase money would be made back.
– Organising everything became a breeze thanks to the digital systems I put in place.
– We made thousands from the work that would come in from the warranty company.
– The website made it easy for people to see what I was about. They bought into me and my vision. They built trust. They could see everything about the car before they even had to talk to me. Getting rid of any time wasters or tyre kickers.
– The servicing and repair adverts bought in a lot more customers. I was now getting customers that would be £1000 for a single repair. People who would put everything on a credit card because they didn’t trust other garages. What’s more they trusted the fact I offered a collection and delivery service for free. But this still ate into valuable time.
– Collecting vehicles was still a problem. We needed a recovery truck.
I had maximised the amount of cars we could sell from the premises we were operating out of. From the back of the home. The garden was filled to the brim with vehicles. About 8-10. To get a car out you’d need to move others first. This all took time. The time was being wasted. So we really needed to move, or find a way to get the cars dealt with quicker.
The ideas I had implemented to get people to buy from me were working though. I knew I could attract people online and then convert them into buyers without even needing to “sell” to them. If the car was good then they would be buying it.
I also saw potential that I could offer to deliver the vehicles to people’s houses. As no one was really doing this.
I also saw potential to break up vehicles and sell the parts.
But all of this required more space and organisation.
The recovery truck was a priority to buy. We eventually found one for the right price. This would also open up more opportunities.
I was also looking at how many cars other dealers and the best car sales places in the UK were doing. I knew my marketing was much better than theirs but the volume wasn’t there. But there wasn’t anything I could do about it at this point.