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Bryant Gibby

Bryant Gibby Used car manager

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Detailer's responsibility

     We have been going back and forth lately on what a detailers responsibility should be. I am the used car manager at a franchise Ford store and used cars are very critical to our success. We have had tons of issues with keeping our display at a level where we have enough cars to sell. The main reason for the lack of displayed vehicles is the delay with our detailer in getting cars out.

 

     We just recently hired a part time detailer to help out and we have definitely made an improvement. Even still, I feel like we aren't near as efficient as we could and should be. The reason I think we aren't very efficient is because we require our detailers to do a lot of things other than just detail the car. The GM of the store says that it is their responsibility to deliver a completely finished, perfect product. So, aside from the detail they have to: Buff the car when applicable, put on etch sticker, put on dealer logo and plate frame, gas the car, bookout the car, print carfax, print buyers guide and kelly retail sticker, sticker and park the car on the lot. All that probably takes a good 20-30 minutes to complete.

 

     I think we should have our lot techs take care of all the extracurricular stuff to free up time for our detailers in order for them to be 100% efficient. They have plenty of time to take care of those items so I don't think there is any reason why they can't help us out with that. The only negative with my plan is that it may be difficult to track down a lot tech to finish up the process. My rebuttal to that objection is that we can easily institute a process to where the lot techs are continuously checking to see which car needs to be finished up. That way the detailer doesn't waste any time looking for the lot tech.

 

     Anyway, I feel like our system is somewhat broke. We are getting into the busier months and I feel like the more dialed in this process is, the more successful we will be. Used is everything right now and we need to make sure we are on our A game. Any suggestions? Do most dealerships require as much as we do out of their detailers?

Steve Devereaux
Our detailers are responsible for everything yours are except they never touch a computer. The Carfax, window stickers and buyers guides are printed by the Used Car Coordinator at our store. It really depends on what works for you. Doing a complete detail job on a dirty car takes hours and if your moving cars quick then the detail department should be loaded with work. We try to get our cars on the lot within the first 3 days. If your detail department isn't getting them done, then here's a few suggestions. 1. Find efficient workers and fire the inefficient workers that are not getting the cars detailed or anyone that's slowing down your detail department for whatever reason. 2. Hire another detailer 3. Change your pay plan. Some dealerships pay their detailers by how many cars they detail instead of hourly. Our detailers are responsible for a lot of little things other than just detailing cars, but our dealership isn't huge. The key is finding the right people. Everyone thinks you can just hire anyone off the street to be a detailer. It can take a long time to find a good detailer. Have an ongoing application process, so that when you do need to hire someone you don't have to hire someone just because you desperately need to fill the position.
Tom White Jr.
How many cars are you stocking and selling? A competent Detailer can crank out 2 cars per day on average (based on the job description you have stated). Some days it might be 4 and others 1. You need to staff enough detailers to handle your selling volume.
Tom White Jr.
Follow-up question - what's the detailer's payplan? Do you pay hourly or on a flag hour? Flag hour will get you more cars daily but quality can suffer. Hourly gets you the quality but volume can suffer. Who is managing the Detail Department? If it's your Service Manager and NOT your Used Car Director you will have challenges based on my experience.
Bryant Gibby
@ Steve. Are you saying that our detailers would be more productive if I pay them hourly? It seems to me that would open the door for laziness.
Bryant Gibby
@ Tom. Here's the answers to your questions. We stock around 120 cars, have around 90 displayed and sell 70-80 cars. We pay him per flag hour. Our service department manages our detailer not me (used car manager). He can get out 3 cars per day on average. 2 is a bad day, but he probably averages 3.

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