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Derrick Woolfson

Derrick Woolfson Business Development Manager

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Turn Time: Top Reasons to Keep it Moving!

It is not uncommon for the sales manager to put the pressure on the service manager to get the vehicle through the shop. Knowing that for every additional day the car is in the shop, less money is to be made on the front-end. Whereas, service will still make their money and then some with the internal mark-ups (which are necessary to build the business as a whole), BUT there are ways in which sales are actually holding up the process. 

Here are the top things to consider when managing the turn time for pre-owned inventory 

Post Photo Online 

Instead of waiting until the vehicle is in the middle of its State Inspection - forcing the advisor to halt the process - to get a photo. Have your inventory manager take a picture of the exterior (ensuring it is clean), and post it online. Making sure to have “call for price” as it could increase depending on the total reconditioning costs. This will save a lot of time. As well as cause less dissension in the service lane as they are pressured to hit their own benchmarks when pushing units through. 

Keep Sales Informed

Just like keeping the customer informed of the status of the vehicle. The sales managers want the same thing. Where if they were to know the status of the inspection they would not have the need to call back every couple of hours (or days) to ask the same questions causing there to be a delay in the unit getting processed. A lot of the software available to the service writer allow them to make notes. This will come in handy in situations where parts have to be ordered. 

Have a Standard Procedure on Recon Costs

Sure, service would love to make as much money as possible on the unit. However, as we know - this can affect the front-end gross. Where is not necessary to replace all parts of the unit especially if they are in working order. And or if the unit is within a certain price range where is not common to spend the additional money. That being said, it is best to work with the GM and sales manager to ensure that certain things that need to be fixed do not need “clearance” from the either the GM or Sales manager. All of which will help with removing the chance for delays. 

Know Where the Units Are! 

This sounds rather simple, but we can all recall the time where we had not a clue as to where that trade-in from the weekend was parked. Wasting more than 30 minutes to locate the unit only to find out that it is blocked in by a few other vehicles. All of this wastes time. Where some units only need 30-45 minutes to pass through the state inspection. Meaning, the time spent on finding the unit could have been another vehicle done and ready to go! 

Bottom Line: 

It is essential to have a plan of action when it comes to handling reconditioning. Making sure that both sales & service are on the same page regarding the process. All of which will offer a streamlined process. 

How do you handle reconditioning within your dealership? What is one thing you have implemented that has had great success? What is one thing that you have learned? 

Patrick Bergemann

Another point to pay attention to with reconditioning and turn-times would be to get the service team on board with turning around trades (and not just by cutting the amount of work that is actually considered "necessary"). What might not be a big deal to a sales manager, might be a major point to a buyer who ends up walking away.

In my opinion, some service teams approach their department with the mentality of "service the paying customers before the trades since those don't affect anyone but the company".

That's a great attitude in servicing the customer, but for the whole dealership, every day that trade sits not frontline ready, front-end margins are being compressed. Dealerships with better culture where the whole company is viewed as a team rather than a bunch of departments breeds an internal mentality of "rising tides raise all ships" which, in-turn, leads to more-efficient service for customers and an overall drive for the good of the entire company.

Derrick Woolfson

@Patrick, great point! And you are absolutely right. The more we can sell the more opportunities they have to service that customers vehicle. It all starts from the top, too where the GM has to work with the managers to develop that culture. 

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