Careers at a Car Dealership

A car dealership provides new and used vehicles, financing, insurance, and maintenance. It also sells replacement parts and accessories.

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Buying a car can be complicated. It takes time for a dealership to run your credit, approve you for loans, appraise your trade-in, and agree on prices. This process can take up to four hours.

Sales

A car dealership’s sales department links car manufacturers and consumers. It consists of front-line employees and managers that work to sell vehicles and related products and services. Car dealerships offer used cars and new ones; some also have finance departments to help customers buy vehicles. In addition, they sell parts and provide auto-related services like repairs, refinishing and painting. They also rent out vehicles for short-term use.

The front-line employees of a Car dealership are the salespeople, who greet customers and give them test drives. The salespeople receive extensive training in how to assess the needs and vulnerabilities of potential buyers. They often use scripted questions, and are trained to answer even the most difficult customer requests. They may be paid commission or a salary plus bonuses.

After a customer decides to purchase a vehicle, the salesperson hands them off to a finance manager, who is responsible for selling additional services and completing financing paperwork. He or she may recommend that the customer purchase interior stain protection, anti-theft devices, rustproofing and an extended warranty. Streamlining the process of buying a vehicle isn’t just good for the dealership, it is also good for the customer.

If a dealer owns multiple dealerships, he or she may appoint a general manager to oversee day-to-day operations at each store. The GM may be paid a salary or receive a percentage of sales.

Service

A car dealership is a busy place. A lot of people are working at once, moving cars from drop-off through repair and back onto the road. Depending on the amount of work done, several different employees may have touched your vehicle during its stay at the dealer: technicians, service advisors and even lot porters. This can make it hard for you to tell who is responsible for what on your bill.

One of the top frustrations consumers have with dealerships is time spent in the service department. Studies show that a consumer is less likely to return for service at a dealership when their wait exceeds 2.5 hours. It’s important to train your staff on the best ways to minimize customer wait times and provide fast and accurate repairs.

Dealerships have the benefit of specialized training that ensures maintenance is carried out to the manufacturer’s specifications. This can help your car last longer and maintain its value. In addition, your dealership can often offer capped-price servicing plans that give you transparent pricing for maintenance and repairs.

Another way to improve the quality of your service department is to use technology to maximize efficiency. Today’s social media and digital advertising platforms have powerful geographic capabilities that can help you target your service drive marketing to a specific audience of consumers. This will save you money and prevent wasted marketing dollars on consumers outside your local area.

Finance

Car dealerships often offer financing as a way to complete the entire sale under one roof. They may also sell add-on products, such as extended warranties and GAP insurance. They are entitled to make a profit, but they should not exploit their customers.

The finance department negotiates the loan terms and works with lenders to approve loans for buyers. If you are considering dealer financing, be sure to ask about fees and charges. They can include the annual percentage rate, or APR, and the length of the loan, or term. Some dealers have special programs for low-rate financing or incentives for specific models.

You can avoid dealer financing by applying for an auto loan at a bank or credit union. This way, you can shop around for different interest rates and loan terms. You can also work with a lender that accepts applications from borrowers with bad credit, which may help you get approved even if you have a poor credit score.

Some dealers prey on people who have bad credit. They may take a high interest rate and long terms, or charge fees for things you might be able to avoid with a private loan. They may also install devices on your vehicle that disable it or track where you are to prevent you from hiding the car if you miss payments.

Parts

A career in the parts department at a car dealership is an excellent way to learn about all the components that make up a vehicle and how they work together. Parts department employees use customer service skills to interact with customers and clients, and also need strong analytical thinking to solve problems quickly.

Unlike other departments within the dealership, the parts department has open access to dealer funds and is often given an “open checkbook” when it comes to purchasing inventory. This can lead to a lot of slow-moving parts sitting on the shelf. The best way to control parts inventory is by having a process in place to review the numbers on a monthly basis. Parts managers should have key indicators on their daily parts dashboard that they can review alongside new-vehicle and used-car sales.

One of the best ways to increase parts department sales is by offering Quick Lube services. This can help your dealership upsell customers on items like air filters, wiper blades and batteries. Additionally, it’s important to focus on utilizing technology in the parts department. This can include e-commerce solutions that allow you to sell your auto parts online to new markets. This can increase your inventory turns while reducing your inventory obsolescence, which will reduce your costs in the long run.