Depending on whom you talk to, you’ll get varied answers on how long it takes a dealership to recondition a vehicle. When it comes to timing progress, bigger and better-performing dealerships may boast having turnarounds that take no longer than a day or two. For smaller dealerships that outsource the work, it could take upwards of a week or longer.
Summer is an interesting time for auto reconditioning. May through September are prime hailstorm months, so having a strong process and team in place to streamline recon work is the only way you can succeed. The quicker you can get vehicles front line ready, the better for your bottom line. Time spent in reconditioning determines your profit potential — cycle-time really is money. Below are some tips to help you improve your reconditioning process this summer:
1. Review and Determine Strategies for Vehicles at Acquisition
The biggest tip here is to not be hasty when choosing cars for your inventory. When you find gaps in your used car inventory, don’t rush to find as many cars as you can — be as choosy as possible. If you don’t maintain discipline during the acquisition stage of a vehicle, you might look past the Carfax and condition reports and end up bringing back vehicles that require extensive amounts of reconditioning.
As for repair and sales strategies for the vehicles, roundup your team of appraisers at least once a day for trade-in and acquisition reviews. This will help you make the retail vs wholesale decision. If a vehicle lacks market appeal, the wholesale vs retail decision is based purely on margin. Dealerships control trade-ins from end-to-end, allowing them to protect margins on both sides of the transaction.
2. Speed and Quality Are Your First Objective
As a dealership, we’re sure you face a mini battle with your managers and service directors who can often prioritize customer pay/insurance work over reconditioning. When this happens, if feasible for your business, it may be wise to delegate the reconditioning work to a separate team of managers and technicians. This will enable them to focus completely on efficient reconditioning work while allowing customer work to be completed. Speed and efficiency are the backbone of the decision-making process mentioned above. If one part of the recon process does not match your goals, you know where you need to make adjustments.
Get your employees excited about and excelling at their respective tasks. Show them through reports how their work affects the outcomes of the day and the repair process. By sharing with them what the holding costs lost each day due to inefficient process, they can begin to take pride in their work and see the bigger picture.
3. Get Immediate Approval for Service Requests
Whether you’re a large dealership or work independently, delays in the approval for reconditioning work can set you back hundreds of dollars a day. Sometimes it’s the business process of using paper, email or text message approvals that can be missed or forgotten that hold things up. A good practice here would be to set up a baseline price for recon and approve servicing as estimates come in below that threshold. All incoming cars should require a manager’s stamp of approval if estimates come in above the set baseline price. There are better options such as reconditioning management software or employing dedicated staff to expedite getting information to the technicians.
Staying focused on your margins, and mindful of recon expenses and timing, will keep you at maximum profitability through the summer months and beyond.