The 35-Point Checklist You Need for Reopening Your Dealership

The 35-Point Checklist for Reopening Your Dealership

Create your own action plan using these suggestions now, so that you will be ready to take quick action when the time comes.

 As dealers prepare for the day that they can reopen their showroom doors post COVID-19 shutdowns, many may feel uncertain about where to begin. As a follow-up to our 36-Point Checklist If Your Dealership is Mandated to Close, we have compiled a comprehensive checklist to run through if you receive approval to open your showroom back up for business. We encourage you to create your own action plan using these suggestions now, so that you will be ready to take quick action when the time comes. 

 Inventory Management 

  • Conduct a physical inventory of every vehicle
    • New, used, loaners, trade-ins, lease returns and customers’ cars with open repair orders 
  • Ensure all dead batteries are charged, vehicles are clean and ready to drive off the lot 
  • Pull your new, used and wholesale vehicle inventory against current Manheim Market Report (MMR) and used car values
    • Consider what to keep and what to get rid of, and adjust pricing accordingly 
  • Analyze current inventory vs. incoming inventory to determine how supply/demand is going to impact marketing pricing
    • Reach out to dealerships trying to get rid of inventory to increase your supply for pent up demand 
    • Ensure all dealer tags are accounted for 

Sales Team 

  • Conduct sales meetings to sure up your team and help set expectations
    • Communicate any immediate operational changes 
    • Be sure to answer any questions your team may have to set them at ease 
  • Ensure your team is ready to tackle any challenges (and opportunities) ahead 
    • Ensure salespeople understand the need for a more empathetic approach when communicating with customers 
    • Consider additional phone and sales training
  • If paused, re-launch any data/equity mining technology software and marketing 
  • Review deals sold prior to the shutdown and update the website with any new incentives that became available 
  • Schedule deliveries for vehicles sold during shutdown 
  • Ensure all DMV paperwork has been sent out for cars delivered prior to shutdown
    • What deals need registration data confirmed by the state? 
    • Who is driving on unregistered temporary tags? 
  • Conduct a Contracts in Transit (CIT) review and determine what contracts have been paid to the dealer and which are still outstanding
    • Collect any outstanding stipulations for unfunded deals 
    • Determine if there are deals where paperwork needs to be re-signed 
  • Follow up on any outstanding payoffs on trade-ins 
  • Follow up on DealerTrack, RouteOne, or captive unapproved deals, holds and/or comments 
  • Conduct follow up calls to any sold customers who took delivery before closing 

Prepare for a Successful Re-Opening 

  • Plan a “Re-opening Sales Event” and create an email blast to your customer base 
  • Communicate re-opening on all external channels
    • Create clear messaging about the new ways of doing business and how it impacts customer experience 
    • Ensure website, social media, and all third-party sites have your updated hours 
  • Consider balloons or other eye-catching decor outside to draw attention to your re-opening 

Sales Department Relaunch 

  • Focus on reigniting your sales team and aligning your strategy
    • Create a sales bonus/contest for units sold to get the team motivated and re-engaged 
    • Drive a culture of appointment setting, consider setting spiffs on appointments that show 
  • Review and consider modifying your current sales quotas, goals and pay plans 
  • Review all leads that came through in last 60 days
    • Send them a personalized email that store is open 
  • Review what leases were scheduled to mature during the closure 
  • Ensure alignment on socially distant customer interactions
    • Staff wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, not shaking hands, etc. 

Setting Up the Service Department 

  • Ensure you’re prepared to accommodate service customers in the new dealership experience
    • Offer VIP treatment with services such as vehicle pick-up and drop-off 
    • Take stock of your telecommunication and technology needs 
  • Have your BDC begin service dials prior to opening
    • Ensure as many service appointments are scheduled/confirmed 
    • Consider offering service specials to drive traffic and promote re-opening 
  • Institute video calls with service advisors for initial diagnostics and evaluations to boost consumer confidence 
  • Expand precautionary measures, such as vehicle disinfection before re-delivery and utilizing disposable seat, floor mat and steering wheel covers 
  • Review any open or unaccounted for transactions & receivables
    • Review parts receivables and consider putting some accounts on COD 
    • Review warranty receivables 
    • Audit and review age of open repair orders 
    • Consider lost opportunities such as overdue open recalls – Consult with OEM, CARFAX, etc. 
  • Ensure all service loaner cars are accounted for, washed and fueled

Human Resources Considerations 

  • Create a plan to bring back furloughed staff
    • Ensure when you reopen that you’ve got enough staff to run each department 
    • Consider running staggered shifts to account for demand 
    • If necessary, alert HR vendors for staff’s return 
  • Communicate and ensure the sales staff fully understands draw/draw payback scenarios 
  • Ensure your HR team is fully up to speed on the changes to state/national employment laws 

Facility Management Considerations 

  • Communicate reopening plan and date to all in-store and third party vendors 
  • Start having virtual meetings the week before with each department
    • Assign a list of high priorities to each department to start on Day 1 of reopening 
  • Ensure you have adequate supplies to serve the volume of impending business
    • Take stock of cleaning supplies, personal protective equipment and protective materials such as steering wheel covers 
  • Prepare for the return of physical sales inside the dealership
    • Ensure all bathrooms have been cleaned and are adequately stocked 
    • Consider offering free gloves & masks upon entrance 
    • Place hand sanitizing stations throughout the dealership 
    • Replace all refreshments with individually packaged/sealed snacks 

While dealerships reopening their showroom doors is a positive sign, the market is and will remain financially vulnerable for some time. The ability to identify customers with the highest likelihood to purchase a new or pre-owned vehicle with the message of either potentially lowering their payments or saving them from penalties or fees will be well-received. Now, more than ever, it is important that dealerships have the right tools to re-engage their teams quickly and sell cars more efficiently. 

Market EyeQ is the only platform dealers need to re-accelerate their sales and combat the challenges that come with reopening a dealership. Its easy to learn and use platform coupled with its proven ability to increase dealership prospecting efficiencies is a game changer for dealerships amid this pandemic and beyond. 


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