Have you ever wished you can get people excellent used cars you've cleaned up and refurbished well so that they can drive them for years to come with a big smile on their face?
Or, imagine this – how about you get in cahoots with BMW and Toyota and become an authorized dealer for their fine new automobiles?
Sounds grand and it is, but in order to pull off these two arrangements, so to speak, you'll need to establish a car dealership first. The thing is, having your own place to sell cars from represents a great prospect, but kick-starting it means you'll have to secure a location, hack through some red tape and bureaucracy, and also get your marketing strategy right.
In this article, we're going to talk about what it takes to start a car dealership. As you will see, establishing a career in car sales is not for those faint of heart, so you'll have to put both your best entrepreneurial and financial foot forward in order to make it.
That said, it's nothing that can't be achieved with some hard work and dedication, so as long as you're willing to put these two in the mix, you can rest assured you'll have plenty of success.
Right then folks, without further ado, here's the deal.
How to Start a Car Dealership
Choose the Location
Even though much of the commerce in any given category nowadays is done on the Internet, establishing a car dealership does mean you're going to have cars on the ground and ready to be sold.
So, the first thing you should take into consideration when starting up a car dealership would certainly be the location of the dealership itself. The larger and more accessible this place is, the more likely you are to get a steady stream of customers walking in your premises to make a purchase.
Another important part of the entire 'location equation' would certainly be the financing. If you can outright buy a venue for yourself, that's a big part of the financial problem already resolved. (Even though the initial cost may be steep.) If you plan to lease, on the other hand, you will need to incorporate the rent payments into your budget plan, so that you can continue paying it every month down the road.
Pick Your Target Market
Are you selling low-end used vehicles that used to be in witness protection, or new cars that have been built only last year?
Is your ideal customer a group of youngsters with about $2,000 each in their pocket, willing to buy your old cars for fun, or do you want to target more wealthy individuals willing to dish out much more for a brand new Porsche 4x4?
Of course, depending on the size of your dealership and on your location, you may even succeed in marrying these two concepts, but this would be considered more of a pro move for a weathered car dealer. (We're not suggesting you can't pull it off, but it may be a bit of a challenge if you're only starting out and you have a limited budget.)
Establishing what sort of audience you're willing to work with is important because any subsequent marketing effort you put forth is going to be shaped toward the sort of buyer you want to invite.
Make a Budget
Starting any sort of budget inevitably means you'll have to concoct a special budget for it that can both support your current needs as well as those that may pop up in the near future.
The thing is, running a business represents a pretty unpredictable prospect, so having money to spend if something unexpected pops up is of utmost importance for tackling a crisis when it starts rearing its ugly head around the corner.
Also, having a set budget will prevent you from overspending, which is a malady that affects many young business owners who want it all and want it now. In fact, any sort of business involving buying and selling takes time to develop, so playing it slow and being patient is certainly a mindset you may want to adopt early on.
Market Your Product
Once you've taken care of all the legal documents, acquired all the necessary licenses and permits, you can start thinking about your marketing strategy. You can start thinking of it before that, of course, but it makes sense to ensure you'll be able to start your business in the first place before committing to a pricey marketing campaign.
That said if you're certain you'll secure all the permits and you already have an arranged location, putting the word out on the street that there's a new business coming may be a great move to attract people even before you have cars on your premises.
Your marketing campaign should, before all, be aimed at your target audience, and the means you can employ to make this happen vary. For example, you can put up billboards, invest in online marketing, get some leaflets circulating around the town, or install a couple of display flag banners.
Flag banners, in particular, represent the staple of car dealerships, so if you like this last marketing idea, you can get some of these at Display Me, and then set them up in front of your property for everyone to see.
Obtain the Dealer's License
In order to start any sort of automobile selling business, you first have to figure out the licenses and other documents in your country.
So, what these licenses do for you is they authorize you to buy and sell vehicles, get your own special dealer plates (so that the folks who want to try the car out can drive it about with these on), as well as allow you to hire salespeople who specialize in car sales.
Not to mention how important it is to have all the papers ready when the inspection folks come a-knocking, which can and will happen.
All in all, as long as you make an effort to get all the necessary papers early on, pick your target audience, and invest in a marketing strategy, chances are – you're going to see success with your business venture sooner or later.