Colby Harlow from Preowned Auto Logistics sits down with John Maher to talk about car shipping services for dealerships. He explains the process and looks at the benefits dealerships gain when they work with a professional car shipping company.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher and I’m here today with Colby Harlow, Account Manager at Preowned Auto Logistics. A car shipping, and auto transport and logistics company in Massachusetts. Today our topic is customer deliveries for dealerships. Welcome, Colby.
Colby Harlow: Hey, thank you, John, for having me on. I appreciate you welcoming me here.
Dealership Inventory Shortage Increases Shipping Demand
John: Sure. So Colby, today we’re talking a little bit about dealerships. And one of the things that I wanted to ask about is… there’s been this inventory shortage recently. And a lot more dealerships end up selling their cars, maybe long distance and they’re not used to that. Can you talk a little bit about this sort of inventory shortage?
Colby: Yeah, of course. As everyone knows, this pandemic has been tough on everyone. And a little known side effect has been the chip shortage, which has led to production of new cars being halted all over the world. All these car dealerships in the US, they’re having a lot of trouble getting inventory, which means what they have on their lot is a lot more limited. And so people who are looking for a specific model or color interior are having trouble finding that at their local dealerships.
So with technology, these days, people can find what they’re looking for across the country with a click of a button. And that has led to dealerships sending cars all over the country now, which is relatively new to the business and something they aren’t too familiar with. So there’s a greater need for shipping right now to customers than there’s ever been before.
Dealerships Need to Serve Customers in Other Areas
John: Right, because dealerships are really focused on trying to move as many cars as they can. It’s not so much that they need to increase the price of the car and get a little bit more profit off of an individual car. That they want to sell more and more cars in a month, the more that they can sell the better. So if they don’t have that inventory on their own lot then they have to start looking at other branches of their dealership, or even other dealerships where they can get those cars from. Is that right?
Colby: Yeah, exactly. Their whole goal is to turn over a certain amount of cars a month. And whether that’s selling, again, to someone who walks in and they can find the car right there, or if that’s selling a car, someone five states away, that is an internet lead. It doesn’t matter to them. It’s all about hitting their goals. They all have a certain amount of cars they’re supposed to push out a month.
And again, now this has been a huge help in them hitting those numbers, but it’s just something that is a little bit newer to them. And even new to the consumer. A lot of the time, the person purchasing a vehicle online has never done that before. So it’s kind of a new experience for everyone involved, and again, this is somewhere where we try to come and be a resource for everyone.
Setting Up Deliveries From Dealerships to Customers
John: So do you ever actually get called on by the dealership to contact one of their customers, one of the consumers and talk to them about their car shipment, maybe give them a little bit more information about what they can expect, that kind of thing?
Colby: Yeah, almost every time I ship a car directly to a customer, I ask the dealership to allow me to contact the customer directly as we’re going through the process of setting it up. It’s just something that I’ve found has been very useful for, again, everyone involved. Because when someone’s new to shipping, purchasing a vehicle, not having seen it and having it transported, usually they’re pretty sketched out by the process. And that leads to them bothering the dealership, asking them for updates constantly.
I find when I step in and call them right away, explain to them the process of shipping a vehicle, and give them my direct contact information — Anytime they need anything I make sure to get a response to them. It seems to be very helpful in easing their mind and freeing up time for the dealership. Because that way instead of fielding calls, all they can go find the next internet lead or they can sell to the person who just walked in their door.
Helping Dealerships With Shipping Logistics
John: Yeah, so you’re able to really free up the dealership in terms of all those questions that a customer might have for the dealer about, “where’s my car and how long is it going to take to get here?” And that kind of thing. And they might have some undue expectations that they’re going to be able to get a car at a specific date and a time. And it doesn’t always work that way in your industry, where you’re able to give them that information way ahead of time, right?
Colby: Yeah. So again, what I try to do is let my dealerships do what they do best and sell cars, and I do what I do best and educate the consumer on what the logistics of transporting a car is. And sometimes when the dealership is trying to sell a car they set maybe a little bit unrealistic expectations on how fast the processes of transporting a vehicle, and maybe make it sound like, “hey, you buy this car today, it’s going to get picked up tomorrow.”
So that’s why I find when I can step in early on in the process and speak to the consumer, and really set the expectation for how this process truly works, it makes everyone’s life easier because they understand, “there isn’t a truck waiting right around the corner to pick up my vehicle the second I decide to buy it.” And that there is a process to it.
And once that process is learned by them, they’re much more comfortable, that frees up time. Instead of the dealership answering 10 calls from this consumer asking, “where’s my car? Where’s my car? When is it getting picked up?” They have an understanding of, okay, there’s a little bit of time. And if they have any questions they’re always welcome to contact me.
How Car Shipping Companies Benefit Dealerships
John: So you mentioned before that this is kind of new for everybody, both for consumers and for dealerships that are dealing with this type of inventory shortage. Which is then causing the dealerships to be doing more and more of these out of state sales that maybe they really weren’t doing before, they were really only dealing with people in their local area.
What is it that you guys bring to the table in terms of the resources that you have, and the experience that you have that maybe the dealership isn’t used to having to deal with because of this new way that things are happening?
Colby: Yeah. I think… because here we handle a lot of what we call B2C deals, where we occasionally would help out dealerships all across the country do this on the more rare occasions that they did. But what we’re finding is now the dealerships that used to do two of these a month are doing 10, 15, 20.
And so that experience of having dealt with this in the past, that’s when we’re able to, again, step in, educate the consumer. And we have these lanes already built that we can move these cars the safest, the fastest, and for the most competitive price around. That’s where we really thrive. And I honestly think that’s the most resourceful aspect of what we are to a dealership, where we can step in and truly free up a lot of time on their end and educate their consumers.
Saving Time and Money for Car Dealerships
John: Right. And like you said before, letting the dealership do what they do best, which is selling cars and not having to be on the phone trying to arrange car shipping for, like you said, more and more cars every month.
Colby: Exactly. If you put me in a car dealership I wouldn’t know how to sell a car or what to do there. When you let me step in and sell the logistics end for you, you get to really, again, free up time, set the correct expectations. And again, makes everyone has a peace of mind. And that’s, again, if you can spend your time selling a car as a car salesman or explaining to someone how logistics work when you don’t know, what would you rather do? And one’s going to put money in your pocket, the other is just going to be a little bit of a pain in the butt.
Dealerships: Contact Us for Help Shipping Cars
John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Colby. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Colby: Thank you for having me and have a great rest of your day.
John: Thanks. And for more information or to request a quote for your auto shipping needs visit the website at preownedautologistics.com or call 877-542-1955.