There are people who think buy-here pay-here dealerships make money off selling cars and repossessing them. That's simply not true.
We lose money on most repos not only because of the time it takes to get the vehicle back, and the money it takes to pay the repo company to go to the car, get the car back, hold it -- and usually there's a lot of damage.
We could take the vehicle to auction, but that doesn't bring very much money. And if we do put it through the shop -- we spend a lot on average, a higher dollar amount repairing repos.
When I buy cars to sell, we recondition them and get them up to our standards. It's very expensive. So bringing a repo back to the shop and fixing it and trying to get our money back a second time costs more money.
Or if we were to take the repossessed vehicle to the auction and just sell it, we take a pretty big loss up front right then.
I'd say it’s a big misconception when people think it's profitable for buy-here pay-here dealerships to repo a car and resell it. It’s just simply not true.
Steps we take to avoid having to do a repossession
One thing we do is work hard to make sure the car keeps running. Some people think they don’t have to pay for the car if it breaks down or has issues. That’s one reason we have such a good warranty to keep the car running, help the customer out. If it's under warranty, we take care of it -- 90% -- and 10% is on them.
But if the vehicle is not under warranty, we'll always get the car running whether we split the bill with them or let them make payments on the repair. There’s a lot of scenarios we do -- it just depends on how long they’ve had the car, what exactly the repair was, et cetera.
We’d rather work with our customers if they’re having trouble making payments. We can arrange partial payments, a different pay plan, changing the pay dates to match their paydays, etc. We want them to get back on track, make the payments and keep the car.
And our customers are appreciative for the effort we make to keep them going. They understand that we are there for them and they are happy. We're willing to work with them and we do that. A very small percentage of them have unreal expectations like they think we can put a new motor in their car in an hour and the car gets towed in that day at three o'clock. They expect the car back by five and that doesn't happen.