One is our sales process. How we flip it where we approve the customer first—nobody else does that around here. And we find that to be huge for the customer, because when they go out to look at a car, they’re already preapproved. They know that whatever we show them, they can buy.
We’ve found it’s very frustrating for a customer to spend hours at a dealership, find a car, fall in love with it, go through the process, think they’re buying it, just to be told “no” at the end.
That’s one way.
The other way is our 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty. Nobody else in the entire southern Idaho area does that. We’re the only ones that warranty these little bit older, higher mileage cars. And it’s our own warranty; it’s not a service contract. So we stand behind it.
And then we’re the only ones in the whole Magic Valley—and I believe southern Idaho, but the Magic Valley for sure—that reports customers’ good payments to the credit bureaus, so they actually get credit awarded for making their payments on time.
That benefits the customer because if they have bad credit due to illness, a hospital, divorce, something temporary—most traditional buy-here pay-here dealers do not report on-time payments. So customers go into buying this car with bad credit, make all the payments perfectly on time, and at the end they still have the exact same bad credit.
Plus, with us, they come out with a better credit score at the other end. So buying a car with us with our in-house financing, customers are really rebuilding their credit, helping them step up. Then they can go buy a brand-new car if they’d like, get lower interest rates, that sort of thing.
We do our best to avoid having to repossess a vehicle we sold to someone We take at least two steps to avoid repo-ing a car.
One: we set up our payments either bi-weekly or semi-monthly, whenever the customer gets paid. So it’s a little bit of money out of every paycheck instead of a large sum. That makes it a lot easier for people to make the payment.
Two: we have collections staff on hand that calls customers. We start early. They’re trained. We train them to work with the customer and try to get some money. As long as people are staying in contact with us, making effort, we’re going to let them continue to pay and we won’t take the car. We want to see them get through the loan and finish. We don’t want to repo the car.
So if we can get a partial payment, a half payment, we’re way better off than saying and insisting, “No, you need to pay the full payment.” All of our collectors are trained to work with our customers around those types of scenarios—to help them. As long as they’re willing to talk and to work with us, we’ll work with them.
Don’t throw away the mail. Don’t not answer your phone. Actually the worst thing you can do is ignore us. Talk to us.