Top Auto Dealer Management Software Picks for 2018

Automobile Dealership Management Software

Automobile Dealership Management Software in 2018

Running a successful car dealership involves countless moving parts, and within all these revolving pieces, productivity shortfalls are inevitable. Successful dealerships know it’s due to human error– because constant communication between individuals eventually leads to confusion and potential misinformation. So while most dealerships acknowledge these shortcomings and use management software such as ADP or Reynolds & Reynolds and other DMS software, these systems can leave gaps in efficiency when maintaining sales, inventory, and F&I information.

Despite our limitations as individuals and the shortcomings of the automotive management software above, we’re fortunate enough to live in an era where we have several software solutions to fully digitize inventory acquisition, marketing, and even inventory management– filling the gaps along the way.

To help reduce your time researching possible software solutions, we have compiled a top-5 list of management tools every dealership should consider adding.

Sales & Marketing

Hubspot

HubSpot offers various marketing, sales, and customer relationship management software to fit whatever business needs you may have– and while the individual options are powerful, they’re even better when used together.

Obtaining prospects and making sales on new or used vehicles relies on you meeting a customer’s needs and working with their budget.

In today’s world, almost every single car purchase begins with an “internet search.” These searches could yield potential new customers if your dealership provides the “right answers.” This inbound marketing, where you draw in customers through social media, branding, and search engine optimization, revolves around creating and publishing content which attracts visitors and converts them into leads as they travel the sales funnel from awareness to consideration.

HubSpot assists in creating and publishing lead generation content– allowing you to track, measure and target your leads.

Reconditioning & Supply Chain Management

AutoMobile Technologies – ReconMonitor

ReconMonitor software helps dealerships monitor and manage the process of reconditioning pre-owned inventory and auction purchases from Acquisition to Front Line Ready. It can track each individual vehicle, the progress made during all reconditioning phases, help get vehicles ready in a quick and efficient manner, and save dealerships both time and money.

ReconMonitor is web-based dealership supply chain management software that picks up where your DMS leaves off, and gives any dealership stakeholder access to all in-process vehicles, the current repair stages, and deadlines from any device, at any time.

It establishes an early warning system in order to keep repair momentum from the initial acquisition to frontline readiness– tracking each vendor, employee, and repair phase to manage performance while identifying bottlenecks in the reconditioning process.

Social Media

Sprout Social

For dealership marketing teams, the primary goal is to advertise the business in the best and most efficient channels– and social media is the largest avenue to get the word out. Sprout Social allows you to track likes, shares, conversations, new contacts, and more with an incredibly clean and easy design.

Data is the driving force when it comes to marketing and understanding which posts drive the most engagement, and Sprout Social offers various monthly subscriptions to monitor your social media marketing campaign.

Sprout Social’s management screen has tabs for messages, tasks, feeds, publishing, and reports. Messages allow you to read and respond to comments left on various social media platforms all in one inbox. While publishing and feeds allow you to analyze the most viewed content and make postings on a timed schedule.

Reports are manageable both on a macro and micro scale– meaning you can view the analytics for all social media in one location or view them all individually.

If your dealership has a team using social media for customer communication, Sprout Social allows you to track tasks and measure post-performance.

Sprout Social offers in-depth data analysis for all your social media marketing on a simple and sleek platform ready to improve your business’ content.

Dealership Accounting & Sales

NetSuite ERP

NetSuite ERP sells itself as a tool to assist any size business to expand. Its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software provides planning and management tools to help automate and simplify business processes in real time.

Netsuite lets individuals at the dealership automate various tasks, enabling data collection, viewing, and sharing without interrupting other functions.

Since NetSuite is cloud-based (meaning all information is saved online in a cloud server), updates, maintenance, support, and customization are all available and automatic across all devices using the software. To elaborate on customization, the package offers the ability to fully edit processes to work as efficiently as possible for your dealership.

NetSuite provides financial reporting, financial planning, revenue recognition (for compliance with accounting standards), global accounting and consolidation (for transparency), billing (to improve accuracy and remove errors), and real-time financial monitoring to drive success.

For Smaller Dealerships: Dealer DMS alternative

Everlogic

Everlogic is a Gold Certified Partner for Quickbooks with a complete management system designed with small dealerships and businesses in mind. Everlogic has several integrated modules which show sales, F&I, parts, services, and administration departments all under one roof. It’s known for its excellence in customer service, and much like the other options above, it’s easy to use, understand, and update all current business processes.

Summary

If recent reports are correct, the two or three-year new car sales tidal wave has begun to slow down. Dealerships will scramble in order to find solutions to boost sales and bolster profitability. The competent and savvy dealer will stay one step ahead, see the trends, and use the best and latest software available. These are our top picks for 2018, and we hope they assist your dealership to increase productivity and profitability this year and beyond.

Budgeting for a Successful Independent Dealership in 2018

2018 has just begun and the economy looks to be off to a great start. A strong jobs outlook and low unemployment means more people are driving again, and these people are replacing their cars. You may have noticed this for a while now at your dealership.

But even with this increased demand, you still have to compete with the larger dealerships. One way to get ahead is to borrow tips and ideas straight out of their playbook. As a software company who sells to auto dealerships of all sizes, we have unique access to everything from a dealer’s operations to their accounting practices. We get to see behind the scenes of dealerships all over the country, and we know what makes the best dealerships successful.

As an independent dealership, you may not have the staff or even the time to always step back and look at the big picture of your operation, but it is an important exercise nonetheless. As you prepare your goals for 2018, you can’t make smart decisions until you take a long hard look at your company financials, and yes that means setting your budget.

Performing these budgeting tasks does not have to be a chore, in fact we are making it easy for you with this tutorial. Consider this budget to be a guideline, a scorecard or a report card for how you are doing financially as a business every month. It will help you make business decisions such as when to buy more inventory or how much to spend on advertising.

Building out your budget doesn’t have to be hard or even time consuming. Many of you are already using some form of accounting program and we have created an excel spreadsheet that you can use or modify simply by clicking the download here:

Get the Spreadsheet Template

 

Why you need a Budget for 2018:

  1. Determine your milestones so that you recognize when you pass them. You get into a routine. You have your auction days, you are involved in the remarketing needs of your purchases, you manage your sales people, you keep an eye on the finance department. But how do you know when you are ready for a second lot, or a third, if you don’t have a plan with set milestones? A good budget will help you find those milestones.
  2. You will need to borrow money, your bank will want a plan. If you do grow to that second location you may need to increase your floor plan. Your bank is going to want to see the plan, and how you expect to make your payments. A good budget will help you execute your business plan.

Business plans require financial projections, tax schedules, depreciation schedules, staffing plans and so on. All of this will be spread out over multiple pages and you will need to keep going back and forth between pages.  I have found that the best way to start a business plan is to create a single page cheat sheet that has all the numbers in one spot. As you begin to fill in numbers in a business plan, it is helpful to have a single sheet that has all the numbers in one spot.

  1. A budget can help you make hard decisions quicker and easier. Scalable businesses are built on the backs of efficient processes. Time saving tips tricks and yes even software like our very own ReconMonitor will save you money. But how do you know when you can afford to invest in new equipment or software without being able to look at your own numbers? A budget will help with that. Your budget will help you determine whether you can afford every single business expense before making the purchase.

 

How to make a budget for your Independent Auto Dealership

The easiest thing is to create a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. You can create your own or you can download our template below. On your spreadsheet include the next twelve months going from left to right in the top columns. Leave room in the first column to list out each expense.

Next, in the first column, start labeling all of your expenses. It helps to have a couple of recent bank statements handy; you will be surprised at how many little expenses that you forget.

 

Start with your ongoing business expenses.

The way I like to do mine is start with the bills that you know that has to be paid each month, stuff like mortgage on your buildings or rent, utilities, etc. Put every business expense you have in there. This will give you a good idea of what you need at a minimum to pay break even. Now add a row for each of those columns to tally up.

Note: We have included a column with industry average percentages pulled from the NAIDA used car industry report.

Next it’s time to start entering the employee expenses.

Begin entering values and lines for all of your employees, salaries and average commissions. Again review those bank statements and try to come up with a number for each type of expense that you have. Add a line to tally up each business expense by month.

Inventory and reconditioning expenses are next.

Like most dealerships, you probably have a good bead on what sells in your market, and what your average reconditioning costs per vehicle are. This data can be pulled whether you do all your remarketing in house or you use outside vendors. If you use outside vendors ask for their help in determining an average per vehicle figure and use that as a multiple for how many vehicles you plan to buy in a given month.

Customers

Here is where the business owner’s crystal ball comes into play.  Obviously, you can’t predict what cars will sell at exact times, but as an existing and successful dealership, you probably have your own data and formulas.

The purpose of this part of exercise is to start determining what revenue is coming in and when. If you offer repairs and service in addition to used cars, you probably have a good idea of what the revenue from the shop is each month as well.

Note: Our spreadsheet gives you the option to use a monthly average/projection, or you can enter specific cars if you want to get really accurate and track your performance.

 

Spreadsheet Formulas.

Next you will need to create a few formulas. First you want to create a line that totals your office overhead along with any salaries.

Subtract this number from the total sales in per month, and you have a fairly accurate idea of what revenue is left for taxes.

Next take this number and apply the following formula: =C54*(1-29%)  In is case C54 is the cell with our remaining net cash after salaries office expenses and inventory expenses.  This formula takes your net cash and subtracts 29%, which is a pretty good approximation for a small business tax burden and includes state taxes. We recommend that you speak with your tax professional to figure out what the percentage it for your specific situation. Whatever tax rate they suggest simply replace the 29 in that formula with the new number.

In the line below this, add the formula =SUM(C54)-(C55). This gives you the monthly tax payment that you will owe (even though you will pay quarterly). In this instance C54 is the net income and C55 is the tax payment.

Keep in mind this spreadsheet is designed to give you a quick and pretty accurate picture of your cash flow month by month, but it does not factor in things such as depreciations, etc.

We hope you found this to be helpful and we look forward to helping you achieve a prosperous 2018.


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Top Auto Dealer Management Software Picks for 2017

Automobile Dealership Management Software

We don’t need to tell you how many moving parts there are to running a successful dealership- you are living it every day. While most dealerships utilize one form of a dealership management software, such as ADP or Reynolds and Reynolds, to keep sales, inventory, and F&I in order, some of these software systems fall short in other areas leaving gaps in the overall efficiency of a dealership.

Luckily, there are several software solutions available to fill some of these gaps in order to fully digitize any dealership from inventory acquisition to marketing, and even inventory management.

To help cut down your research time, we have compiled a list of the top 5 software tools every dealership should consider adding.

 

Sales and Marketing

Hubspot

HubSpot offers a full stack of products for marketing, sales, and customer relationship management. Each product is powerful as a stand alone, and even better when used together.

Reaching prospects and making sales on a new or used car purchase often boils down to meeting individuals’ needs and budget. Nearly all vehicle purchases today start with some form of internet search. When done right, each search could yield a new customer to the dealership by providing the answers to customer searches. This idea of inbound marketing sprang from the idea of creating and publishing content that attracts visitors and converts them to leads as they continue down the sales funnel from awareness to comparison. This type of marketing is an exceptionally good fit for car dealerships because nearly all purchases begin with some form of Internet information search.

Hubspot allows to you to create and publish lead-generating content, measure where your visitors are coming from, and their new CRM allows you to track and target your leads when they convert on any of your lead forms.

Hootsuite

Getting the word out is the goal of any Dealership marketing team, and social media is an important channel. Hootsuite is an inexpensive software that helps focus social media efforts by tracking progress, engagement, and other metrics. It is useful to any business with any size marketing team, from large marketing teams to armies of one.

Hootsuite allows you to see a clear, concise snapshot of your key Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter activity to track trends and measure growth. It is easy to use and no setup is required.

You can also create customized analytics dashboards, or if pressed for time, you can use Hootsuite pre-built templates to learn more about how your followers engage with your content.

Export reports to prove your social ROI. Share your success with your team with one-click exports of your reports in Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, and CSV formats.

If you do a lot of communication via social media, and have multiple team members doing the communicating, Hootsuite allows you to measure team performance, track how long it takes your team to respond and resolve Tweets and Facebook posts, mentions, and comments assigned to them.

Hootsuite allows you to gain a deeper insight with a large collection of social analytics integrations and apps available. For a small monthly fee, you can really build a powerful analytics data set to help guide current and future content efforts.

 

Reconditioning and Inventory

ReconMonitor by AutoMobile Technologies

ReconMonitor is made for dealerships who need to wrangle all the moving parts of reconditioning pre-owned inventory and auction purchases. The auto dealer software tracks each vehicle, and the progress made on that vehicle during the reconditioning process. This visibility helps get vehicles frontline ready faster while saving time and money for the dealership.

Like a project manager in a box, ReconMonitor is a complete web-based and mobile software that gives any dealership stakeholder access to a complete dashboard of all in-process vehicles, stages of repair, and frontline deadlines. Imagine being able to get a real-time snapshot of all in-process vehicle reconditioning and deadlines from any device, at any time, allowing you to identify trouble spots and maximize productivity. ReconMonitor can make this a reality for your operation.

Dealership used car reconditioning software establishes an early warning system that keeps the repairs moving forward from initial acquisition to front line readiness. It identifies areas that are operating efficiently and uncovers areas contributing to delays. With ReconMonitor, you can track each vendor or employee task and manage what order those tasks are being performed. The result is better control and faster turn-arounds for your inventory.

 

Dealership Accounting and Sales

Executive eye 3.0

Executive eye from Dashboard Dealership proclaims itself as the auto industry’s premier data analytics and reporting product. Their car dealership software provides a comprehensive enterprise view of dealer group accounting and operational performance. Executive Eye enhances DMS capabilities by allowing dealers to track dealership performance side by side in one dashboard. Dealership managers can set up and track their own KPI’s and filter out the  metrics are most important to them.

Dealership controllers can keep an eye on vendor creep by viewing a 12 month vendor spend report. Expense Creep, where extra costs continue to slip by unnoticed is a constant battle. Find out how much you are spending at both the enterprise and store level with each vendor over the last 12 months.

Managers can receive their own customized doc report. Get the doc you’ve always wanted for your group.  Look at your dealer group as a whole, not just store by store. You can also export and email these reports. Executive eye delivers reports as often as you want, in the format you want, with the information you want.

Smaller dealership DMS alternative

EverLogic is a complete auto dealership management system that works with QuickBooks, making it a perfect fit for either single location or smaller dealership group. EverLogic software was actually built by Intuit, the makers of QuickBooks. The software is fully cloud based and has seven integrated modules that bring your sales, F&I, parts, service and administration departments together. EverLogic gets high marks for its customer support. Much like QuickBooks, EverLogic’s software is easy to set up, understand, and use. EverLogic also performs automated updates and backups to keep you current and secure.

 

Summary

If any of the prognosticators are correct, the two or three year tidal wave of new car sales has begun slowing down. When that happens, dealerships will start to scramble to find ways to boost sales and bolster profitability. The savvy dealer will stay ahead of these trends and will utilize software to its fullest. Hopefully our top picks list will help your dealership increase productivity and profitability.

Do you ever have trouble reconciling your invoices?

Do you ever have trouble reconciling your invoices?Do you ever have trouble reconciling your invoices?  Which ones have been sent, which ones have been paid?  After all, staying busy and gaining more business means nothing if you are not recognizing the reward for your efforts.  ReconPro makes this task easy by integrating with your accounting system.  Invoices are exported to QuickBooks or other accounting software allowing you to easily ensure all invoices have been sent, track outstanding invoices, and get back to business.  Payroll processing is more efficient as well because ReconPro tracks employee time and commissions.  Click here to see how ReconPro can help you become more efficient in this process and make sure you get paid.

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