Auto Broker Interview
The couple opened their used-car business last February. While they had no experience with cars, they were owners of a local sales club.
“We owned our own buying club,” D. Kaiser said. “People would call up and ask for various things and we’d go out and get them. We found that people were asking for cars a lot, so we decided to specialize in them.”
The couple keeps between 10 and 20 vehicles at their location at any given time. But they are not a traditional used-car lot. They take special orders from customers seeking specific vehicles. The more specific the order, the longer it takes to fill. They do take trade-ins.
“People contact us and say they have, for example, $5,000 to spend on a car and they would like something reliable,” Kaiser said. “We check the auctions and find the best $5,000 vehicle we can. The requests can get very specific. Lately, we’ve been receiving orders for Nissan Maximas.”
Most of the vehicles ordered were built between three and ten years ago, Kaiser said. He purchases them at auctions in Clearwater, Orlando and Miami.
Kaiser just received an order for a navy blue Porsche 911. “Because of the years given, finding such a car won’t be hard,” Kaiser said. “When we find that car, we can expect to pay between $50,000 and $70,000 for it. But we also received an order from a guy who wanted a Honda Accord built between 1999 and 2001 with less than 50,000 miles on the odometer.”
He found four cars that fit that particular description, Kaiser said. But after inspecting their engines, he passed up purchasing them.
“I’d rather lose a sale than fill an order with a substandard car,” Kaiser said.
“We offer a 100 percent money-back guarantee of the deposit if a customer isn’t happy with the car we pick.”
“The deposit is usually 10 percent of the estimated sale price. If the vehicle is one I wouldn’t mind having in inventory, it can be 5 percent.”
Kaiser believes it is the attention to detail that sets his business apart.
He said customers could go on the Internet and type in their vehicle specifications and come up with a few hits.
“But how do they know what kind of car they are buying?” he said. “Pictures don’t show if there’s a problem with the transmission or if the brakes need replacing.”
Before his customers take possession of a vehicle, Kaiser said, he puts it through a thorough reconditioning. He uses services like CarFax to check on a vehicle’s history before buying at auction.
This is very important because he learns in advance whether a car has been salvaged or had other problems.
Kaiser said, with no sales staff or large overhead he can beat the prices posted on the Internet.
“There are two reasons to go with us,” Kaiser said. “One is that our prices can’t be beat. The second is quality. When you buy a car from a private citizen, you don’t know what you’re getting. Private sellers don’t certify their cars.” It takes about week for an average order to be filled. But very specific orders may take longer. Kaiser estimates that word-of-mouth accounts for between a third and half of his customers.
Auto Brokering can be very profitable and fun!
COMMENTARY from George:I don’t require the percentage down UNLESS its a car over $20,000 but getting a percentage down may not be a bad idea BUT most folks get a 100% loan.