I can’t begin to tell you the amount of money I’ve found hidden in the bowels of car dealerships. By bowels, I mean the books. Automotive accounting is very specialized and there’s really no place for somebody to go to learn how to do it except on the job. If there’s no qualified manager to train the staff, it’s basically a trial and error…except it’s not monopoly money we’re talking about, it’s $25 million per month in transactions. I’ve seen many a CPA quiver and run after looking at some dealerships’ books and that’s where I come in.
Once I had a colleague named Matt who owned a CPA firm that serviced auto dealerships. He called one day and asked me to take a look at what was going on with a dealership who had called him to come “straighten things out”. They’d just fired their GM and Business Manager. Matt had taken a quick peak at what they had and said, “Pass”. He asked me if I could figure things out so that they could take the dealership on as a client. As it stood, they were unable to do that. We have a lot of acronyms in the car business and Matt used “TFU” (Too f*ck’d up) to describe the state of affairs at this particular dealership.
I have a passion for challenges, especially looking for money and solving operational problems at dealerships. I’ve seen a lot of crazy situations and this one was in the Top Ten for sure. They had cars delivered to customers that had never been paid for. They’d collected the down payments but the customers’ contracts had never made it to the bank. They had about $3 million owed to them and some of the cars had been burning gas for a 18+ months. These people were actually driving for free!
So, I started dialing for dollars. I talked to one nice lady who said, “I was wondering when you were gonna call!” My task was to get every single customer back into the store so we could re-write their contracts and allow them to start paying their monthly payments. In the end, I was able to collect all but ONE contract, nearly all of the $3 million. That last car is driving around somewhere right now. It’s never been registered and the person driving it probably has no idea of it’s genealogy.
My motto is, “Nobody Watches Your Money Like You Do”. Just because the F&I person or GM says it’s so, doesn’t mean it is. The same goes for the Business Manager. Do you know of a dealership who’s got bodies buried in the books?