Article

Dealer Turns To eBay Motors As His Only Resource

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Sean St. Clair - Also by this author

When Tony Reyes decided to start his own automobile sales dealership, he focused on one avenue to sell vehicles, eBay Motors. From his experience buying his own car on eBay Motors and his previous work managing eBay auctions for another dealer, Reyes knew that eBay Motors would be the place to not only start Dolphin Automotive Group, but to build it into a viable, long-term business that could support his family.
 
Since he started Dolphin Automotive on eBay Motors in January of 2002, Reyes has built it into a company that makes its profits by quickly and efficiently moving product. “eBay Motors is the best tool on the planet to sell the volume of cars that we do,” Reyes said.

Reyes continues to build his reputation as a Power Seller with over 1,100 positive feedback comments, something that he is especially proud of.

“Our feedback really speaks for itself,” Reyes said. “It shows how we really work with our customers.”

 
Reyes’ reputation as an online automotive dealer was further enhanced earlier this year when he was named to the 2004 Auto Dealer Monthly/Auto Dealer Daily Top 50 Pre-Owned Internet Retailers list. With 851 units sold in 2003, almost all on eBay Motors, Dolphin Automotive Group ranked 12th on the list. In the overall Top 100 Internet Retailers, Dolphin ranked 81st and was one of only 10 independent dealers to make top 100.

Reyes deals only on eBay Motors because, over time, his work with eBay Motors has proven the viability of the platform as a solid entity from which to operate a business. Reyes’ experience with eBay Motors started with a purchase of his own. In 2001, he purchased a 1994 Cadillac on the site and was very pleased with the price, the process and the final product he received. From there, Reyes went to work for a dealer and managed eBay Motors sales. After some time, he decided to start his own business dedicated entirely to selling on eBay Motors.

Dolphin Automotive focuses its efforts on selling high-end vehicles, mainly Cadillacs and Lincolns, at below retail price because the speed of eBay Motors allows him to focus on moving a high quantity of product in a short amount of time.

“We sell all our cars wholesale or below,” Reyes said. “We’re usually thousands below retail.”

Today Dolphin Automotive has two warehouses and an acre lot for vehicle storage. In addition, it employs a detailing staff, a mechanic and an administrative staff.

“I enjoy what I do,” Reyes said. “I’m able to provide seven people with jobs and make a decent living myself.”

But his reasons for enjoying the management of Dolphin go far beyond money. Reyes added that this job has been unlike any he has had previously.

“It’s fast-paced,” Reyes said. “We are not standing around waiting for something to happen. We’ve constantly got cars coming in and we’re getting them up on the site.”

Reyes doesn’t waste any time when he purchases a vehicle to put up on eBay Motors. Yet, Reyes said, Dolphin Automotive takes the time to make sure all vehicles are top quality.

“If we see something broken, then we fix it,” Reyes said. “If it’s not good enough to go on eBay, then we don’t sell it.”

When a car is purchased wholesale by Dolphin Automotive, it goes through a rigorous procedure before it is approved for customer delivery.

The first step involves the detailing of each vehicle by Dolphin Automotive’s expert detailing staff. From here, the car goes through a complete analysis by Dolphin Automotive’s mechanic, Danny Reyes. Danny Reyes has been in the automotive business for over 15 years and also served as lead mechanic for "The Fast and the Furious" movies.

After a final test drive to ensure the vehicle is road-ready, the vehicle is photographed and the listing process begins. Reyes said the entire process is usually completed in one day, which allows Dolphin Automotive to continually post vehicles on eBay Motors and move inventory at a quick pace.

“We don’t sit around staring at a car for months,” Reyes said. “We get the process started quickly.”

Reyes added that any work identified by his staff that needs to be repaired will be finished within the five days that the auction is running.

“Whatever needs to get done, gets done,” he said.

Dolphin Automotive usually has 15-25 auctions going at once and receives between 150-200 e-mails per day as well as many phone calls from potential buyers.

“We usually receive about 35-40 bids per vehicle,” Reyes said. “And we’ve been able to sell coast-to-coast and even internationally to places like Germany and Switzerland.”

Reyes said Dolphin Automotive usually ships about half of the vehicles it sells and the remaining half are picked up in person.

“We really provide a service to people in a specific market segment,” Reyes said. “There is nowhere else that you can get cars for prices that are this low.”

Reyes knows that eBay Motors is the place where he can reach potential customers to provide a great sales and service experience.

“You can find what you are looking for at a great price on eBay Motors without having to drive all around,” he said. “With 15 to 20 detailed pictures to look at, you also know exactly what you are going to get.”

Turn browsers into buyers with the right vehicle listing

For used vehicles, ‘kicking the tires’ is quickly being replaced by "clicking the listings."

Dealerships are not just competing locally anymore—anyone in North America can put a year-old Camry up against your year-old Accord, seek a bid and earn a profit.

The competitive edge in used vehicles sales comes largely from the way you’re listing your cars and trucks online. The following checklist outlines the five most effective techniques that move languishing vehicles off the lot far faster and more cost-effectively.

1. Provide lots of information and an honest description of the vehicle.

The principal reason potential buyers shy away from a vehicle online is that they can’t inspect it, they’re wary that the description is inaccurate; and they need more information.

To deal with these concerns, provide in your listing the results of a thorough and honest inspection of each vehicle that completely describes its mechanical condition and appearance. Explain that the inspection was carried out by a certified mechanic—even if it was your own. Disclose the minutest details and the buyer’s confidence level in you will soar.

2. Display as many photographs of each vehicle as possible.

The photos will make or break the deal with the online shopper. Take as many pictures as possible and set up an organized way to transfer them to your computer, using separate folders for images of each car.

Show every angle, every good point and every defect. Offer a virtual walk-around, walk-through tour of the vehicle, from bumper to bumper and dashboard to door locks.

Experience has proven that the most effective sellers display many images. Special online tools are available to create listings that allow for more than 30 photographs for a single vehicle.

Finally, ensure the file size of the photos is not so big that downloading becomes a lengthy process.

3. Use seller tools

You can save a considerable amount of listing preparation time by using seller tools, such as CARad (www.carad.com), to help automate the process. These tools allow you to enter the VIN of the car or truck you’re listing and will then automatically fill in much of the remaining information about the vehicle. They also provide condition report forms, the ability to save and re-use information that needs to appear in every listing (such as deposit policies), easy ways to upload and format images and a variety of professional-looking page designs that enable you to incorporate as many as 35 photos per listing. CARad simplifies the process of listing, tracking and managing the selling of vehicles and, along with such other seller tools as Andale, Auction 123 and BidCars, lends a professional appearance and functionality to your listings.

4. Provide meaningful marketing title information

To sort through listings, car shoppers use the search function, which turns up a title and subtitle for each listing. For example, eBay Motors automatically displays the make, model, year and sub-model information for the listed vehicle, while dealers can determine the wording that will appear in the subtitle.

5. Vary the timing of your listing.

eBay recommends listing a vehicle for seven days beginning and ending in late afternoon or early evening on Sundays. That format statistically has produced the best results, but only by a slight margin. It’s wise to experiment with a variety of times and durations to see which schedules yield the most sales for you. It’s important to keep in mind that you’re selling to a national and, often, an international marketplace across multiple time zones.

With a little creativity and help from some easy-to-use tools, you can create vehicle listings that will open entirely new neighborhoods, cities and regions to your business. You’ll be less concerned about the traffic through your door and more in tune with the shoppers at their desks as you shape your business model to the changing buying habits of America’s consumers.

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