Johnathan Aquero was invited to participate in NATDA’s Performance Week series. He caught up with Kevin Brechbill, owner, Brechbill Trailers to discuss the positive impact dealer software can have on a trailer business.
In this webinar, they discuss ways you can increase profit and peace of mind by giving your team a business platform specifically designed to organize a trailer operation.
If you want to make life easier, grow your business, and give a better customer experience, there are several reasons to consider a trailer-friendly dealership management platform. Discussion topics include:
1. Sell more units with trailer quoting tools
2. Increase work efficiency with a single place for parts inventory, service history, and unit cost tracking
3. Accelerate service growth with trailer-friendly work order write-up and service scheduling
4. Reduce accounting cost and increase business visibility with popular accounting integrations
5. Deploying a dealership platform can be straightforward”
Interview Transcript: Does Trailer Dealership Software Make a Difference?
0:14 Does trailer-friendly dealership software really make a difference?
1:15 Save time and payroll cost with a better-organized business
5:07 Increase cash flow and profits with trailer-friendly capabilities
7:34 Improve customer experience to receive more repeat business and referrals
10:26 Does deploying a dealership platform have to be difficult?
Hi. My name is Johnathan Aguero. And I’m with Blackpurl, a dealership management platform. I’m joined today by Kevin Brechbill, founder of Brechbill Trailers to talk about “Does trailer-friendly dealership software really make a difference?”
0:14 Does trailer-friendly dealership software really make a difference?
In today’s session, we will discuss how to use a dealership platform to save time and payroll costs with a better-organized business. Number two, increase cash flow and profits. Number three, improve your customers’ experience to get more repeat and referral business. Lastly, how do you find a dealership platform that you can implement quickly and easily?
I’d like to start by introducing, in more detail, Kevin Brechbill who’s here with us today to give his take. Kevin today runs a dealership, founded a dealership that has a full line of parts, and service business, sales operation. In terms of size, he started with two trailers a week. And now, they’re at about 25 trailers a week and growing. Just in the past year alone, they’ve grown by 42% as far as a dealership system, how they keep track of their business. They’ve gone from a pen and paper operation to a dealership platform several years ago to Blackpurl. So I’d like to start with a question. Kevin, what are some of the ways that a dealership platform has helped you save time and cost by organizing business functions?
1:15 Save time and payroll cost with a better-organized business
Yeah, on many levels. Number one, the inventory for the units of the trailers, putting them in the system, being able to keep track of them, keep track of the cost, being able to sell efficiently knowing what you have in stock when someone, a customer, calls in. And then parts, we have thousands of parts here. And keeping track of that is huge. Anytime parts customers call in, we can immediately type that part number in, pull it up, and know how many we got in stock. And then keeping the track of cost and profit is huge, and the efficiency has just snowballed, and we’ve been doing very well with the DMS system. I highly recommend it at all levels.
Thank you. That makes a lot of sense. You know, you’re not alone in that. At Blackpurl, we’re a dealership platform that’s simple and easy to use. And we hear a lot from people that once they switch away from maybe a traditional retail platform like QuickBooks Desktop or pen and paper and Excel when they switch to a system that’s meant for trailer dealerships, there’s a lot that happens.
All the things you just referred to, parts inventory management, knowing what you have, what’s committed on a service job, what is on order, that sort of thing, being able to look up any part that’s available to you through your suppliers because all of your vendor pricing has already been loaded into your dealership platform.
That’s another key area that you want to look for, a key way you can save time and cost with a dealership platform, the ability to quickly and easily look up service history, right? Whether it’s by the VIN, whether it’s by the customer, you want to be able to reference that to give the customer good advice to help your team know what to do.
Another big thing for trailer dealerships is unit cost tracking. You want to be able to know how much money you have into a particular trailer, right? If you take one in, let’s just say you take one in, you do some work on it, you want to be able to sell it, you don’t want to have to search around for them for information. You want it all in one place. That’s another big benefit of a dealership system, the ability to do job clocking, to understand how much time your technicians are spending on each trailer.
And lastly, having a dealership platform with permissions that dictates what employees can do, what they can’t do, saves a lot of mistakes from happening.
The second half of organizing your business is accounting. With accounting, what kind of solution should you use? We have a few pieces of advice.
The most successful dealerships use accounting that is either built into their DMS dealership management system or their dealership platform integrates with one of the top cloud-based accounting platforms. That’s a best practice.
Why is that? A lot of reasons. One of those is that it’s going to give you real-time reporting. So if you had a really big day at your dealership, that’s going to show.
Thirdly, a reliable integration is key. You want to avoid a single nightly push to a desktop accounting platform. Because it’s on a standalone desktop machine, security can be an issue, reliability can be an issue. So that’s why we recommend either choose built-in accounting or reliable cloud-based accounting because cloud-based integrations have an automated data pipeline through the internet, it’s a very good and reliable form of integration.
Lastly, you want to make sure that your accounting platform has flexible financial reporting. You want to make sure that you have good visibility into each of the departments that give you the ability to make good business decisions.
The next question I have for you, Kevin, is we hear a lot that having a proper dealership system is going to increase cash flow, profit. We talked about the organization. Now, we’d like to talk about how specifically a trailer dealership does it drive profit directly. So in your experience, how has having a dealership system impacted your ability to increase profit?
05:07 Increase cash flow and profits with trailer-friendly capabilities
So in many ways. When you start out selling two trailers a week, you look at your profits every month or two like nothing’s very defined. Every six months, it’s just inconsistent, but once you start to scale– I went from basically every six months to every month to every week. And now, we daily look at our profits. And it’s important at all levels, number one, from the sales level, they know what they’re doing per trailer per day, and then scale that to weekly and monthly.
Parts are the same way. You can do all kinds of things at that point. You can incentivize your parts guys as well as your sales guys by daily profits showing what you can do with that through commission. There are just lots of ways that it inspires and influences the company to grow on multiple levels.
Thanks, Kevin. That makes a lot of sense. That’s why in Blackpurl, our dealership management platform, we’ve made the reporting flexible and easy so that you have all the visibility you need into your departments, be it service, parts, sales. And that’s why we make sure that our reporting is very robust financial reporting that gives you an insight, helps you understand if something’s going wrong.
There are also a few additional dealership platform features we recommend looking for. A few of those are A. If you have a trailer quoting tool that allows you to start with a base unit, add options on, and present the customer with a speedy quote, that’s something to look for.
Number two, you can accelerate service department growth with a trailer-friendly work order and easy service write-up process, scheduling, technician scheduling, all these things are key.
Number three, you can improve your service department profitability by ensuring that each one of your technicians can clock onto jobs, clock off when they’re done, so you know which of your techs is making you the most money, who needs coaching, et cetera.
So these are three really quick ways that having a dealership platform is going to make it easy and fast to get more profit.
Now, when it comes to our next question, “How do we improve the customer experience so that we receive more referrals, more repeat business, et cetera?” In your experience, what DMS or dealership platform capabilities, for you, Kevin, have impacted your customer experience the most?
07:34 Improve customer experience to receive more repeat business and referrals
So Blackpurl has been one of those DMS systems that have impacted us the most. And number one is when someone calls in, and they have a request about something, we can create a quote, put all the different parts, service, whatever, under that quote, and send that out and literally won’t have to hang up the phone, that quote is put together till the phone is hung up. It’s in their inbox and waiting for them to look at it. And that is a customer service experience that every customer loves. And we push hard to make that happen through our sales and parts departments.
Oh, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Well, in Blackpurl, once you’ve created a quote, it’s two taps to get that sent over into their inbox. So that certainly can help.
Thank you. That makes a lot of sense. It’s very interesting. And that’s the first item on my list that we hear from customers, which is that they want to be able to email work orders, invoices, and quotes.
Another way to improve the customer service experience is by making it fast and easy to tell your customers when they can schedule a service job, right? We offer new communicational tools, the ability, in Blackpurl, for instance, to have a two-way text conversation right on a work order with the customer that work order is for. Right?
Another thing to look for in your dealership platform is a easily accessible customer and unit service history. Right? If someone calls up, you want to be able to give them an answer in 30 seconds, “Here’s what we did on your trailer last year.” You don’t want to have to wait 10 minutes rifling through a file cabinet. You don’t want to do any of that stuff. You want to make it quick and easy to get them an answer.
Another thing that creates a good experience for them is the ability of a dealership platform to be able to take a custom assigned price level and automatically apply it to one particular customer in perpetuity. Right? That saves you a lot of time and mistakes charging customers wrong.
So when you’re looking for a dealership platform, you want to make sure that it can do these key things that improve a customer experience—email, text, easy scheduling, easy access to service history, and customizing price levels and tax exemptions for specific customers.
So, Kevin, we’ve talked about a few different ways that a dealership platform can improve the customer experience, increase profit, increase efficiency, and organization. A lot of people want these benefits, but we hear a lot, “Installing a dealership system is too difficult.” So at Blackpurl, we make that process easy and there are other platforms out there that aim to make that process easy as well. I’m curious, in your experience, what has it been like to switch to a new dealership platform?
10:26 In your experience, what has it been like to switch to a new dealership platform?
So we’ve had really good experiences and we’ve had really terrible experiences. Now, any dealership that is starting from scratch and you want to start up with a DMS system, putting that information, that data in, is going to take a little time and energy. However, once we had that information in, we went to a previous DMS platform system, and it was an absolute nightmare. The thing kept breaking literally every other day, with constant glitches. Constantly, we put information in, it would delete it. It was an absolute nightmare.
When Blackpurl called me and we took a look into their system, we transitioned from our old DMS system to Blackpurl. I think in three days, we were up and running; and in three weeks, I would say we comfortably had everything smoothly running. And it was one of the easiest transitions that we have had to date. And so we’re very, very grateful for that.
Thank you. That makes a lot of sense. And you know what? To me, what I hear is,
“Do your due diligence.”
“Find out how long it’s really going to take.”
“Is it reliable?”
And here are the key tips that we would offer when you’re looking for a dealership platform—doesn’t need to be Blackpurl. When you’re looking for a dealership system, following these guidelines will make sure you have a good experience.
Number one, find one that doesn’t take two months to install. Some dealership management platforms offer a full activation within one to three weeks. If you get the chance, ask to reduce or waive setup fees. And most importantly, before you choose a system, find out the level of guidance that they provide for the setup process. Fourthly, ask if customer inventory and unit data import are included. And finally, I would ask to find out what kind of standardized training options like online training courses, videos, what kind of standardized training resources do they have, as well as do they do personal training, scenario training, where you get to ask, “How do I do this for my business, and create a process?”
If you do all five of these steps, you’ll come into the process of installing a dealership platform. You’re going to have a smooth experience. It’ll be much faster. It’ll be much easier. The bottom line is, it does not have to be difficult.
As we wrap up, I’d like to go over what we covered. We went through how you save time and payroll costs with a better-organized business, a system that’s meant to organize a trailer dealership.
Number two, you can increase cash flow and profits by enabling your team to grow, keeping them organized, giving them tools that help a trailer customer specifically, and allow them to close more business.
Thirdly, we went over how you can improve your customers’ experience, which will lead to more repeat and referral business.
And lastly, we talked about, to get these benefits, it doesn’t have to be a marathon. You can get a new dealership platform installed quickly, easily, and there’s always going to be some learning but with minimal learning.
Our final tip is, if you find a platform you like, just go for it. The benefits of having a trailer-friendly dealership system are far going to outweigh any downsides you may experience. So no matter who it is, find a good dealership platform. You will be glad you did.
And if you’d like to learn more about Blackpurl, just go to blackpurl.com. There’s a whole bunch of educational resources, videos, articles, and we’d love to hear from you.
Kevin Brechbill: And to add one thing to this, you can cut this, but when anyone is looking for a DMS system, do your due diligence before you say yes.