Written by: Jeff Blackton, Dealer Success Group Manager, Bob Clements International
During peak season, dealers often struggle with ways to approach equipment management. It is a topic that often causes confusion and irritation. So, what is there to do? Well, there are a couple things Bob Clements International (BCI) recommends to properly handle the situation:
- HANG A SIGN ON THE WALL THAT STATES YOUR POLICY
Sometimes, solving a difficult problem and be simple. The easiest way to start protecting your dealership against abandonment can start with an easy statement: Equipment not paid for and not picked up after 30 days will be sold to recover the cost of the repair and storage. The timeline for defining what abandoned equipment is can vary from state to state. Some dealers, though, have even defined abandonment as anything still on the lot after 30 days. Before they hit the 30-day mark, they have made a phone call at Day 14 and sent a certified letter at Day 29. It’s important there is a specific timeline so that everyone is on the same page.
- CHARGE A STORAGE FEE FOR EQUIPMENT LEFT OVER 14 DAYS
Some dealers charge a $10/day storage fee for equipment not picked up. The intent with the storage fee isn’t to ever actually collect the fee, but to avoid ever having to deal with a piece of abandoned equipment. If someone leaves a piece of equipment there for 16 days, then comes and picks it up and pays for the repair, it is recommended to waive the fee and let them know that you can appreciate that life gets busy. Sometimes, things happen.
- ADD A SECTION TO THE BOTTOM OF YOUR WEBSITE THAT STATES YOUR POLICIES
Add a section to your website that has all your policies on it, including one about limiting liability to the cost of the repair on equipment, if the lack of having that piece of equipment causes a customer to lose profitability.
- AMEND YOUR WORK ORDER PAPERWORK
At the bottom of the work order, having a statement that says something to the effect of “By signing this work order, you are agreeing to the policies outlined at www.yourbusinessname.com/policies” is always a great addition to cover your business. You will also want a hard copy of all your policies in a flyer format at the service counter in case a customer asks to see them before signing.
- REACH OUT TO YOUR STATE PROSECUTOR
Keep in mind, laws vary from state to state. After you get your intended policies written up, it strongly recommended to reach out to the state prosecutor to have them review your policies to make sure they are in accordance with local law. Typically, when dealers have reached out to the state prosecutors in the past, they have a legal aid get back to them within 24-48 hours with any issues they see.
All of these options are free. They’re painless. More importantly, they cover your business.
Information like this and more are topics of monthly discussion within the NATDA Dealer Success Groups, a collaboration project with Bob Clements International that introduces success-driven dealers with like-minded, industry related individuals across the country.
CLICK HERE to learn more or even register for the program. Participation is limited and enrollment is now open, so act fast! Through NATDA and BCI, you can look forward to expanding your dealership’s potential and profit.