The calendar for a buy here, pay here (BHPH) car dealer can undoubtedly get pretty cluttered. There are loans to underwrite, regulations to comply with, portfolios to monitor and nurture, employees to supervise – and that’s not counting the myriad of details of a day-to-day business or the needs of a family at home.
Burnout has to be a major consideration for business owners in any industry – including BHPH dealers. So how do you attend to the needs of your business and take care of yourself at the same time? According to Ingram Walters, co-founder of the National Alliance of Buy Here Pay Here Dealers (NABD) and a BHPH dealer himself for over 20 years from Monroe, N.C., there’s no greater way to do both than by attending the annual conference for BHPH dealers in Las Vegas.
The conference will take place at the Wynn resort in Las Vegas from May 23rd-25th and serves as a source of information and inspiration for BHPH dealers from across the country. For Walters, it also serves at a personal retreat. “It recharges my battery,” he said. “It gets me around like-minded people.”
While many people might focus on getting informed primarily by the main session talks or the workshops, Walters believes that good information can also be gained outside of the sessions, including at the bar or in the swimming pool. “You’ve got to be like a sponge and soak all of this information up,” he said. “You have to be in a perpetual state of hunger for information because it’s all out there.”
Walters thinks that savvy dealers should use their staff to team up and get a wealth of data from the event. “If I were them, I’d get the agenda and plan out which sessions each of my employees who is going will attend,” As well, “I’d get a report back from all of them on what we can do to save money or make money.”
Even vendors should be tapped for insights. “People like software or GPS salesmen are in and out of hundreds of BHPH dealerships and likely have thoughts about the dealerships that are doing well those that aren’t.” Walters would ask them, “if you got out of software and became a buy here, pay here dealer, what would your business model look like?” Furthermore, “what are you seeing in your most successful customers?”
He said that line of questioning is also especially true for bankers who help finance loans for the dealers. “What better question to ask a banker than, ‘if you jumped the fence and got on the other side of this, how would you set it up?”
Walters will also be speaking at the conference during one of the main sessions and is planning to focus on things that have changed in his business. “A lot of times in buy here, pay here, all of your money is in a portfolio and it’s hard to get at,” he said. “I’m going to talk about how to finally get at that money. It’s like reading a book and never getting to the final chapter. I want to see what happens at the end of the book.”
He hopes his experience – both the successes and mistakes – can be a source of wisdom for other dealers. “I could teach them so many things and save them millions of dollars in mistakes I’ve made.”
Mostly, Walters hopes that dealers will simply come “with the right energy and the right effort” to get as much information from the conference as possible. “The Lord provides food for all the birds, but He doesn’t throw it into the nest,” At the conference, “we throw at you what we can, but it’s like three weeks of information in three days. You’ve got go out and get the information.”