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3 Expenses and 1 Investment Auto Dealer GMs Should Never Overlook

Posted by Brandon Weaver | Wed, May 21, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

Cost CuttingAs an auto dealer general manager, you have many expenses to consider: rent, advertising, employee wages, commissions, supplies… the list goes on. To keep your dealership running smoothly, you have to manage overall sales against these expenses – without going into the red.

You often ask yourself if your sales and gross profits are increasing or decreasing.  But are total expenses fluctuating proportionally?

To that point, there are a few common expenses that can easily get ignored in your monthly accounting procedures – and one investment that can kick your sales numbers to levels you only dreamed of.

Charitable Donations

Does your dealership sponsor a local sports team, sporting event, or music festival? Of course, you want to support your community and enjoy goodwill for doing so, but these can be expensive, often ranging into the hundreds or thousands of dollars. These types of expenses might only happen once per year - making it easier to overlook them. So the next time you write a check to have your dealership’s name and logo on sports jerseys or a banner at a community event, make sure you’re accounting for it in your company’s books.

Employee Training

Selling cars really is an art form for your sales staff. It’s imperative they have great people skills and can overcome objections. Fair or not, many consumers stereotype your salespersons as pushy, irritating, and occasionally downright sleazy. Salespersons can learn the nuances of overcoming this, and how to position your business and the auto industry by taking sales seminars and by attending auto conventions such as NADA. There’s even a guide available with nine scripts that help them combat the most common car sales stereotypes. That guide is free, but overall you might have to shell out quite a few bucks for seminars and conventions while still hitting your monthly sales quotas.


One of your salesperson’s main goals is to get people into the driver’s seat for a test drive. The more test drives, the more gas needed. In your service department, you may offer a shuttle service for customers waiting on their vehicle to be serviced - to pick them up and drop them off at home or their place of employment. The more customers circulating through your service department, the more trips you’ll be making to the gas station. Payment processing may require you to make bank trips for cash and check deposits when customers make down payments or pay for vehicle servicing. How often do you do that? Daily? Bi-weekly? Either way, your nearby gas stations eventually know you by name because you’re a frequent customer – be sure to account for this sometimes overlooked cost.

Payments Technology

Besides these expenses, you have others you are responsible for as an auto dealer general manager, but what investments do you make? One of the most overlooked investments for auto dealers is payments technology in the workplace. Sure debit and credit may be more convenient for customers in your service department, but do you like paying interchange fees each time a card is swiped? Not to mention, from a financing perspective, only a very small percentage of customers use plastic for their down payment anyway. Consider a check service like C.A.R.S. It helps you guarantee your cash flow, lets your salespeople provide customers with deal-closing down payment flexibility, and it allows you to make deposits right from your desktop… providing multiple dividends for many auto dealer general managers just like you.

Learn more about C.A.R.S. here:

auto dealer remote deposit capture

Topics: General Manager, Auto Dealerships

Written by Brandon Weaver