Motor Trade Insurance

Top Tips for UK Car Dealers

top tips for car dealers on how to grow your business motor trade profit

Buying a car is a big investment, and it’s important for you, as a dealer, to understand that.

To help you help your customers, we have come up with a few easy-to-follow tips to make the whole purchasing process easier for everyone involved.

Perfection is Key

key ways tips to help grow car retailers businesses

No-one wants to buy a dirty car, so make sure you spend time thoroughly cleaning any vehicles you plan to sell, inside and out. Potential buyers could be put off from buying a car completely if it is dirty and neglected, whereas a clean car looks like a cared-for car, and could potentially add hundreds of pounds to its value.

If you’re advertising your cars online make sure all of the photos are sharp, in focus and taken when they are well-lit and dry. Have plenty of space around each car so you can fit the whole car in the image without any distracting background objects. Include extra images of important details such as alloy wheels and interiors.

Top tip: If you are selling a car from home, consider driving to a nicer area to take photographs, rather than have the car parked on the kerb outside your home.

Preparation

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Being prepared for the customer is vital. Make sure you are ready with all of the required documents and paperwork, as well as knowledge about the car. Be prepared for any questions the customer may have about the car, if you come across as well informed and confident, this will ease any worries or queries the customers may have.

There is currently a Plug In Car Grant available of up to £5000 off the asking price of electric and hybrid vehicles. Make sure you understand the ins and outs of the grant before dealing with a customer or recommending this type of car. If they enquire, be sure to have the information to hand.

Find out more about the Plug In Car Grant.

Knowledge is Power

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At the end of the day, you want to sell your cars, so when talking to customers or listing them online, you should push their best features. Make sure you sell the strong points and desirable features such as air-conditioning, leather seats and in-car parking features.

Keep up to date with new models, trends within the auto trade industry and technological advances. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders update their website regularly with new developments and statistics within the industry.

Our 2015 motor trade statistics infographic has been designed using the recent facts and figures from the site.

Be Patient 

being patient with your business waiting success

Buying a car can be daunting for some people, so make sure your customer service is at its best. The more helpful you are, the higher the chance is of them using you again, or at least recommending your company to a friend. Make sure you give a buyer enough space to consider the purchase rather than pressure them into making a hard sell.

If you are trying to sell cars quickly, using social media is a great way to engage with potential customers. Often people will prefer to browse cars online before viewing them on site. Posting offers and discounts on social media will encourage people to visit your showroom or at least enquire about the vehicles available.

Motor Trade Insurance 

motor insurance sales preparing your cars test drive

Make sure your Motor Trade insurance policy includes demonstration cover. Demonstration cover enables potential customers to test drive vehicles before they make the decision to buy. If you can’t offer a test drive to customers, the chances are they will not purchase the car. Would you buy a car before test driving it?

Make sure that you are fully insured as a motor trade business. Be aware that your home insurance won’t cover a home motor trade business. To find out more, read our article here. 

Customer Service 

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Ensure that all cars undergo a full service. This should include topping up oil and water levels, and making sure the tyres are correctly inflated and the car has a valid MOT. Little things like this help build a successful business, as customers are likely to recommend you to family and friends if they know you are trustworthy, so go the extra mile for the customer.

There is no point risking your business’ reputation by trying to sell cars which are damaged or in bad condition. Motor trade businesses rely heavily on word of mouth recommendations.

To make good use of any customer reviews your business receives, publish them online either via social media or directly onto your website.

To find out how to use social media as a motor trader read our guide here. 

If you work in the Motor Trade Industry, get in touch with Think Insurance today so see how much you could save on your Motor Trade or Part Time Motor Trade Insurance.

 

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How to Set Up a Motor Trade Business

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The motor trade industry in the UK turns over a massive £64.1billion a year and has created over 770,000 jobs according to a recent report by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Setting up a successful motor trade business can be daunting. The motor trade industry is highly competitive, but if you do your research and understand the market you can set up a highly lucrative business.

Here are our 10 easy steps on how to successfully set up a motor trade business in the UK.blog-post-assets-gls

Step 1: Research and Crucial Decisions

The first thing you need to do, if you are planning on setting up any business, is to do your research. In depth analysis of the industry can play a crucial part in deciding which type of business to set up. In regards to the motor trade industry, the type of business you could launch could vary considerably, from a small part-time valet to a second hand car showroom.

Having at least a basic understanding of car mechanics, vehicle value and industry trends will give you a huge advantage whichever business you decide to open.

Competitor research is a great way of finding out the where the best place to establish your business is. You should consider foot fall, proximity to other competitors and space before coming to a final decision.

blog-post-assets-cardkStep 2: Branding

Any successful business requires a strong, memorable name and branding. To begin to think of a good name for your business, you should consider what message you are trying to convey. Do you want people to think of you as a small family business or a quirky modern company?

Once you have picked a suitable name, you need to check if anyone else is already using it. You can do this be visiting 123reg.co.uk or namecheck.com.

For simple branding, think of three colours which compliment each other and incorporate them in advertisements, interiors and your logo. There are countless websites with further guidance and information on how to appear professional and visually appealing.

blog-post-assets-balanceStep 3: Funding and Finances 

The Government has a number of funds available for those looking to start their own business. To find out more information on funds which might be available to you visit https://www.gov.uk/business-finance-support-finder.

Often applying for such funds requires you to write a business plan. If you need help on writing a business plan please check out our handy guide: click here to read more.

If you have money saved up to invest in your company yourself make sure that you budget for any eventualities which might cost you money such as fines, refunds or tax.

To make sure you protect yourself and your business you should consider taking out appropriate business and/or motor trade insurance.

blog-post-assets-schStep 4: Tax

Register your business with HMRC, as a self-employed trader, you will now be responsible for filing annual tax returns.  So keep on top of your finances…what you have spent, what you have earned and everything in between.

It may be worth seeking the help of a bookkeeper or an accountant in the early days. Paying too much or too little tax could cause you a lot of problems.

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Step 5: Motor Trade Insurance

It is a legal requirement to have motor trade insurance, so make sure this is in place before you start to trade. Think Insurance are specialists in this area and are always on hand to help new businesses get on their feet.

Motor trade insurance will protect both yourself, your business and your customers.

Note: Home insurance will often not cover a home motor trade business. Read more here.

blog-post-assets-think-SOCIALStep 6: Is Your Business Online?

A website can help a business in a number of ways. Customers will be able to find you and contact you, you will be able to offer discounts and vouchers and people will be able to rate and review your services.

In this day and age having a website is something a customer will immediately assume you will have and without one you risk being seen as unprofessional.

There are a number of great sites to help you quickly and simply set up a website such as Go Daddy, Moonfruit and Site Builder.

blog-post-assets-think-social2Step 7: Marketing and Social Media

To find and gain the right type of customers for your business it is important to think about marketing whether this is through advertisements, offers or social media.

Advertising your business online is a great way of gaining new customers. If you are an auto-trader for example you might want to consider using sites such as eBay and Autotrader to advertise which cars you have available to purchase. Some sites are even free to use such as The Car Lot offered by The Motor Trade Club.

Offering discounts and vouchers on social media such as Twitter and Facebook is another easy way of attracting new customers. To set up business accounts on social media check out our Social Media Guide for Motor Traders.

blog-post-assets-qStep 8: Trade Plates

Trade licence plates can help you save time and money as a motor trader. Buying trade plates means you won’t need to register and tax every vehicle temporarily in your possession.

Similar to taxing a vehicle, trade plates can be valid from 6 to 12 months at a time and cost around £100.

To purchase trade plates simply visit the DVLA website

blog-post-assets-convoStep 9: Hire Staff

Hiring employees is often a difficult task as everyone tends to be on their best behaviour during the interview process. Consider offering employees a trial period to see if they are right for the job. This will allow you to assess their true character over a 3 month period and make a decision based on their performance.

 

blog-post-assets-heartStep 10: Customer Service

There is nothing more powerful in growing a successful business than positive and genuine recommendations.

If you provide excellent customer service you can increase the chance that you will be either rated online or verbally recommended to a friend or family member. This is the best way of gaining new customers and ensuring they return in the near future.

To find out how to provide excellent customer service as a motor trade check out our Essential Social Media Guide for Motor Traders.

Now you have everything in place, its time to get started!  Good luck and congratulations on becoming your own boss!

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Chamber of Commerce Insurance Discount

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Black Country Chamber of Commerce Members can now receive an insurance discount from Think Insurance.

The Black Country Chamber of Commerce is a membership organisation that promotes and furthers the interests of nearly 1,500 businesses based in the Black Country region. With businesses ranging from sole traders, such as independent financial advisors, through to international businesses, like manufacturing and engineering firms exporting goods across the world.

Now members of the BCCC can expect great discounts on their insurance with Think, after it was announced that we would be their chosen insurance service provider. Think were chosen because of our expertise in the area of Commercial and Business insurance, and now members of the BCCC can expect an exclusive discount.

Offering 50% off broker commissions, the BCCC will be able to get cheap cover for Public Liability insurance, Product Liability insurance, Employers’ Liability insurance and Commercial Legal Expenses. We also cover Money, Assault, Goods in Transit, Contents, Business Interruption and more specialist covers like Contractors All Risk.

The Chamber is run by President and local businessman, Ninder Johal who succeeded Paul Bennet in 2014. Ninder is the Managing Director of Nachural Records and Nachural Corporate Communications, whose event and video services help organisations communicate their brands.

As part of the BCCC, members are offered many other incentives from local service providers, such as free legal expenses insurance, reduced breakdown recovery insurance premiums and and access to salary sacrifice schemes for childcare vouchers.

Members are also invited to a series of networking events, trade events, focus groups and the BCCC’s prestigious annual awards shows where business is celebrated, and local businesses can meet and discuss trade specific issues and how they can be overcome.

Their quarterly surveys gather information from members that offer in depth insights of the local economy, and are so important to the region that the Government uses the data to shape their policies.

Think Insurance are specialists in creating tailored commercial and business insurance to our customers’ exact requirements. We ensure you only pay for the cover you need. To find out if we can help your business, please get in touch today.

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5 Motor Trade Money Saving Tips

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Tricks and tips to save money and increase profits at your car wash business.

Valet businesses are faced with a tough challenge every day as customer budgets shrink and demands grow ever larger. Customers now expect fast and excellent service for a low cost from their local car wash, putting the businesses in a tight situation to make ends meet.

In order to maintain the low costs for their customers while still supplying them with the best service, car washes need to cut unnecessary outgoings and reduce their maintenance bills.

To help valet businesses to cut those outgoings, we have researched different methods that could save them money. Some ideas will start saving businesses money instantly at no extra cost, but others may require some investment into the business, although the return could become quite lucrative once they have earned the money back.

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Lighting your location’s work space can be an especially difficult and costly task. The simple way to save some money is to replace your bulbs with LED lighting.

A traditional fluorescent light bulb has a lifetime that is 5-10 times shorter than the impressive LED fixture. Working for more than 60,000 hours, an LED fixture will give you nearly 7 years life, reducing the cost of maintenance, and because they use less energy they will also cut the cost of your electricity bill dramatically.

LED lighting is perfect for a valet business as it can also be produced as a sealed fixture meaning that the moisture from your washing equipment will not damage them.

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Keeping your location and workspaces clean and tidy will make your car wash run much more efficiently. A messy workplace can make equipment hard to find and it can also put customers off returning to your business. A clean car wash reflects well on your business and will make things run much more smoothly.

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Using the correct equipment such as high pressure nozzles whilst using a controlled amount of water will not only save gallons of water a minute and reduce your water bill, it will also increase the quality of your car wash.

We also recommend you begin recycling your run off water as soon as possible, remember that not only do you get charged for the water you use but also the water that goes down the plughole. With an effective irrigation system in place reclaimed water can be mixed with detergents and be used in the early rinses of your car wash. This could save 50-80% of the water you use altogether, saving you a great deal of money.

This is a huge step for a car wash business that will also result in making your business highly environmentally friendly. Once you have begun recycling water be sure to tell your customers on social media or any print marketing why you are doing it. Being responsible for the environment is excellent publicity and will warm customers to your business.

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Malfunctioning equipment can be costly to repair and if you are unable to carry on washing cars as quickly or at the same high standard, the time that it takes to repair your kit can eat in to your revenue and lose your customers confidence in your business.

If you want your equipment to last for longer without malfunction you need to train your staff on how to use it correctly and how to keep it maintained. Giving staff the correct training with each of the equipment will ensure they do not accidentally cause damage to it. You should also create a daily, weekly and monthly maintenance schedule, which outlines what needs to be done to keep your kit in check.

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If you pay hundreds of pounds for design and print costs when you create flyers or advertisements for your business, you might find that it’s actually cheaper and more effective to start using social media.

Using Facebook and Twitter is free, but if you would like you can pay small amounts to reach large numbers of people who will want to use your service. By uploading occasional limited-time offers, pictures of your location and current business updates, you can increase customer engagement and trust in your business.

Check out our essential guide to social media for motor traders www.think-ins.co.uk/news/the-essential-social-media-guide-for-motor-traders/ for our top tips to improve your brand awareness and business online. 

Think Insurance are a bespoke insurance broker that help customers looking for Motor Trade Insurance or specifically Valet’s insurance, for more information please get in touch with our expert team today!

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