Yes Mom, I’m a Dealer
September 18, 2007
One of the more interesting parts of starting Evenlevel has been the fact that I get to tell people that I am now a used car dealer….actually a licensed used car dealer. When I tell people the news, I always get a bit of a funny reaction and yes, I find myself telling people this with an overly sheepish grin on my face. Why is this?
I was reminded of the industry’s reputation again yesterday as I read a great blog post from an up-and-coming personal finance site Mint.com. The article says:
Greedy dealers will do anything to nickel-and-dime you and jump as much money out of your pockets as possible. Some outright lie. Some even break the law. Just be warned that these dealers aren’t always Boy Scouts, and reading this article is preparing you for many of the steps you can take to avoid a bad deal.
I was trying to think of any profession that has the name “dealer” in it that seemed somewhat reputable. Let’s see, drug dealer (no), arms dealer (no), art dealer (YES!), and then car dealer (again, no). So we’re stuck with illegal activities, car dealers, and art. I’m glad that art dealers have stuck around, my dad, Brad Clever is an artist and does amazing work and of course I’m happy that a reputable profession has stuck with the name “dealer” and can move his wares.
Why do car dealers specifically get a bad rap? I’ve come to the conclusion that they’ve earned it. The other founders (I promise I’ll refer to them by name once they’ve introduced themselves) and I have had quite a few business development meetings over the past few month, several of which have been with car dealers, and we’ve learned that the reputation of used car dealers in particular has been somewhat…..well…..earned.
Why do we as consumers have to go to a dealership and worry about bargaining down the price of a car? How about you show me your lowest price and let me decide if I want to buy at that price or not, and oh why you’re at it, how about you tell me something useful about the cars I’m looking at that would help me determine if the car is a good fit for me or not. Also, why do dealers have to go back and forth to their “manager” so many times during the negotiation process of a car? I could go on and on about dealer tactics and the slimy sales tactics of many dealers out there, but you all know the story. Don’t get me wrong their are plenty of reputable and up front dealers out there, but the whole industry has a reputation for a reason. At Evenlevel we’re trying to tackle this reputation head on and hopefully offer a better place to buy a car.
In recent years Carmax has done a great job of getting people through their doors by offering a “no-haggle” shopping experience. They’ve got huge “feel good” dealerships throughout the country and have really refined their sales process so that its hard not to buy a car when you walk through their doors. We whole-heartedly believe in this no-haggle philosophy as well. Evenlevel does not have the huge overhead and advertising expenditures that Carmax deals with and we’re able to crush them on pricing and put more money back into the pockets of our customers. The great thing is that we’re able to do this with a ton of transparency and with none of the guilt that I’m sure every used car dealer feels.
I have told my mother about this business, and our commitment to transparency and making the used car buying process easier and cheaper, and I feel that she can proudly tell her friends that her son, Harvard degree and all, is a used car salesman.