Are you a new car dealership? I have seen many dealers, new and experienced, and have developed a list of suggestions that will save you time, money and make you more profitable and efficient. It is the small things that you do now that will save you a headache in the future. Here are my 5 recommendations as they relate to the DMV and your business.

  1. Hire a DMV clerk or a DMV registration service: It is painful for me to watch new car dealers go into the DMV. They are filled with questions on this needlessly complex system at the DMV. The worst is that the DMV employees are not staffed to teach people how to figure out their system and they don’t have the patience, they will say, READ THE MANUAL! The DMV is not the place to learn how to fill out forms and process your paperwork correctly. The DMV is a processing center. You must be ready with everything in order. The registration and titling of a vehicle is a completely different system and rhythm than the sales and marketing of a vehicle. It is therefore why I highly recommend that you hire an expert DMV clerk OR outsource it to a DMV registration service like Quick Auto Tags. For $30 you can transfer the burden of having to figure out the DMV and their processes to us. In addition, most of the things that we do for our clients are done in house through our provider, meaning our turnaround is a day or less, meaning, your deals get funded quicker, your customer is happier, and you can worry about 1 less thing and focus on selling. In addition to this, you don’t have to worry about payroll, worker’s compensation, and payroll taxes. Either way, do not take the DMV part of your business lightly: you must have someone knowledgeable and dedicated to the task to get it done for you.
  2. Acquire the ability to run vehicle reports/KSRs: This is the #1 way to verify what is going on with this vehicle’s title. Anyone can come into your dealership with a registration or a title, but you have to verify that the information on it is accurate and reflects what is going on with it in the DMV database. With this report you will be able to verify ownership, a car’s branding (like if it’s salvage, junked, or a clean title) and in some cases how much a vehicle owes in California registration renewal fees. This report, which ranges in price between $3 to $10, depending on where and from who you get it, will save you a lot of headache. You can sign up directly through providers such as or another third-party provider, and you will be able to run this report yourself, or, you can pay someone like our agency,, and we can run them for you (we charge $10).
  3. Order a custom deal jacket: Up until this point I have never seen a dealer have one of these, but I highly recommend it. Most of them buy generic deal jackets, which has options for a lot of things that are not relevant to their dealership operations. If your dealership only documents a few things, such as if a smog has been done, or a VIN verification has been done, or the fee calculation, or if it has a finance company, then my recommendation to you is to make your own custom deal jacket. These deal jackets will help you keep track of the things that have been done to the vehicle and just as important what has not been done. It will keep you organized and will help you a lot in getting your stuff done properly and quickly, and, also, it will help your registration service, if you should decide to hire one, to know what’s going on with the vehicle. Communication between you, your staff, your vendors (VIN verifiers or DMV registration service) is ESSENTIAL.
  4. Have an in-house VIN verifier: Now this suggestion does not necessarily benefit me, as a private VIN verifier that gets paid to do VIN verifications for dealers, but you as a new dealer, or ANY dealer, will definitely benefit by avoiding the headache and cost of having to either ask the customer to bring the car back for a VIN verification, or hire a private VIN verifier to go to their house, or, having to Mickey Mouse something up (never recommended). I have dealers that call me for 1 VIN verification, you do not need to be calling a private VIN verifier for 1 car. First of all, you don’t want to pay the full cost of a VIN verification, because no VIN verifier will come out for just 1 car without charging an extra cost, unless you have a special relationship with them. Having an in-house VIN verifier helps you avoid this scenario. I work with a dealer right now that is licensed to do VIN verifications, but only does it on those few that fell through the cracks, and hires me to do the bulk of them. This is what I also recommend for you. To become a VIN verifier doesn’t cost much, and they are easy to perform.
  5. Electronic key holder/key management: I have been to medium to large dealers who have NO idea where their cars are, which is fine, but what is worse than that, that they do not have a proper key management system. To locate a car is one thing, to locate a key is another. Your staff (porters, salesmen, VIN verifiers) will be very unhappy when they spend 20 minutes or more looking for a car, because you have no system of locating them, or a key management system. There are many electronic solutions out there, however, if you cannot afford that as a startup, plain and simply develop a system and be disciplined about it. People tend to not care what happens next after they are done with the key or the car, and it becomes a nightmare situation for anyone that has to locate that car. Save your staff and yourself time, and MONEY!

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