Why We Have Loaner Cars [THA 180]


Tom Lambert, owner of Shadetree Automotive. Tom Lambert got his start right at home. His dad and uncles always had projects going on in the home garage. During the summer vacation, his dad would have Tom remove engines from the vehicles that were being sent to the local machine shop for rebuilding.

In the past three and a half years, Tom and his dad have made strategic adjustments in the business. They are now a $2.5 million dollar a year shop with 10% annual growth and profitability. They continue to improve every day. Tom says he has the best team and a strong culture. In January 2017 Tom bought his dad completely out of the business.

Tom struggled for many years because he had lost his passion for the auto industry. After receiving all the guidance and coaching over the past few years, he is rejuvenated and has more passion than ever and is currently doing everything he can to pay it forward to other local shop owners. Tom’s previous episodes HERE.

Greg Buckley is the CEO the 50 + year young Buckley Personalized Auto Care in Wilmington, DE. He’s a member of ASA, an ATI Coach, a member of the Delaware Automotive Service Professionals, past member of the NAPA advisory board council, is vice-president of NAPA business development group. Hear Greg’s previous episodes HERE.

Key Talking Points:

  • DifferentiationDealers, especially at the higher end brands, have loaners
  • Billboard. Make impressions with every vehicle if you have it wrapped with your logo
  •  Tom is a front end guy,He wants to save money but also focuses on makin money
  • He knows he has to balance the budget
  • He finds extra sales upfront that more than covers his costs
  • Greg hesitated for year to get into loaners until he found a company to help him get into them properlyHe researched with other shop owners to find their loaner strategy and their ROI
  • He found that the numbers made sense and wondered why he hadn’t done it sooner
  • Greg has GPS on each loaner
  • Links discussed in the episode from Greg:Insurance Lancer: https://www.lancerinsurance.com/
  • Loaner manager: https://www.arsloaner.com/Manage GPS
  • Evaluates your ROI
  • Handles extra fuel
  • Creates a digital transaction
  • Each client leaves with a signature on the loaner car agreement
  • The vehicles that in the shop that had loaner cars had a large ticket
  • Tom has 13 loaner cars and he does approximately 15 tickets a day. He has a high average ticket  50% of his customers take a loaner. If they don’t need it they don’t take it
  • They balance the workflow and loaner schedule
  • Risk is an inherent part of providing loaner cars
  • Customer needs to have full coverage insurance
  • Tom puts a portion of the costs of the loaners into marketing against his marketing budget
  • Tom doesn’t have a minimum ticket to give out a loaner car. Even if an oil change he will give a loaner.Some dealers have a plateau or conditions that base if a customer gets a loaner car
  • Greg believes he will add to his fleet. He may even get a pick-up truck to help his commercial accounts
  • At the counter your two biggest objectionsTime: I need my car and can’t leave it (loaner car is tool to close that objections
  • Financing: Give them this tool to help close
  • Look at your opportunity costs. Tom finds on average $2300 wrong with every car. He knows that a loaner car and financing helps shore up these sales opportunities
  •  Greg had his advisors take out the loaner car out for a drive to get them in the ‘driver’s seat’



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About the author, Carm Capriotto, AAP

Carm is the founder and host of the Remarkable Results Radio Podcast and the pioneer of automotive aftermarket podcasts. Carm calls on his years of experience in the aftermarket to bring engaging stories from his guests.

Listen to raw, unfiltered, honest, and sincere stories that include insights, trends, best practices, and expertise. Each interview brings an opportunity to learn one new thing through the stories of personal achievement. Many podcast guests tell their story of transformation from working in their business to working on it.

As host of over 1,000 episodes, Carm uses his enthusiasm and passion for the aftermarket especially the service sector to take his listeners on a journey showcasing successful service professionals’ paths to Remarkable Results. He also enjoys interviews with aftermarket industry thought leaders who bring their industry perspectives to his listener.

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