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Levels of Preparation

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Someone posted up a thought provoking phrase for me the other day and it's "over preparation" which it seems newbies are most guilty of and it's made me think. I realise this will be subjective as some traders literally throw a bucket of dirty water over their stock whilst others take their time to present it properly.

Probably best if I give a few examples;

1 owner 2007 A6 Avant, 128k, great history, S-Line, privacy glass, 18" rims, 2.7 TDI drives fucking spot on;

I did:

New MOT, oil & oil filter service (didn't get the book stamped it has a MDSH, yes, really) two smart repairs (one big gouge out of a door the other a whole bumper respray) got the driver lock changed as wouldn't open from the outside, 2 new tyres (fail on the MOT) and new front pads (advisory on the MOT)

I haven't done;

Passenger door sometimes won't open from the outside

2 owner 2009 A4 Avant, 99k, good history, S-Line, 18" rims, 2.0 TDI, now drives lovely;

I did;

New MOT, oil & filter service, new belt and w/pump, new (well, recon) AC pump as the existing one was rattling, 2 new tyres, 3 alloy refubs one bumper corner smart repair

I haven't done:

Fuck all, it wants for nothing.

3 owner 2009 Jaguar XF, 72k, good history, Premium Luxury Spec, 19" rims, 2.7 TDI

I did:

New MOT, oil & filter service, new battery (would start but occasionally spluttered, now fine) full colour change of rims (silver to grey) 

I haven't done

Fuck all, it wants for nothing.

As you can see I don't mess around, if it needs doing it gets done but am I missing profit here and could I prep less?

 

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I don't think it is the amount of prep you do that is neccessarily wrong, more the time it takes (delay in getting them listed and sold).  You're losing weeks in some cases before an advert goes live.  Also, IMO the A6 passenger door is going to bite you - arguably a safety issue?

90% of my stock is listed within 24 hours of purchase and then fully prepped and ready with new MOT, service (+ whatever it "needs") within 1 week and lately, sold within 20 days.

Only ones that fall outside of that is anything requiring bodyshop work (waiting does my head in) or electrical "issues" which seem to really drag on.

Caveat: Your images and presentation (pictures) are amoungst the best I have seen (lose some of the cliche IMO), your website is top quality, you advertise everywhere and have a funding partner, credit cards, self administered warranty - I think as a newbie, you should be applauded.

Just speed things up between purchase and readiness for sale is my only advice.

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I agree with Mark the passenger door needs to be fixed, it’s unsafe. BTW, no need to change the lock, it’ll be the actuator which is a really common fault, I’ve done loads of them. 

I don’t think you are over prepping, however I’ve never paid out for a belt n pump on a sales car. Also, never paid for wheel refurbishment either, but then I am tight. 

I also agree you’ve done a great job setting yourself up, you will find your own level of prep given time and experience. We all do things differently. 

BTW. Never compromise on safety. 

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Lack of access through a door is an MOT failure so I’ve no idea why on earth you’re getting bumpers painted, a service & new pads on a car that should be advertised as Spares or Repair, trailered away. Or of course, fix the issue.

On a serious note you’re doing too much prep., safety related to a car MUST be done, personally just about everything nowadays is freshly MOT’d & I applaude you doing a few MOT advisories. 

It’s probably not a case of you missing profit, more of missing sales as with a little less cosmetic prep. you could price cheaper - you’re an internet seller and, like it or not, 90% view/buy on price. What you loose on selling prices you should be gaining on lack of overheads.

Finally are you sure video appraisals are really the way to go? All they do is make half of the cars look like scruffy pigs & show to customers cosmetic flaws that otherwise 95% of them wouldn’t notice. Not for me at all & certainly not on 8-12 year old shite.

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It’s often difficult as someone walks away blaming something minor and you can beat yourself up but honestly were they ever really going to buy? Or would they just have found something even more trivial as an excuse to ‘have a think’?

we had a Kia Soul in white last month that had two small chips on the plastic pillar that runs up the drivers side of the windscreen. Gentleman comes with wife and says I couldn’t possibly cope going forward with that etc it’s been hit or whatever.

in all honesty utter rubbish. It didn’t even really warrant a touch in but that’s what I would of done if pressed, 4 days later normal guy comes from Huddersfield, best one he’s seen by far, paid and gone in 30 minutes.

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2 hours ago, Mark101 said:

I don't think it is the amount of prep you do that is neccessarily wrong, more the time it takes (delay in getting them listed and sold).  You're losing weeks in some cases before an advert goes live.  Also, IMO the A6 passenger door is going to bite you - arguably a safety issue?

90% of my stock is listed within 24 hours of purchase and then fully prepped and ready with new MOT, service (+ whatever it "needs") within 1 week and lately, sold within 20 days.

Only ones that fall outside of that is anything requiring bodyshop work (waiting does my head in) or electrical "issues" which seem to really drag on.

Caveat: Your images and presentation (pictures) are amoungst the best I have seen (lose some of the cliche IMO), your website is top quality, you advertise everywhere and have a funding partner, credit cards, self administered warranty - I think as a newbie, you should be applauded.

Just speed things up between purchase and readiness for sale is my only advice.

Thanks Mark, appreciate the positive comments greatly. 

I'll get the door sorted, I became exasperated at the fact it took me forever to find a nearside lock and then it was the wrong number of pins so I kind of said "fuck it" in my head but I will get it sorted.

I agree about the turnaround time, I tend to want everything spot on for the videos I make so that's why I can sometimes take forever to get advertised. I should learn that some things can always be highlighted as issues that are going to be fixed.

2 hours ago, Arfur Dealy said:

I agree with Mark the passenger door needs to be fixed, it’s unsafe. BTW, no need to change the lock, it’ll be the actuator which is a really common fault, I’ve done loads of them. 

I don’t think you are over prepping, however I’ve never paid out for a belt n pump on a sales car. Also, never paid for wheel refurbishment either, but then I am tight. 

I also agree you’ve done a great job setting yourself up, you will find your own level of prep given time and experience. We all do things differently. 

BTW. Never compromise on safety. 

Simon, when you say you have never paid out for a belt n pump do you mean as in fault rectification or you do them yourself? 

I agree about not compromising on safety, I was thinking the door opening was more convenience, it should have occurred to me there was a safety issue too.

34 minutes ago, BHM said:

Lack of access through a door is an MOT failure so I’ve no idea why on earth you’re getting bumpers painted, a service & new pads on a car that should be advertised as Spares or Repair, trailered away. Or of course, fix the issue.

On a serious note you’re doing too much prep., safety related to a car MUST be done, personally just about everything nowadays is freshly MOT’d & I applaude you doing a few MOT advisories. 

It’s probably not a case of you missing profit, more of missing sales as with a little less cosmetic prep. you could price cheaper - you’re an internet seller and, like it or not, 90% view/buy on price. What you loose on selling prices you should be gaining on lack of overheads.

Finally are you sure video appraisals are really the way to go? All they do is make half of the cars look like scruffy pigs & show to customers cosmetic flaws that otherwise 95% of them wouldn’t notice. Not for me at all & certainly not on 8-12 year old shite.

There's two ways of looking at highlighting flaws. The type of punter that will be put off by stone chips and pin prick dents are those that will turn up and look for them. Those that accept there are likely to be cosmetic imperfections are (in my tiny experience) the type to appreciate my openness and honesty and have said on numerous times "we thought if you can be honest enough to show a stone chip you'd be honest enough to show a bigger issue" or words to that effect. I certainly have started to show less in my videos of late my thinking is if I show one or two cosmetic flaws that should a cribber turn up and try and chip based on errr, chips, I can resolutely say "well, yes but it's all shown in the video which you viewed before coming"

Maybe the videos are not for you but in my eyes it disarms the "I never pay full price for anything" mob. I also love the sound of my own voice.

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I often think we go way over the top cleaning cars sometimes we take up to two days one day on the interior and the second polishing the car machine two stages and then a wax, i often comment that would be £500 min in a detailing center but that said they do look amazing when finished and often sell quick, would it have sold that quick with flat oxidized paint.

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1 minute ago, justina3 said:

I often think we go way over the top cleaning cars sometimes we take up to two days one day on the interior and the second polishing the car machine two stages and then a wax, i often comment that would be £500 min in a detailing center but that said they do look amazing when finished and often sell quick, would it have sold that quick with flat oxidized paint.

On a pitch I can see the benefit of that but I have tried both (machine polish and Sergei the Albanian polish) and on photos you can't tell the difference.

I do wet sand and machine polish bad scratches to reduce their appearance but as for two stage correcting the whole car, no chance!

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Why only a pitch if you get the lighting right the picture will stand out if the car is well polished of course color being a big variable, white will look clean silver will still look crap but a dark color with flawless paint still jumps out no matter where its parked pitch or not. 

Of course i am no expert i have never tried selling a car anywhere other than a pitch so just my take on it. 

 

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8 minutes ago, justina3 said:

I often think we go way over the top cleaning cars sometimes we take up to two days one day on the interior and the second polishing the car machine two stages and then a wax, i often comment that would be £500 min in a detailing center but that said they do look amazing when finished and often sell quick, would it have sold that quick with flat oxidized paint.

I must admit since we have started machine polishing (properly as well) everything since last year it does seem to have been a real positive. They get finished off with either a proper was or sealant so firstly they look the bees knees on the pitch, secondly, it makes life so much easier for the 'going out' valet. A flick with some water and dry and it's job done.

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8 minutes ago, sparky said:

I must admit since we have started machine polishing (properly as well) everything since last year it does seem to have been a real positive. They get finished off with either a proper was or sealant so firstly they look the bees knees on the pitch, secondly, it makes life so much easier for the 'going out' valet. A flick with some water and dry and it's job done.

Whats your favorite was (wax) :D

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58 minutes ago, justina3 said:

Why only a pitch if you get the lighting right the picture will stand out if the car is well polished of course color being a big variable, white will look clean silver will still look crap but a dark color with flawless paint still jumps out no matter where its parked pitch or not. 

Of course i am no expert i have never tried selling a car anywhere other than a pitch so just my take on it. 

 

As I say mate you just can’t tell in a photo. Don’t get me wrong I make sure the car is looking it’s best but you can’t see oxidised paint on a photo. Well, joe public can’t. 

53 minutes ago, sparky said:

I must admit since we have started machine polishing (properly as well) everything since last year it does seem to have been a real positive. They get finished off with either a proper was or sealant so firstly they look the bees knees on the pitch, secondly, it makes life so much easier for the 'going out' valet. A flick with some water and dry and it's job done.

That’s definitely a benefit of waxing! 

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Hi EPV, I think it was me who made the comment about overprep, and I can only speak from my own experience. I started out 6 years ago and despite the fact I was selling up to 3 k stuff, I was refurbing alloys, painting bumper corners, and repairing trolley dings because I was scared of losing a customer over what, with hindsight, was nothing to worry about. My problem was coming out of a main dealer where we did everything.

My experience now is to touch up small scratches, leave alloys unless they are bad (corroded or been whacked several times) and I honestly cant remember the last time I had the dent man round. If it needs paint it's done,

Safety however, thats another thing. Everything MOT'd before it goes on sale and checked over for impending doom. Like many on here, I prefer a punter with an element of realism who prefers to see an honest car with a couple of minor battle scars, which, when you're selling in the up to 5 k range, is what it is.  

You are dealing with different stuff to me, so you may need to do more - I prefer mainstream to semi prestige. You will find a balance of customer expectation and reconditioning costs, but you will be working on a larger initial margin to me (I hope). Just be sensible, we are all different with what we do. It took me a couple of years to work out what works for me, and I still have to tweak it every now and again.  

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if you mint the car out of its tree then if its a wanted car rather than suits you sir the first genuine person who has been trawling round pitches for a couple of days breathes a sigh of relief and gives you a sale

thing is once minted it only needs a quick wash and a dust out if its still there 4 weeks later

mirror image from autosmart goes a long way too

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I kinda disagree you can see faded paint a mile off it looks dull and grainy with no life, i am not saying your cars are like it the point i was trying to make was that sometimes i feel we go overboard. 

Just scrolling down the various adds the more it shines the more it draws your attention i think anyway.

a quick flick through some adds to find what i am trying to get across in picture terms see if that makes more sense. 

URL]

where as we would polish it to within an inch of its life and get 

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aw bollux i cant get the pics to upload i hate computers 

http://<a href="http://s90.photobucket.com/user/sextons/media/dull black punto_zps2glfz59s.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k252/sextons/dull black punto_zps2glfz59s.jpg" border="0" alt=" photo dull black punto_zps2glfz59s.jpg"/></a>

 

<a href="http://s90.photobucket.com/user/sextons/media/shiny%20punto_zpsc7saaxdf.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k252/sextons/shiny%20punto_zpsc7saaxdf.jpg" border="0" alt=" photo shiny punto_zpsc7saaxdf.jpg"/></a>

 

 

I give up why havent we got an edit post button or preview post button this forum is a little behind the times in some areas 

 

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2 hours ago, justina3 said:

I often think we go way over the top cleaning cars sometimes we take up to two days one day on the interior and the second polishing the car machine two stages and then a wax, i often comment that would be £500 min in a detailing center but that said they do look amazing when finished and often sell quick, would it have sold that quick with flat oxidized paint.

These are Lambos, Ferraris, Bentleys and Rollers though right? Just joshing, if you have the time and staff to do it then i'm sure it's worthwhile.

 

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6 hours ago, Mark101 said:

I don't think it is the amount of prep you do that is neccessarily wrong, more the time it takes (delay in getting them listed and sold).  You're losing weeks in some cases before an advert goes live.  Also, IMO the A6 passenger door is going to bite you - arguably a safety issue?

90% of my stock is listed within 24 hours of purchase and then fully prepped and ready with new MOT, service (+ whatever it "needs") within 1 week and lately, sold within 20 days.

Only ones that fall outside of that is anything requiring bodyshop work (waiting does my head in) or electrical "issues" which seem to really drag on.

Caveat: Your images and presentation (pictures) are amoungst the best I have seen (lose some of the cliche IMO), your website is top quality, you advertise everywhere and have a funding partner, credit cards, self administered warranty - I think as a newbie, you should be applauded.

Just speed things up between purchase and readiness for sale is my only advice.

+1 and if you ever want any advice or help drop me a message or give me a ring you know my website and the numbers there its only ever me who is daft enough to answer the phone.

 

4 hours ago, BHM said:

 

Finally are you sure video appraisals are really the way to go? All they do is make half of the cars look like scruffy pigs & show to customers cosmetic flaws that otherwise 95% of them wouldn’t notice. Not for me at all & certainly not on 8-12 year old shite.

How many videos have you done and what are you basing that on? What period did you leave videos on for? Did you measure the response?
For what its worth I don't point out any imperfections specifically as all used cars will have them.

  I sell far more with video than without and have tried both with and without. With video I take more deposits. With video customers are more softened up when they arrive and ready to buy. Its easier getting them to commit. It's been a game changer for me in the last 12months and boosted profits, brought down days in stock and increased good customer feedback. 


Also I over prep refurb loads of alloys, service cars, buff them paint them have them presented as well as I possibly can but I very rarely budge on price. Customers can't find  anything to whinge at or chip me on. Its never a new car but its new to them make it look as good as you can to take good money out of them. The trick is to getting all yours costs down and your production line and speed of having them ready to drive away as quick as poss in my book but we all have different approaches. 

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1 hour ago, justina3 said:

Whats your favorite was (wax) :D

Autoglym HD seems to do the job nicely :) However, when the sun is out and time is on short supply, can't beat a bit of Gtechniq C2 liquid crystal :) 

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1 hour ago, Rory RSC said:

+1 and if you ever want any advice or help drop me a message or give me a ring you know my website and the numbers there its only ever me who is daft enough to answer the phone.

 

How many videos have you done and what are you basing that on? What period did you leave videos on for? Did you measure the response?
For what its worth I don't point out any imperfections specifically as all used cars will have them.

  I sell far more with video than without and have tried both with and without. With video I take more deposits. With video customers are more softened up when they arrive and ready to buy. Its easier getting them to commit. It's been a game changer for me in the last 12months and boosted profits, brought down days in stock and increased good customer feedback. 


Also I over prep refurb loads of alloys, service cars, buff them paint them have them presented as well as I possibly can but I very rarely budge on price. Customers can't find  anything to whinge at or chip me on. Its never a new car but its new to them make it look as good as you can to take good money out of them. The trick is to getting all yours costs down and your production line and speed of having them ready to drive away as quick as poss in my book but we all have different approaches. 

You shift them quickly and you're honest with your videos : 'no major dents or scratches'

I'd love to see what that translates with on £10-12k 6 year old cars in real life.

If I'm ever up your way, I'll be sure to ring first !

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6 hours ago, EPV said:

Simon, when you say you have never paid out for a belt n pump do you mean as in fault rectification or you do them yourself? 

I don't do any mechanical work myself, its all farmed out. If a belt is due or if there is no history I simply leave it to the buyer... 

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7 hours ago, BHM said:

Finally are you sure video appraisals are really the way to go? All they do is make half of the cars look like scruffy pigs & show to customers cosmetic flaws that otherwise 95% of them wouldn’t notice. Not for me at all & certainly not on 8-12 year old shite.

I disagree completely. I get nothing but praise from my customers, videos absolutely sell cars and they are far better than pictures and a long winded description. Video gives you the opportunity to sell yourself and the car to the customer, people buy from people (maybe that's why you don't do it... haha ). Seriously BHM, if you had told me 5 years ago I would be selling all my cars by video I would have spat my tea out and laughed in your face.

I myself specialise in 8-12 year old cars, the more open and transparent you can be about the car the better. You do not need to pick out every blemish, that is simply daft..... You just need to say, "this is a 10 year old car and you should expect wear n tear commensurate with its age and mileage, it isn't new"...... You then walk round it praising it and pointing out how clean it and how well it has clearly been cherished by it previous owner, along with pointing out the few minor "bits of character" it has acquired over its years".

The video clarifies the customers expectations of the car and stops them from feeling the need to pick fault, criticise and chip you down. They know exactly what they are getting prior to travel and I can honestly say, I have not had one customer try to chip me on price. It makes selling the car a much easier, simpler and friendlier process.  :)

 

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Just now, Arfur Dealy said:

I have not had one customer try to chip me on price

Scottish guy on a Tuareg :-)

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6 minutes ago, Arfur Dealy said:

I disagree completely. I get nothing but praise from my customers, videos absolutely sell cars and they are far better than pictures and a long winded description. Video gives you the opportunity to sell yourself and the car to the customer, people buy from people (maybe that's why you don't do it... haha ). Seriously BHM, if you had told me 5 years ago I would be selling all my cars by video I would have spat my tea out and laughed in your face.

I myself specialise in 8-12 year old cars, the more open and transparent you can be about the car the better. You do not need to pick out every blemish, that is simply daft..... You just need to say, "this is a 10 year old car and you should expect wear n tear commensurate with its age and mileage, it isn't new"...... You then walk round it praising it and pointing out how clean it and how well it has clearly been cherished by it previous owner, along with pointing out the few minor "bits of character" it has acquired over its years".

The video clarifies the customers expectations of the car and stops them from feeling the need to pick fault, criticise and chip you down. They know exactly what they are getting prior to travel and I can honestly say, I have not had one customer try to chip me on price. It makes selling the car a much easier, simpler and friendlier process.  :)

 

When you think about it your actually doing the selling before they even turn up only you are in control showing them what you want, when you want and explaining the bits you want without them interrupting. Its what you would do on the pitch only now I reckon on 80% that have watched the vids I can welcome them when they arrive in person give them 5 mins to look on their own, come back out and answer a few questions before a brief test drive and they are in the office paying and driving off.

Come across as realistic and friendly you are already warming them up. I was genuinely taken aback by the results.

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Just now, Nick M.K. said:

Scottish guy on a Tuareg :-)

To be fair Nik, he picked fault with the faults I had already pointed out, not faults I had missed. He acknowledged my description was accurate, but had clearly decided prior to arrival that he was only going to me £500 less than agreed. However, I refused and kept his substantial deposit.  

3 minutes ago, Rory RSC said:

When you think about it your actually doing the selling before they even turn up only you are in control showing them what you want, when you want and explaining the bits you want without them interrupting. Its what you would do on the pitch only now I reckon on 80% that have watched the vids I can welcome them when they arrive in person give them 5 mins to look on their own, come back out and answer a few questions before a brief test drive and they are in the office paying and driving off.

Come across as realistic and friendly you are already warming them up. I was genuinely taken aback by the results.

Exactly.

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It’s always been about prep and presentation.The guys who do it best always do business.You can have a super website,nice photos,videos and you could be a good salesman, but if you are leaving stonechips on bonnets and chipped alloys it makes the job a lot harder.When we had an open pitch competing with many others on the same street,the prep and presentation was amazing because you only got one chance with the punters....If you had to get the jumper leads out or put fuel in,there was hell to  pay.

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