With NADA around the corner, it’s a great time to take a look at DMS options. I’m often asked what dealers should look for when considering a DMS switch. In recent years, technological advancements along with evolving consumer expectations have shifted the DMS from a system of record to a system of engagement. 

Start with an audit of the current DMS provider’s bill. Take a look at items you use and those that you don’t and any related costs. This cost inspection can also help you cut items from your current DMS bill such as an unused module. It can lead to negotiation for significant cost reductions with your current provider. Take a look to see if you have access to your own data or if there is a cost associated with this. And for true cost of ownership, add the cost of data charges with other 3rd party software companies that you prefer to us and integrate into your DMS. If you add those 3rd party pass through charges up and then add that to your DMS bill, that is your true cost of ownership. 

Does your system have an annual rate increase? DealerBuilt does not. Your term and your rate are in place at the initial contract signing. If you add new products or modules, that is obviously an add-on but get this, adding a new product does not extend the contract end date. A 3-year term is a 3-year term.

Dealerships regularly deal with turnover. How quickly can users get up to speed with the DMS? Some legacy providers still use dated green screens with a lot of awkward tabbing to access data and no real modern controls. Some are more modern with a mouse and a windows-like environment. These differences resonate with employees who have grown up with computing. It can be hard for them to adapt to the old school computing environment some systems demand. Our clients tell us that our system is very easy to learn for both the initial installation and when turnover happens and you have new employees. That’s critical.

Can you access the DMS from other locations when you are away from the store? It is important to have mobility so you can do business wherever you need and want to do business – not just at the store. Also ask yourself if your data is secure. It is one thing to be flexible and quite another to ensure you are well protected from the threats of modern cyber security. What protections are in place with the provider? What level of encryptions and level of security do they ensure?

If you have multiple rooftops, research how well the DMS allows you to manage each individual store as well as the overall group. Be sure to evaluate any related costs for each store and across the whole group so you can run two separate businesses and do that well. When it comes to enterprise functionality, not all systems are equal. A notable factor to consider is how a system can grow to accommodate multiple businesses and be managed at an enterprise level. You may not want to manage eight separate accounts but have a grouping for common customer and financial records, etc.

We’ve long thought the DMS to be more complicated than it needs to be. Simply, there are better options available. At DealerBuilt, we are creating innovative, thoughtful solutions that are relevant to the modern consumer’s experience and needs. It’s not complicated to change and you shouldn’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Come by our booth #3949W at NADA and let us show you how easy and helpful your DMS can and should be.

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