J.D. Byrider adds 3rd location in Arkansas

J.D. Byrider broadened its network footprint of buy-here, pay-here dealerships in Arkansas by bringing aboard its third store in the state.

The second dealership for franchisee Matt Enderlin is located at 3301 South Zero St. in Fort Smith, Ark. Enderlin also operates another location in Arkansas about 160 miles away in Sherwood.

The Fort Smith location totaling 9,000 square-feet not only has a sales showroom, but also six service bays. The dealership will also create approximately 15 new jobs.

“Fort Smith is a great community and an excellent area to expand the J.D. Byrider brand,” Enderlin said. “My staff and I are dedicated to bringing the same level of service and affordable financing to this new dealership as we do in Sherwood.”

This addition is the third J.D. Byrider dealership to open in 2016. The company now has 169 locations in 36 states.

“Matt is an exceptional operator and will serve our customers well with his expansion in Fort Smith,” said Tom Welter, vice president of franchising for J.D. Byrider. “He understands the value of our business model and operational support, both of which are driving the unprecedented unit growth we are experiencing.”

For more details, go to

Editor's Note: BHPH Report received notification that the opening of J.D. Byrider's store in Fort Smith was delayed until May 9 because of hailstorm damage.

One Road Lending to help soft-credit consumers with vehicle repairs

With one of the most important elements to a successful buy-here, pay-here transaction being a vehicle that remains operational, RepairPal recently broadened its offering with a financing opportunity for individuals who are unable to pay for their repairs with other methods.

This new finance company associated with RepairPal is One Road Lending, which executives say has an innovative consumer financing structure designed to fit the needs of underserved auto shop customers.

With more than 4 million unique monthly visitors, RepairPal is a leading auto repair website and one of the largest independent networks of trusted, certified shops focused on high quality and fair pricing.

If BHPH operators don’t have their own shops to make repairs, sending their contract holders to find the resources through One Road Lending could be way to get the vehicle back up and running. With a vehicle still in operation, payments can keep arriving to keep dealership cash flow positive.

“We aim to help as many creditworthy customers get back on the road as possible,” said Dusty Wunderlich, chief executive officer and founder of One Road Lending.

“A majority of Americans aren’t qualifying for traditional financing so services like ours are becoming increasingly essential for a quality customer service package,” Wunderlich continued. “RepairPal’s strict certification standards are the best in the industry and we are thrilled to offer support to its loyal users.”

One Road Lending’s flexible lease structure provides personalized financing for RepairPal users who may not have the available funds to pay for necessary auto repairs.

“We know that an unexpected or large repair can be a challenge to budget for any consumer,” RepairPal chief executive officer Art Shaw said. “We are leveraging our network to provide even more great services and we are proud to offer One Road Lending. They have deep, nationwide coverage and provide options for RepairPal consumers.

One Road Lending’s innovative underwriting evaluates more than just an individual’s credit score, reviewing hundreds of distinct personal data sets to extend individualized costs and terms to consumers based on their unique likelihood and willingness to pay.

“The broad data sets and lease structure often empower customers to gain access to financing who cannot access traditional financing,” the company said.

For more information, visit

2015 industry benchmarks finalized, ready for distribution at NABD Conference

Ken Shilson and Dustin Kerr spent weeks going over performance data from buy-here, pay-here dealerships nationwide along with portfolios from their related finance companies. Now the industry experts have finalized the new Benchmarks and Trends Report that will be shared during next month’s National Conference for BHPH hosted by the National Alliance of Buy-Here, Pay-Here Dealers.

Shilson, NABD’s president and founder, highlighted the latest report contains numerous graphs and charts together with a summary analysis so operators can understand both market and performance changes during last year. The summary also includes a forward-looking forecast of what’s ahead in 2016.

This year, Shilson worked on the project with Kerr, the newest BHPH moderator at NCM Associates. Both experts will be on stage at the Wynn in Las Vegas for NABD’s event that runs from May 24 to May 26.

“This report is the most comprehensive look at the subprime auto finance market we have ever done,” Shilson said. “I thank NCM, SGC Certified Public Accountants, and Subprime Analytics who contributed financial and operating data for the development of the report.

This is the 18th consecutive year we have compiled and issued a report containing financial, operating, and loss metric information which can be used by operators, capital providers, investors and others to evaluate performance and, where applicable, to compare their own results,” he continued.

“We carefully scrutinized the policies and practices used to generate the data to assure that all the information is credible. Although different accounting and operating practices are used in the industry, this report considers and adjusts for the major differences,” Shilson went on to say.

Past benchmark reports can be downloaded free of charge from the Subprime Analytics website at The archive covers the past five years. The most recent report will be posted in May prior to the NABD National Conference for BHPH.

More information about the conference — including the agenda, registration and links to discounted accommodations — is available at or by calling NABD at (832) 767-4759.

Shilson reiterated that NABD is a special industry group organized for the betterment of the BHPH industry nationwide, and has more than 13,000 members. Membership is obtained by attending NABD training and conferences, and members pay no annual dues.

“Our services are designed to complement and work with other automotive industry groups on matters pertaining to this segment of the automotive finance industry,” Shilson said.

Cox Automotive bolsters commitment to NIADA

Demonstrating what executives involved are calling leadership and commitment to independent dealers and buy-here, pay-here operators, Cox Automotive expanded its partnership with the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association on Thursday through NIADA’s National Corporate Partner program.

Seven Cox Automotive brands — including for the first time, Manheim— have been designated as National Corporate Partners for 2016. Six of the brands are Diamond-level NCPs, the highest partnership level.

“NIADA is beyond thrilled about expanding our relationship with Cox Automotive and strengthening our ongoing efforts to better serve the independent automotive industry through the several Cox Automotive brands," NIADA chief executive officer Steve Jordan said.

“NIADA dealers and members are committed to providing a better buying experience for their customers and offering top-tier service, much like the Cox Automotive philosophy,” Jordan continued. “This evolving partnership gives our members and the industry strategic access to the world-class suite of Cox Automotive products, services and brands and will allow our dealers to continue to lead their communities as best-in-class business operators. And that is really exciting."

Autotrader, NextGear Capital and vAuto renewed as Diamond-level partners and have been joined by new Diamond partners Manheim, Alliance Inspection Management and Dealertrack.

In addition, GO Financial has teamed with NIADA for the first time as a Bronze-level NCP.

“Independent dealers represent the backbone of the used vehicle industry," Manheim North America president Janet Barnard said.

“Through this partnership, Cox Automotive will broaden its support of independent dealers through training, education and consulting services, helping to further their business success,” Barnard went on to say.

J.D. Byrider promotes pair to be franchise consultants

With more entrepreneurs and franchised dealerships taking an interest in J.D. Byrider’s business model, the buy-here, pay-here chain recently promoted two of its employees to be franchise consultants.

Ascending into this role are Lewis Scott and Tim Bullock. This move aims to help J.D. Byrider continue in its growth mode, which included the opening of 12 locations last year and the anticipation of a dozen more joining the network this year.

“These two hires allow us more contact, more touches, more impact with our franchisees,” J.D. Byrider vice president of franchise sales and finance Jack Humbert said in a message to BHPH Report.

“Both Lewis and Tim are able and excited to provide operational value out of the gate,” Humbert continued. “We are thrilled to bring their capability and energy to the franchise system.”

Bullock is no stranger to J.D. Byrider, having served with the company for 11 years in positions such as branch sales representative, finance manager, managing partner, regional credit analyst, credit manager and most recently as general manager of the Beechmont branch in Cincinnati.

“Tim is a highly motivated and ambitious business leader with a strong track record of delivering strong results within highly competitive markets,” Humbert said.

Scott isn’t unfamiliar with J.D. Byrider, either, boasting six years of experience with the company as consumer credit analyst, branch underwriter, branch team lead and currently as general manager of the Greenwood branch in Indiana. He also spent a total of 13 years in various industry positions with Chrysler Financial, Wells Fargo Financial and AccuQuote. 

Humbert also mentioned Scott is an ethics teacher certified by the state of Illinois as well as a certified American Sports Education program coach.

Latest winners in NIADA Membership Drive Challenge

Along with highlighting its latest Bronze-level National Corporate Partner, the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association described how Dennis Pope of People's Financial Corp. in Mableton, Ga., “carried the ball across the goal line” to claim the top prize in the second quarter of NIADA's Membership Drive Challenge.

Pope led the association's football-themed membership campaign, which ran from November to January, by sponsoring 82 new members.

Other prize winners include Jayne Harris and Jenny Myrick of the Carolinas IADA, who brought in 44 and 40 new memberships, respectively. Julie Colgate of Independent Dealers Advantage in Suwanee, Ga., contributed 39 new members as Ohio IADA executive director Wendy Rinehart added 34 members and Debbie Braswell of the Carolinas ushered in 25 members.

The association indicated the winners will select from a group of prizes that includes

—Complimentary full registration for the winner and a guest to the NIADA Convention and Expo, coming up June 13 to 16 at the Mirage in Las Vegas
—An Apple Watch
—A GoPro 4 camera
—Autographed sports memorabilia from a team of the winner's choice
—A free subscription to NIADA's online dealer compliance training

NIADA mentioned the football membership campaign — part of a year-long membership initiative that began with a baseball theme — accounted for 380 sponsored new memberships, bringing the total from the first two phases to 614 new members.

The football promotion was followed by a basketball campaign that wraps up on Thursday. The membership drive’s last lap — an auto racing-themed promotion — begins in April and runs through May 15.

“NIADA’s membership initiative has been a tremendous success so far, but it is far from over,” NIADA president Frank Fuzy said. “Once again, I urge every member, every auction and every vendor to get involved so we can finish strong.”

AutoRaptor now a NIADA National Corporate Partner

In other association news, AutoRaptor, a provider of Web-based customer relationship management, Internet lead management, sales and marketing applications for independent dealers, teamed with NIADA to become its latest Bronze-level National Corporate Partner.

“Our partnership with NIADA has been an exciting way to give even more independent dealers of all sizes access to the most intuitive CRM platform in the market,” AutoRaptor director of business development Isaiah Osofisan said.

“Keeping pace with the needs of independent dealers has been our primary focus, and we're excited to be able to reach NIADA member dealers who are invested in technology for the continued success of their dealerships,” Osofisan continued.

“Too often dealers are left with ineffective options for their business and AutoRaptor's philosophy of simplicity coupled with a suite of powerful features, provides dealerships with a dynamic tool to capitalize on every opportunity and see a direct increase in profits,” he went on to say.

With a focus on leading edge technology for customer data management and through its partnership with NIADA, AutoRaptor is offering special setup and integration pricing for its full suite of CRM capabilities, including

—Lead assignment and sales workflow
—Push and pull integration with many dealer management systems
—Inventory and website integration
—Mobile apps
—Email marketing

“AutoRaptor is a leading independent auto dealer CRM provider, with easy-to-implement, cost-effective, high-impact solutions," NIADA senior vice president of member services Scott Lilja said.

“AutoRaptor has been a longtime supporter of our industry and NIADA and I am pleased to announce their endorsement as our newest National Corporate Partner,” Lilja added.

For more information, including special NIADA member pricing, visit or call (888) 421-6533.

Tax refunds $1.3B behind last year’s pace

Cox Automotive chief economist Tom Webb playfully pointed out via social media how much tax refunds are down year-to-date, according to the latest update from the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS indicated that the agency has processed 65,441,000 refunds through March 18. That figure is off by 1 percent compared to where the IRS stood a year ago.

Thus far, the IRS has distributed $189.896 billion in refund money, a figure 0.7 percent lower than at the same point last year.

In a tweet, Webb said, “Hoping my refund — still waiting — will make up that $1.3 billion gap.”

If Webb’s refund is in fact that much, the sum would be incredibly higher than the average the IRS reported. The agency’s data put the average amount received by taxpayers at $2,902.

Also of note, the average refund for taxpayers who have direct deposit was slightly higher, according to the IRS’ year-to-date information. That figure stood at $3,045 as the IRS reported that it has sent $175.850 billion back to taxpayers so far this year through this method.

Manheim dissects what $5,000 buys at auction nowadays

A segment of Manheim’s 2016 Used Car Market Report asked a question most buy-here, pay-here operators consider when they scour the lanes or online platforms to find inventory not only that will turn but will last for the duration of the installment contract.

To answer the question of what $5,000 will buy, Cox Automotive chief executive Tom Webb acknowledged in the report that rising wholesale prices often triggers headaches for BHPH dealers since they need to find vehicles their customers can afford, but can run the term of the note with minimal repairs.

To give a sense of just how much wholesale prices have gone up over time in the lower price tiers, Manheim looked at the average mileage on auction vehicles that sold between $4,000 and $6,000 during the past 16 years. Back in 2000, if operators spent an average of $5,000 for a vehicle at auction they acquired a vehicle with 84,541 miles.

“Average mileage slipped over the following three years as wholesale supplies grew and the overall pricing environment weakened,” Webb explained in the report.

But between 2003 and 2014, Webb pointed out that the average mileage for the typical $5,000 wholesale vehicle purchase rose every year, except for the recession of 2008 and 2009. A year ago, Webb mentioned BHPH dealers got a slight reprieve as the average mileage on a $5,000 auction purchase dipped but remained above 120,000 miles.

During a conversation with BHPH Report, Webb elaborated about the kinds of vehicles that fit that price parameter nowadays.

“It’s certainly a mixed bag,” Webb said. “Certainly a vehicle with six digits on the odometer is really not an issue in terms of running the terms of the note if you have some feeling about its condition level. Some makes and models have better reliability over time than others.

“The buy-here, pay-here dealers, as you know, are extremely knowledgeable of those units,” he added. “Typically they’ll have some makes and models which are on their black list which they will not buy at all for those reasons. But with any model, the condition can vary quite substantially depending on how it was used or abused.”

BHPH operators and other independent dealerships should benefit from the overall lift in wholesale volume, according to Manheim’s report.

As wholesale supplies grew a year ago, Webb explained independent dealers were better able to secure inventory that met the needs of their individual customer bases.

“As a result, unit sales grew considerably faster than in the prior two years, and at a pace that was higher than that of franchised dealers,” Webb wrote in the report. “Earlier in this cycle, many independents suffered as a result of a lower flow of wholesale units from franchised dealers, fewer desirable trade-ins, and reduced auction supplies.

“With all of those sources’ returning to normal volumes, independent dealers should have another good year in 2016, especially if all-important credit conditions remain favorable,” he went on to say.

7 key drivers for success during tax refund season

By the time this article is published, buy-here, pay-here dealers will be well into the 2016 tax refund season. The good news is that tax refund advances are back for the first time since 2012.  The bad news is that refunds are tracking behind schedule through February, but are starting to “trickle through” as we head into March.

Will the 2016 tax refund season be a boom or a bust for your BHPH business?   Many BHPH dealers forecast for as much as 40 percent of their annual sales to be generated during the tax refund season. The most successful BHPH dealers plan ahead for this time of year in several facets of their business. 

Many will ramp up vehicle inventory levels in anticipation of increased sales numbers. Some will implement a tax refund program to process tax returns directly from their BHPH location. Others will change their advertising message to encourage customers to use their tax refund as a down payment on a newer vehicle. Still others will use a tax refund to help customer bring their delinquent loan payment to current status by applying a portion of the tax return to the delinquent account.

However, just adding a large numbers of new loans during the tax refund season does not translate to success in a BHPH operation. Collecting on those loans is where true success is measured, and that success may not be known for two or three years.

It’s the lure of a large down payment.

Most BHPH dealers will see a sharp increase in sales during the tax refund season. However, approving loans just to hit aggressive sales targets could actually backfire on a dealer in the BHPH business. Tax refund season means that customers will generally have larger down payments compared to other times of the year. 

A recent survey of BHPH dealers showed that a large percentage of dealers would let a large down payment influence their loan approval decision. Some dealers feel that a large down payment gives the customer “skin in the game”, and as a result the customer is less likely to default on their loan. Other dealers believe there is no direct correlation between the amount of down payment and the likelihood the customer will default on their loan.

These dealers believe that the down payment and the customer’s ability to pay should be evaluated separately.

With those factors in mind, here are the seven key drivers to success during the tax refund season. The most successful BHPH dealers will tell you that one of the keys to success during the tax refund season is to maintain discipline in the underwriting and verification guidelines that you have established. In addition, the following key drivers to success also apply:

1. Don’t take shorts cuts to approving a loan application because of a large down payment.

2. Don’t skip steps in the underwriting process such as pulling a credit report, getting a loan application with three years prior history on residence and employment, and getting a minimum of five references with verified phone numbers.

3. Don’t put the customer in too much payment.  A large down payment should be used to improve deal structure (lower the payment, shorten the term) but not to approve a loan.

4. Calculate a net pay to payment ratio before a loan decision is made to verify the customer can afford the payment. One of the most common mistakes BHPH dealers make is putting the customer in more payment that they can afford.

5. Don’t let installing a GPS or starter interrupt device influence your loan decision. A customer with a high net pay to payment ratio or poor job or residence stability will be a problem customer regardless of installing a GPS or SID device.

6. Insist on getting a co-buyer on the loan application with every opportunity.  The co-buyer provides an additional layer of security to protect the loan payment from going into default.

7. Don’t be too quick to pull the trigger on repossessions. Most BHPH customers will struggle with their loan payment at some point during the term of their loan.  They may need frequent payment arrangements to get their account back to current status. The most successful BHPH dealers will work with their customers, keeping them in the vehicle and making payments.  For these dealers, repossessing a vehicle is the last option.

The tax refund season can provide a big boost to a BHPH dealers annual business results.  However, big sales numbers during tax refund season can be deceiving.  The key to success in BHPH financing is not just putting loans on the books, it’s collecting out those loans!

Mark Dubois is president of Dealer Performance and Consulting. He has more than 30 years of experience in the automotive business ranging from sales, dealership management, recruiting and training, e-business, marketing and BHPH management. His website can be found at, and he can be reached at (941) 729-2357 or

5 data-driven strategies to acquire more customers

With more tax refund money coming into potential buyers hands, DealerSocket unveiled a five-step customer acquisition plan for independent and buy-here, pay-here dealers on Tuesday.

Backed by the company’s most recent internal data and a survey of dealerships nationwide, DealerSocket highlighted the plan covers what executives called “low-hanging-fruit strategies” that dealers can implement right away to attract and convert more leads.

“It’s tempting for Independent dealers working in the trenches every day to get ‘tunnel vision’ about their marketing efforts. If the numbers aren’t where they need to be, the automatic response is to just try harder,” said Matt Redden, chief marketing and sales officer at DealerSocket.

“Instincts and subjective observations are helpful, but dealers must also prioritize reliable, black-and-white data. It can reframe challenges and uncover solutions they may have never noticed otherwise,” Redden continued.

DealerSocket recommends implementing the following strategies for the quickest results in lead acquisition and conversion:

THE PROBLEM: Phone leads are underperforming.

With lower close rates, longer sales cycles and lower profit margins, phone-sourced leads provide tremendous opportunities of growth. Independent dealers take 37 percent longer to close phone leads whereas franchised dealers only take 18 percent longer. In addition, phone leads result in a mere 14 percent of independents’ sales. Perhaps most challenging of all, phone leads bring in about $307 less profit per sale than other lead sources. 

THE SOLUTION: Focus on phone training and call management efficiencies.

DealerSocket estimated independent dealers can make an average of 2.86 outbound calls to each phone prospect, while focusing more time on floor leads (4.13 calls) and Internet leads (3.82 calls). As a result, phone leads have only a 5 percent close rate. Implementing phone sales training and call management technology can help narrow the competitive gap with franchised dealers. 

THE PROBLEM: Traditional marketing no longer works.

Radio spots, TV ads, billboards and tent sales are mainstays of most dealerships’ marketing plans. But the ROI just isn’t there anymore. Conventional media now bring in an average total profit of $1,702 per vehicle, while digital marketing rakes in $2,514 per sale. In today’s increasingly digital world, dealers must relinquish preconceived ideas and embrace the media that work.

THE SOLUTION: Digital media results in more sales and costs less.

In many cases, DealerSocket said a lower price translates to lower performance. But executives insisted it’s just the opposite with digital marketing, which includes websites, social networks, email, smartphones, tablets and kiosks. According to DealerSocket data, it costs $150 of digital marketing to sell one car. Compare that to $1,581 of traditional media. If you stick with conventional methods, you’ll pay 10 times more than necessary.

THE PROBLEM: Third-party lead generation can be expensive.

Some dealers believe they must directly pay for more leads. They don’t think they can produce new prospects organically through resources already in place. While third-party lead generators can certainly work, the question boils down to cost effectiveness.

THE SOLUTION: Optimize your website for maximum visibility and efficiency.

DealerSocket determined about 35 percent of independent dealers’ leads arrive through their website, making it the No. 1 lead generator today. The company added it’s also one of the easiest to optimize for even more impressive results. Invest in organic search engine optimization and marketing so customers can find you. Also keep in mind that inventory pages are the most visited section of any dealer website. They should be well organized and fully searchable, while offering multiple calls to action so you can secure more leads.      

THE PROBLEM: Digital efforts do not account for user demographics.

Many businesses — dealers included — build websites for themselves rather than their end user. Do you know who is visiting your site, what they prefer in a user experience, and how your content displays on each person’s device?

THE SOLUTION: Pay special attention to mobile and tablet users.

Independent dealer websites can receive about half of their traffic from mobile devices and another 10 percent from tablet users. So DealerSocket suggested that dealers must prioritize responsive Web design that optimizes the user experience, regardless of how the user accesses the Internet.

Also, the company recommended that operators get to know their online shopper base, which typically consists of 65 percent males and 35 percent females. While age ranges are distributed fairly evenly, the majority of online shoppers are between the ages of 25 and 44.

THE PROBLEM: Many leads aren’t yet ready to buy.

Try as you might to bring in new customers, you may find that the majority of your leads are earlier in the purchase process – making it seem that even your strongest closing efforts fall on deaf ears.

THE SOLUTION: Leverage a data mining solution to boost trade-ins and intercept customers when they’re most likely to purchase.

DealerSocket acknowledged that data mining tools have long been a staple of the franchised dealer industry with about half of dealers using the technology. The results are clear cut — 75 percent of deals generated from a data mining solution result in a trade-in. On the contrary, DealerSocket noted only one out of every 10 independent dealers take advantage of data mining, and the small number of trade-ins follow suit (about 19 percent of deals).

The company explained today’s market includes affordable solutions geared specifically toward independents. By leveraging data mining to identify and target customers for vehicle buy-back programs, dealers can accomplish two desirable goals:

— Aid inventory acquisition efforts by purchasing quality vehicles from past customers.

— Increase sales as customers replace their old vehicle with a new one.

For more data-driven recommendations, operators can download DealerSocket’s free Independent Dealership Action Report here.