Q: What are three things you should accomplish before the end of the year?

Julian says…

I am going to give you a different approach: What’s one of the things that you need to do every three years?

Think about what lawyer you would go to if you thought every dime you’ve got is on the line? Not the guy you use for the bankruptcies, who would you go to if you were in trouble? Bring all your documentation, a deal packet and all your policies and procedures. Ask the lawyer this one question, “What are the 10 worst things that you would want to defend me on, and what can we do about them?”

This might something as simple as a sign up in your shop that says, “No unsafe vehicles are to be driven by an employee or a customer. Safety is first.” That sign is going to cost $30. If you do work on a customer’s car and they leave with every seat full of kids and a wheel falls off just before the train crossing? (I know it’s a horrible thought.) But that sign makes the difference to every single person in a jury when they decide was this an accident? Or was it the result of a dealer that didn’t care about safety being more important that profit?

Q: How should you handle an employee or manager who isn’t living up to expectations?

Julian says…

I used to keep a little sign on my desk that said, “Respect is the foundation of all successful human relationships.” What’s the most disrespectful thing you can do to anyone? Simple, put your hands over your ears and do a 180-degree turn with your back to them while they are talking.

I don’t care how long you have been married. Don’t try this on your wife in a gun store.

The point of this is that the first step is to listen. Ask the employee how things are going. Then be quiet and listen. The second step is to think about what you’ve heard. Reflect some. Ask yourself if you have some responsibility in this person not measuring up. Then, put your thoughts in writing about specifically what the issues are, how they need to be solved, when, and what the follow up is.

If you are considering termination, respect the person and yourself by stating so clearly. Go over the document in the most respectful manner you can. Then give the employee some time to think about it and get back with you. Be sure both you and the employee initial or sign the document.

Q: What ways can help improve underwriting?

Julian says…

No. 1: Prayer — that points out that only God Almighty can really underwrite BHPH paper.

No. 2: Get the input of your collector. If they approve the deal, then they have a buy in to collecting it. They can honestly say to the customer, “Hey, I approved this deal for you. Help me by making the payments.”

No. 3: Review your repos and go look at them. Ugly, horrible, nightmare on Elm Street, how can people travel in a car that dirty?

No. 4: Just say no.

Julian Codding has been in the buy-here, pay-here business for more than 30 years with dealerships in Oklahoma. Codding was inducted into the NABD Hall of Fame in May. Do you have a question for members of the NABD Hall of Fame? Please submit your questions, ideas and suggestions to BHPH Report editor Nick Zulovich at nzulovich@cherokeemediagroup.com.