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Jason talks about the tools Carketa offers and how important it is for dealerships to look at recon processes as a part of their fixed ops processes.

Tactical Tips Episode #29 Transcript

BRAD: All right, guys, it’s Brad here back with another Tactical Tip Tuesday. We have Jason Berry. He’s the President and Co-Founder of Carketa. I recently ran across Jason when I was looking – I had a store that was a used car store that needed some help with some processes in-store, and he came highly recommended from Marcus Aman, which is high praise in my book. So, Jason, I know you guys do a lot of cool, innovative stuff. Tell us a little bit about Carketa and what it is and how it started, and then we’ll go into the processes you use that people might be able to extract some knowledge from and implement in their stores.

JASON: Yeah, totally. So the product originated out of, I guess, the need for my dealership to manage people, processes, and inventory, and that’s really where it started. Me and one of my good friends from high school co-founded the company together to build basically a system that you could plug and play any employee into it. You could customize your process to your dealership by anything from acquisition to sold. It is basically where we live and give you, like, a customizable process to be able to manage your people, your inventory, and your process, and that’s really where we live, including expense tracking, workflows, and everything related to what it takes to get a car to the front line. And that’s where we live.

BRAD: So this is really neat, right? Because this is a side of service that people don’t talk about, right. They talk about the front of the house. They talk about warranty work, about customer pay. So we’re talking about recon and getting cars ready and detailing cars, which is all fixed ops, right, so all fixed ops, parts, stuff like that. So what are some of the processes that you put in place to maintain that process, make it easier, make it more efficient, to really help dealers in those areas?

JASON: Yeah, we’ve always said there are a lot of really great tools for the sales process and tracking sales and the CRM stuff. But what about the legs that carry the body? What about the inventory it takes to get to the front line to sell the car? Now, how fast is the process? We work around the thought process of we’d rather sell the car twice than sell it once for a higher gross profit. Right, better customer experience, all that stuff. So yeah, I mean we built our system on a completion schedule to where you can set up your steps of the process and then as the car comes in, for example, in transit, like no one realizes how important it is. Is the car here, right? The first step of your process is in transit; your lot tech or your detail or whatever walks out, scans the car, and checks it off. The car’s here, right? Now everyone in the dealership is notified, ‘Hey, that car’s here.’ To where you really can set your employees up to receive notifications at each step of the process. So it’s automatically assigning your work based on your process without you touching anything. So all your used car manager does, or your GM or whatever, is just jump into the system to see where the car’s at. We have a Chrome extension. You can hover over the VIN and see exactly where it’s at for your sales guys, used car manager, GM, and just really break it down. When you receive a lead, where’s the car at, right?

BRAD: Well, I think that’s important too, right, to figure out what’s happened to the car, you know what’s being done, where’s it at. You know, you’re starting to see stuff like, you know, similar to what Marcus and those guys do at Bayley, right, what do they do? They track every single KPI on the technician side. So that’s super important on this side, too, because, you know, we want to make sure that we’re tracking. How do we get better if we can’t track things right? How are we tracking the process of recon? How are we tracking this process of cars coming in? And you know, maybe it’s not the shop that’s slow, maybe it’s the guys that are detailing, or maybe it’s the porter that’s taking it to the service department, or maybe it’s the used car manager that’s not getting all the information. You never know. So you can’t really figure out where the process is broken if you don’t have ways to identify that. So I think that’s a cool thing, and I think it’s much needed. Anything that can get things faster and more streamlined is really a big improvement over those processes. I know you got a couple of other things that you guys do. I know you guys have some inspection reports and stuff like that, so I know that takes it to a next level. Those are available for pretty much anybody to see, too, as it goes through?

JASON: Yeah, so as part of the process, pretty much, I would say a good majority of reputable dealerships are doing some sort of inspection process. Right. What is the car? I just bought this car at auction. What does the car look like? What does it need? And then being able to take and inject everything that they’re doing really great to the car. Did I put new tires on it, oil change? What am I doing to hold my dealership to a higher level that’s going to, in turn, bring that customer to my dealership? This is “why buy from me,” right. What we wanted to do is include that MPI into the process and then be able to present that MPI, if the dealership wants to, on the dealership’s website. We have an integration with CarFax, so you can automatically, if you choose, directly import your MPI process into CarFax and AutoCheck. That was done, I think, roughly three months ago. So as a car comes in, let’s say, it has an accident on Car Fax or whatever. It’s always been kind of an open-ending statement. What is the current condition of the vehicle? Helps you overcome objections with CarFax and really build confidence in your dealership. And that’s the MPI process.

BRAD: Yeah, I think that’s super important. Sorry, I had to plug my computer up, it was going down! We were gonna get cut off here. I’ve been on a lot of Zoom meetings today. So I think that process is legit. You know, I think that’s super important. I’ll give you an example. So my friend just bought a car this last week in the dealership, and it’s close to where I grew up. It’s not here in my home, it’s not here in Amarillo, where I live. But she gets the car, battery goes dead, the bag actuators are messed up, the brakes are squeaking because there’s over 50,000 miles, and none of that stuff was on the inspection right, and so the two-year-old car has 60-something thousand miles, but none of that stuff was on there right, and they just ran it through the shop saying like ‘Oh yeah, we’re good, we did the UCI out it,’ you know, but it wasn’t done. So it’s been a pain. It’s been ten days that they’ve had the car to try to get that done. So I think that you know, they cause themselves a lot of heartache after that. You think about the lifetime value of that person if you would have took care of her and done that. Guess what, she has a little sister that just turned sixteen, right. She’s responsible for the little sister, and she was looking for a car. You probably got another car sale. Not to mention that girl who’s sixteen, that’s gonna be her first car buying experience. How many cars is she going to buy? So I think a common theme that’s been running through these Tactical Tip Tuesdays, which is really interesting, is both sides are so heavily dependent on each other, and sometimes even there’s a rivalry between the two. But right now, where things are transactional on the sales side, it’s going to pay off to be more relationship-based, and the first part of being relationship-based is being transparent about what you’ve done to the car, being transparent in your own process, trying to try to minimize the process, trying to take as much stress off of the customer and the process as possible, and I think that’s a cool thing that you guys do in the process. What other products do you guys have that you focus on, or what’s like a process that you see most of the time is broken in most of the dealerships you go into?

JASON: Yeah, I think just that. Like there’s a lot of broken processes in a dealership. Every dealership’s in the business of making money, right? And that’s no secret. Well, what oftentimes happens is the faster and the least amount that they can put in the car (because they’re not going to get any credit for it on the sale), that’s typically what a lot of dealerships do. But if you give them a standardized process where they can essentially present a digital presentation of ‘hey, here’s the stuff that I did,’ a lot of dealerships are a lot more willing to put the money into the car. Put the brakes on the car. Do the right thing, you know, because the last thing you want to end up with is a five-page sheet of due bills after the fact. Right. It’s not good for your customer, it’s not good for you, and that has been historically a broken process. But online reputation is so important nowadays, with reviews and everything, and a lot of dealerships have a really, really great dealership and great people that work there. They just lack the process, they lack organization, they lack a mobile app where they can capture everything, and if given the right opportunity and the right software, it makes your life a lot easier.

BRAD: Yeah, I think that’s the biggest thing, right, is ease of use in the dealership. The due bills, that just pisses everybody off because the sales gets charged back, used car manager’s pissed because he had to pay for it. Right. So it affects everybody. So if you have a process that’s locked down that you don’t deviate from it and do what’s right every single time, number one, your service manager’s going to be happy because he’s getting a lot more internal work. Number two, it’s going to make the job easy on the used car manager and the salespeople because they know what’s going on. Plus, it gives them a sense of pride and a sense of safety in the vehicle, that they know that the stuff has been taken care of, which I think is really, really important for the consumers. So, you know, I know there’s a lot of processes are broke on that recon side, and I’ve even seen dealerships that have recon that’s twenty days out from the time that they get the car, and so I think this is legitimate to really shine some light on an area that we don’t think of on the fixed ops side of stuff as much, which is okay. The faster my recon turn is, the more money I make, right, and the more cars that they can sell, because if you go over three days or you go over that, you’re paying floor plan on those cars, right, and so it depends how long that car is on the lot, depends on how much floor plan you save. So it saves everybody money. And it saves money, but it also helps make money because you’re turning those cars a lot quicker out of the shop and everybody likes to make more money. Because you have technicians that are getting more hours in, you’re figuring out a lot more, and you could pair this with a lot of cool stuff, right. You could pare this with UV Eye. You can pair this with Bayley to really dial in your service department, where you have multiple KPIs, where you’re tracking all your processes, internal, external, customer pay, warranty. You even got Dinotron software that does stuff like money ball. So I think this is really cool. If someone wants to reach out to you, if someone’s interested, like, oh man, this is the coolest thing ever. Jason, what’s the best way for them to reach out to you?

JASON: Yeah,, you can email us that way. You can go to to learn a little bit more about what we do. There’s a lot of advantages to what we do. We’ve really built the system to be focused around turn. I think the future of the industry is turn. How fast can I turn it? Can I turn it twice? So, yeah, that is the best way to reach out is to schedule a demo. Happy to go over everything. 

BRAD: Yeah, they got back to me fast. I’m just telling you. I said it. I had two emails with them as quickly as they possibly could. So, Jason, I appreciate you for coming on, man. I’m sure we’ll cross paths in person soon. Hope you guys have a good day, and I’m glad we got a dealership that looks like they’re getting set up with you guys and getting rolling.

JASON: Awesome. Thanks for having me. Really appreciate the opportunity.

BRAD: Yep, absolutely.

Haile Clifton

Haile Clifton

Haile is the Marketing Coordinator at Fixed Ops Digital. She has worked in Digital Media & Design for 6 years and helps with internal marketing and Drive Service Specials deployment at FOD.

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