In 2015, Mark Beneke purchased Westland Auto Sales from the father. Mark Beneke
Mark Beneke, co-owner and acting manager of Westland Auto Sales Fresno (California), is Mark Beneke.
In 2015, he bought out his father and now runs a "buy Here, Pay Here" business.
He earns upwards of $500,000 per month. Kim Dahlgren, a freelancer, tells the story.
This essay tells the story of Mark Beneke (30 years old), a Fresno car dealer about his business. This essay has been edited to improve clarity and length.
Westland Auto Sales is owned by me and my brother Eric. In 2015, we took over the business and have increased the portfolio to $5 million. It was $500,000 in 2015.
My family was born in El Salvador. I immigrated to America in 2000 in pursuit of the American Dream.
In 2007, my father founded Westland Auto Sales. He owned the business and continued to work there until my brother and me bought it out in 2015.
Our company is unique in that it's a "buy here and pay here" dealer. This means we don’t finance cars through banks, but rather in-house. This model offers a better return on investment but is more risky due to the clientele.
Since 2005, I have been acting as sales manager.
Every morning starts with a meeting which includes our sales team. It can last anywhere from 15 minutes up to an hour depending on the day. We distribute any leads and complete the paperwork for any pending deals.
We do all the underwriting in-house so we can evaluate each customer on the basis of income and other factors. We then make sure that the sales team takes calls with customers and greets them in-store, before leading them through the process of buying a car. There are now 15 employees, up from seven in 2015. Four of them are currently in sales positions.
We have been successful because we are able to distinguish ourselves. We don't try to compete against larger dealerships or lenders.
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We are striving to be the best buy-here, pay here dealer in our region.
Our clients are often people with lower incomes or poor credit scores who can't get loans elsewhere. We treat our customers like people. They are our top-tier customers. They know that we care and see it.
Customers also get a free warranty and down payments starting at $500. This is a significant difference from other in-house dealers in the area. Some buy here, pays here dealerships require 50 to 60% down and sell cars with hundreds of thousand of miles. It's a "bleed model" - the customer is being robbed of all their assets. It doesn't matter if they return. That's not how we would feel about running our business.
The primary way we acquire inventory is through retail auctions. These are only open to licensed dealers.
We accept trade-ins as well, even though the supply chain effects of the pandemic also have an impact on our business.
We used to buy about 15 cars per week before the pandemic. Now we only purchase three. Prices have increased all over the board. You might be able to buy for $13,000 or $14,000 what you bought 10 years ago.
After we have identified and purchased the vehicles that we are interested in, we take them back to the in-house shop for a safety inspection. Then we fix them up and put them on the lot.
The time of the year will determine how many cars we have.
We stock up on inventory near the end of each year for tax season, which is our busiest period of the year. Many people want to buy a car when they get their tax returns.
We usually have between 100 and 120 cars at the beginning of Q4. We may have 130 to 140 cars by January. We'll drop to 70 by May. We're currently at 70 because of supply-chain problems.
Despite this, our current focus is on increasing sales. We have a steady increase in our portfolio with an average of 35 sales per month. We have exceeded our goal of increasing our monthly "quota" for car sales to 42.
Our monthly average revenue is more than $500,000
We are seeing the same number of buyers as we did pre-pandemic.
My brother and I hired two new employees in July to replace our dealership's front-facing positions. We are still involved in the day to-day operations, but we now focus on the backend of our business, growing and aiming for additional locations.
It's great to work with your family because you know that you have someone you can trust.
They will always do what they say and be there for you. You are both familiar with their work and have your mutual best interests at heart. Even though there have been disagreements, we always managed to resolve them quickly. We respect and understand each other's role in the business.
We've built a great company, but after more than a decade in the automotive industry, I know that a car is not just transportation. While luxury vehicles are beautiful, they're just as practical as a Chevy Sonic. We are still excited about certain vehicles arriving on the lot, but cars no longer wows us. We are still excited to see Westland Auto Sales expand and grow to better serve our customers.
Business Insider has the original article.