Car Dealership Software: 10 Questions to Ask Before Signing an Annual Contract5 min read

Brooke Kovanda Contributor

Before you sign on the dotted line, you want to make sure you know what your dealership is going to get out of its new car dealership software. To put it simply: you wouldn’t want to pay for a Ferrari sight-unseen only to have a salesperson drive up to you and hand you the keys to a Toyota Prius, right?

 

Definitely not. (No offense to Toyota Priuses. They’re rad, too!)

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Here at PERQ, we know knowledge means buying power. Before you sign your annual contract, make sure you ask yourself these ten questions, so that you’re able to get the full story on the product, price, processes, and people you’re agreeing to do business with.

 

1) What am I actually paying for…?

Get the stickiest of topics out of the way right out the gate: price. Double-check that you understand how much the car dealership costs and what features those costs actually cover.

 

2) Are there any “hidden” fees?

Once you are sure of upfront costs, ask your sales rep if there are any potential “hidden” costs such as implementation fees or opt-out charges. This way you won’t be shocked by anything once your bill comes. Finally (and this seems like a no-brainer, but you should want clarity), inquire as to HOW you will be billed, such as by auto debit or credit, or via an invoice.

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3) Am I choosing the package that is right for me?

Make sure that the salesperson is honestly helping you assess if the software solution and its features are going to be “right” for your dealership and fit your strategy.

 

One sign of a “good fit” is if the software is consolidating other services you may be paying for. Another sign is if the software can make an impact beyond just leads—if it can actually add to your bottom line. Your salesperson should genuinely care about making sure this product fits your needs—anything else is a major red flag.

4) Will this product integrate with my current technology?

As a kid, it was probably annoying when you got a new toy and went to play with it, only to find you didn’t have the right type of batteries to make it work.

 

Buying software that doesn’t fit with your current technology is just like that. Make sure the car dealership software is compatible with your current website and CRM systems.

 

5) What does the implementation process look like?

You know what the costs are, and you know this product can be integrated with your existing technology. Cool. Now how long does it take to get this new technology up and running?

 

Think back to the analogy of you getting a new toy as a kid… did you want to wait months before you could play with it? Of course not! Additionally, nobody wants to be left on their own to figure out how to use it. Do your homework on how long it takes to get the car product up and running, and what the “training” (if there even is training!) looks like.

 

 

6) What is our relationship going to be like once the deal is done and the software is up and running?

You want to know what it’s like working with your service provider once the deal is closed. Asking questions such as “What does the support look like?” and “Can you quickly make changes and customizations to your services?” and “Can you explain to me what my long-term commitment looks like?” will help you figure out if there’s room to grow this relationship with them through more advanced products and services.

 

7) What happens if this product is working really well for me…?

If you end up seeing good results from the product, you should understand what possibilities there are for upgrading the product.

 

Figuring out what “moving up” to the next type of product or service looks like is important in the event that you need expanded capabilities. Sometimes having a car dealership software surpass expectations is a good problem to have—and is a signal that if a software offers additional products and services, you would benefit from buying them.

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8) …and what happens if it’s not working well at all?

Let’s say that the software doesn’t perform as well as you thought it would. Or, let’s say you want to change something to work better for you. What does making changes look like?

 

If you’re not seeing the results you want, understand who you’ll need to contact and the options available to you for making changes and having flexibility. What happens when the technology is just not working at all—as in, it has gone down or is malfunctioning? Know who to call and/or who is going to be calling you.

 

9) What do you do with my data?

This one is pretty self-explanatory: does the software provider sell your leads and contact information? If privacy or competition concerns matter to you, double-check that you’ll be the only one getting the data.

 

10) Is there an auto-renew on the contract?

If things are going swimmingly with your new software, you might not notice that a year has passed, the contract has expired, and you’ve been auto-renewed. The funds come out of your accounts as always, and your dealership continues using the software as always.

 

HOWEVER. If you don’t like how the software has been performing, you may not want to get roped into another contract. Even worse, if the contract doesn’t auto-renew, it might be a nasty surprise to wake up and find the software missing from your site.

 

Just like teachers said back in your grade-school days: no question is a dumb question.

 

Such is the case when you’re making an investment in new car dealership software. Make sure you have as much information as possible before you sign your contract. Follow these guidelines and ask away!