Best Practices for Buy-Here-Pay-Here Dealerships

World events are changing the way people buy cars. The Covid pandemic, semiconductor shortages, inflation, rising gasoline prices, shipping delays, and now international conflict are all affecting the traditional dealership sales model. Buyers whose finances were affected by the pandemic don’t have the buying power they once did. All these factors combined put Buy-Here-Pay-Here (BHPH) dealers in a position to attract new customers, provided they have the right processes in place to capitalize on it, but how best to move forward? Read on to find out how BHPH dealers can make the most of a difficult situation.

BHPH dealers are unique in that they don’t sell cars, they sell financing. BHPH dealers usually cater to buyers with credit problems who can’t obtain traditional financing, but by leveraging established best practices, a BHPH dealer can make their brand stand out from the competition and attract not just credit-challenged customers, but those who want to drive away today rather than waiting for a custom order. Here are five tips for bringing new leads into your BHPH dealership:

Train Your Staff

Your staff needs more than standard sales training in a BHPH model. They must also be familiar with local and state regulations regarding financing, compliance, and collections. Your staff is your most valuable asset, so set them up for success by providing adequate training on these topics as well as the basics of customer service, CRM, and deal closing, and watch your business grow.

Website Optimization

Now more than ever, optimizing your business’s website is vital to stay competitive. Invest the time and money needed to make your website look professional, and research best practices for SEO to make sure your website stays high atop the search results page. There are myriad resources available to help with this part, such as Google Analytics. This back-end work can be more time-consuming and detailed than traditional marketing, but it will pay off in the long run.

Marketing, Marketing, Marketing

This part should be second-nature, but a good marketing strategy can make or break your business. Cast as wide a net as possible within your budget using several different channels, including video, social media, print, digital ads, email, even text messaging. Some Google Keyword research on what your prospective customers are looking for can go a long way here.

Be Prepared

BHPH Best PracticesGetting new customers in the door won’t do much good if you don’t have the capital on hand or enough vehicles on your lot to meet demand. Keep your cash flow strategy up to date and your inventory stocked for a variety of price points, and make sure you have a handle on your operating expenses. Remember, you’re not just competing with other dealers, you’re competing with large financial organizations that have these processes down to a science, so it’s important to plan several months in advance and be prepared for obstacles.

Community Outreach

Positioning your business as a pillar of the surrounding community can be a boon to sales. Consider holding on-site events or offering seasonal incentives to get new customers in the door and show them you’re a trustworthy alternative to a franchise dealer. Events like a ‘Family Day’ with local musical acts along with food and drinks or providing on-site tax preparation services during tax time might be a good start. Consider partnering with other established local businesses to add to your credibility and social standing.

Should you need help with marketing your business, consider speaking to the experts at The Automotive Advertising Agency. We can help you craft a strategy that raises your public profile and sets you apart from your competition. Give us a call today at 512.610.7300 or contact us at

About the author

Michelle Camacho is the President of The Automotive Advertising Agency.