dealer on his lotWhen Ahmad Jaber started floor planning with NextGear Capital two and half years ago, he didn’t know much about the used car business. “My family owned and operated several grocery stores, but no one had ever sold used cars before, so I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I got started.” Despite his lack of experience, Jaber had already heard negative things about floor plans from other dealers, but after doing some research, he decided to use one from the start. “Even though I didn’t have experience using a floor plan, I viewed it the same way as using a credit card, you have to know how to manage it correctly to keep from racking up a bunch of fees, or you’re going to quickly get in over your head.”

Jaber started out with a modest inventory of 25 vehicles so he could take some time getting used to managing his new floor plan. “I think a lot of dealers who have issues with their floor plans take on too much too soon, so I wanted to make sure I was comfortable before expanding my inventory.” He also credits his Portfolio Manager, Walker Ruby with helping him to get up to speed quickly, “I love Walker and I’m not just saying that, he’s really been great and is always there for me when I need something.”

Now that his inventory has expanded to 150 vehicles, he said that using NextGear Capital’s Account Portal tool really helps him manage his inventory. “I use Account Portal every day. I like how easy it is to use and it allows me to access all of my account info quickly. I can also keep track of all of my inventory in real-time, so I’m never worried about missing a payment.”

Perhaps it’s Jaber’s ability to adapt that’s behind his ability to continue running his dealership successfully despite the current COVID-19 pandemic. “Once COVID started, I noticed a lot of dealerships around me stopped getting new inventory in, but I kept my inventory level the same. While we initially experienced a decline in sales for a few weeks, business quickly picked up again and I believe that part of the reason why is because we still had plenty of inventory available and our competition didn’t.”

While like everyone else, Jaber Motors has had to make some changes to their operations to ensure that their customers remain safe during this time, he also says that it’s helped to make their sales process more efficient. “We only take customers by appointment now and we have them complete as much of the paperwork as possible electronically before they come in to complete a sale. While this helps to reduce the risk of anyone getting sick, it’s also a real time saver for our customers and creates a better buying experience. We’ve always been focused on providing a high-level of customer service and if anything, we’ve been more determined to make sure that’s what we’re delivering.”

Jaber has also been a big advocate for using all types of social media to help advertise his inventory. “We’re on all the social media channels that the kids are on; Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and we just got onto TikTok. As soon as the vehicles are detailed and ready to sell, they go up on our social media channels. “

When it comes to giving advice to other dealers, Jaber says that being able to adapt is key. “Don’t be afraid to try new trends and embrace technology. I think that’s what a lot of the Reedley area dealerships around me struggle with. I was always the guy that liked to go to the auctions before so I could ‘kick the tires’ on the vehicles I was going to purchase, so I completely understand how difficult of an adjustment that can be. I want to make sure that all the inventory I’m selling is safe for my customers to drive, and I felt like the only way I could ensure that was to physically inspect each vehicle I was going to purchase. However, I took this as a learning opportunity and I’ve gotten very savvy over the past few months at purchasing inventory online and now I know that by looking at the condition reports thoroughly, I still have that same piece of mind when I purchase a vehicle and I think other dealers will too.”

Despite all the changes and uncertainty over the past few months, Jaber hasn’t let it deter his plans for the future. “I recently bought some land and plan on expanding my business. My customers have primarily purchased vehicles that are priced $10,000 or less but I’ve also seen an increase in interest for a little higher end vehicle and I want to make sure that I have the room needed to expand my inventory options. Despite everything going on, the demand is still there and if I have 500 vehicles in inventory someday that would be amazing.”