Automobile Protection Corp., administrator of Easy Care extended service contracts, celebrated its 25th year in business in September. Despite a string of service plan vendor failures and a tough economy, the Atlanta company is still expanding its business.
CEO Larry Dorfman, 53, told Staff Reporter Donna Harris how he survives the industry's ups and downs.
How did APCO start in 1984?
I worked for my family's office equipment business since I was 16 years old and wanted to go out on my own. I was 28 when a friend who worked in the car business, Martin Blank, brought me the concept of an extended service contract. I was one of those people who didn't know what to do when I took my car to a service facility. I just paid the price I was quoted.
From the beginning, Martin and I saw a business opportunity in selling service contracts. The customer would be protected against the unexpected cost for repairs, and we would act as an advocate and intermediary to make sure the customers were treated appropriately.
When did you start selling the contracts through dealerships?
We began to offer extended service contracts through dealerships in 1985. Back then state laws stopped us from being able to offer contracts directly to consumers. Service contracts had to be combined with the sale of a car or sold through a dealer. The state laws have changed. Now only three states don't allow third-party administrators. We became a third-party administrator in 1991.