Beset by margin compression on vehicle sales last fall, Roy Lacey, dealer manager of Rapids Honda, started looking for ways to cut expenses. One possibility was as clear as an untinted window: The dealership in Coon Rapids, Minn., was paying vendors more than $500,000 a year to install aftermarket products.
"To take back some profits, we had to take a look at things we were outsourcing," Lacey said. "We were paying other companies $50,000 to $60,000 a month to install accessories. I thought to myself, 'This is crazy.' "
After conferring with Lance Spah, the store's service manager, Lacey decided the dealership — about 15 miles northwest of downtown Minneapolis — would bring in-house all window-tinting and protective-film installations as well as rustproofing and undercoating applications.