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Buy Here, Pay Here

Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
Let's get some insight on this facet of the automotive industry. Questions or comments? Start here!



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  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    but I play one on TV. One of my best friends from high school has one of the most successful BHPH businesses (4 lots) that I've ever seen. He has over 1,000 vehicles worth of payments rolling at any one time, started with 6 cars and a 14ft travel trailer on a gravel lot.


    There are many stereotypes that fit these guys, and in my buddy's case, some that don't.


    Yes, you have to be thick-skinned. Yes, you have to be fairly treacherous. But, you also have to be very well set, financially, and have to have a good eye for vehicles, plus a reliable mechanic to make sure it all runs smoothly from before the sale, until the car is paid off.


    This is a business I will probably get into, although nowhere near my buddy's "area", when I retire.


    Call it what you may, and talk badly about these highway robbers...but you have to understand that there is a HUGE market for this service. People need decent transportation, and have, themselves, ruined any chance of going to a dealer and buying a new or used car with conventional financing.


    It's all about personal responsibility - if you pay your bills and honor your word and obligations, you can buy anything you want, from anyone you want, with either cash, or a loan from any financial establishment you want.


    If you DON'T do all of the above, then you can't do any of the above, and unless you want to scrape up $300 for a rusted up beater, if you MUST have something nicer, or have to pose with your bling-bling (that's a majority of the business in BHPH), you have the choice of BHPH.


    From a credit perspective, my buddy can report your account to the various credit bureaus, and will when you pay it well, or if you repo.


    MOST BHPH dealers, though, don't go to the additional cost or trouble to report to the credit bureaus - simply because, in most cases, they would be doing their customers a favor, and most won't.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,094
    ok, so i saw your original request for this topic, drift, and since you mentioned that many folks might not know they are dealing with a BHPH lot, can you specify how to spot one? For instance, I think I shopped at one last month only because they offered their own financing, but the prices were pretty good, while I was under the impression that a BHPH was typically overpriced. Is this not true?

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    a big "We Finance" sign - many BHPH dealers don't use the term "Buy Here, Pay Here"....although that's exactly what the consumer does.


    Prices may be fairly in line, until you figure out the title status for that assumedly clean and decent mileage vehicle - these are perfect places for flood, salvage, and total title cars, simply because the consumer has no recourse, and there's no lender or warranty company to certify the car to as a "clean, sellable" retail unit, as there are with a typical car dealership using GMAC and GMPP.


    Oh, and flood, salvage, and total (and repurchased lemon!) vehicles are CHEAP at the auctions and main line dealers won't touch them.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    I always assumed that the places advertising weekly payments were this type of dealership - for those with poor credit, similar to the rent-to-own furniture companies.


    I know there are other reasons for renting or paying weekly, but are these likely to be BHPH dealerships? I've never seen any other finance company offering weekly payments.



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  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    they want to see your smiling face, and hopefully the car, every week, so they know you haven't skipped town.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 25,355
    Some lots still have the big buy here, pay here banners. Probably less confusing to the majority of their customers, that are looking for just that!


    As long as the dealer is honest (that is, the cars are legit used cars), and the prices are market correct, than BHPH makes sense as an alternative way to finance. Someone has to service the market for people that can't get normal financing.


    It is also nice to report the good payers, but I'm sure some dealers don't, since it would potentially cut into their client base.


    So, I have a problem with the repo shark types that are basically preying on people without options 9for whatever reason), but not with the whole BHPH concept.


    There are quite a few of the sleazy places in my area (across the river from Phila, Drift will know where!), but also some legit ones (one in Westhampton comes to mind).


    I wonder how many people actually complete the payments and end up owning the car?

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • gkbenjigkbenji Posts: 29
    is buy cars from individuals that other lots won't take, old or high mileage, if you're not trading or don't want to sell yourself for some reason (e.g. need the cash *now*). These don't necessarily have to be salvage or otherwise "tarnished" cars.


    For example, I wasn't sure if I wanted to trade in my 14-year old Jetta with 131K miles, or sell it myself. I shopped the car around to see what it might be worth. About the only guys who would even make an offer on a car that old were BHPH dealers, so I ended up getting a good idea of what it was worth to them. Of course, I got over $1000 more than that by finally selling myself, but if I'd needed to sell it right away I knew where I could take it--as well as having a number to base ACV trade-in value if I'd gone that route instead.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ...... If they're paying weekly or twice a month, you can bet it's a BHPH lot ...


                That said, it doesn't make them a bad store, most of the BHPH lots do 75/85%+ of their "real" business on the Retail side and most of the time the BHPH stuff is just a small portion of their business .. most sell some nice vehicles and have a good reputation .. it's awful hard to stay in the BHPH business when your not selling anything else and your depending on Billy Bob to make his payments after his 2nd bankruptcy ........ Yikes.!


                              Terry ;)
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    I had one of my best shopping experiences at a BHPH lot - no new cars, only used. I needed a used vehicle under 10K, and they had a Protege that had exactly the features I wanted. At the time, I was driving a really old LeBaron that barely ran, which I suspect normal dealerships wouldn't have touched. They were happy to take it off my hands for $800, no problem. I imagine this transaction would have been a lot more hassle for a "regular" dealership.


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  • Mrs. Turboshadow and I disagree completely on the subject of BHPH, furniture rental, payday loans, title loans, and other places that the local news media have dubbed "predatory lenders." My take on the deal is that the people that use these places actually have no recourse because of bad credit, or are young and have yet to establish credit. Sure, it seems unfair, but there is an aweful high number of people who default on them as well. As one ex-car dealer told me, "Bad credit is expensive."


    I am leery of buying cars from these places, though. Even though I obtained finacing thru my credit union, I didn't look at any cars from the BHPH lots; I was afraid of the aforementioned lemons, salvages, and flood cars.


  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    "BHPH, furniture rental, payday loans, title loans, and other places that the local news media have dubbed "predatory lenders"


    BHPH and furniture rental, though, however overpriced and repo-threatening, actually provide a service where consumers buy a product that they can pay off and keep.


    When I was a young buck, just returning from doing my first 5 years in the AF overseas, at 23 I had no credit. We bought furniture and a washer and dryer through Rent-A-Center or someplace like it in Abilene, TX, paid it off and kept it until 1994. Kept the washer/dryer until 1999.


    Now, the payday loans? OMG....these folks take people who already can't handle their money, loan them more money, and charge them up to 100% many cases, you agree to allow them to GARNISH your wages...even BHPH or furniture rental places can't do that.


    The title loan thing? That one's entertaining - you let them hold the title to your $3,000 car while they loan you $500 at sky-high interest. You don't pay back the bucks, they take your car - in many cases, they keep your car in a lot until it's paid off - no risk for the lender, for sure...


    "Bad credit is expensive."


    Very true - and it's no one's fault but the person with the credit history, save a few circumstances with medical bills or natural disasters.


    Given NORMAL bad credit though, I don't feel sorry for anyone - you put your name on a piece of paper syaing you'd pay some money by a given date - you didn't do that - your credit now sucks.


    Tough cookies. It's called personal responsibility, I have no sympathy, and you'd better bet that there'll be a "Big Jim's Buy Here Pay Here, We Finance Luxury Automotobiles and SUVs, pickup trucks and family cars" coming soon to a corner lot near you...
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 25,355
    there is a small, family owned lot in my area that has been there a long time (I used to live around the corner). Dad buys the cars, mom runs the lot type of place.


    Anyway, very respectable, good reputation. All nice cars, generally 5-8 years old IIRC (lots of '98 Camrys, Grand Ams, Buick, that type of thing). All clean, normal mileage cars, most of which come from local new car dealers. They all get a good going over by the mechanic.


    Anyway, basic transportation, and if I needed this type of car wouldn't hesitate to go there.


    point of the story is that they offer some (or most) as either straight purchases, or BHPH ($500 - $1500 down usually, then $50/week). They quote both ways, and the prices from what I can tell seem to be decent. But, I don't get any sense that they are into any "predatory" lending practices. Rather, it is a way for them to move cars to their target audience.


    Plus, by getting a decent % down, they have some of their exposure covered, but you don't see the same cars constantly being recycled on the lot.


    IMO, BHPH is capitalism at it's best. A need exists, it gets filled.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,725
    If these guys can scrape up $500-$1500 for a downpayment, why can't they buy a car the old-fashioned way?


    Most guys I know that would have to buy a car on a payday payment plan, don't have enough money to buy lunch on the day before payday...


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  • Hot deals on Lincoln Blackwood's, Pontiac Azteks, and Chevy SSRs!!! See the man under the big tent!!!! See my exclamtion marks!!!!!


    The ex-car dealer that gave me the "Bad credit is expensive" quote said his gravel BHPH lot was super lucrative. Oddly enough, I met him while I was teaching in prison (long, strange tale). Crimes unrelated to profession.


  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    what you have in the car, unless you're dealing with a repeat customer with a good track record.


    The cycling of cars is where the money is made.


    Let's say you buy a fair shape 120,000 mile 8 year old Grand Am. You pay $1200 for it, and put on brakes and tires, and you have $1600 in it.


    You accept a $1500 down payment on it, and $50 a week.


    After a month of payments, the new owner comes up short and you pop the car. You now own it for free, having collected $1700 on it. If they want it back, they can pay a $250 (pre-agreed) reposession fee, plus any payments in arrears. They take it back, and you're now at least $250 in the black on this car.


    It repos again a month later, and the car is now $350 in the black, even though it's reposessed and it's back on your lot.


    You sell it again, taking $1,000 down. You're now showing a $1,350 profit on it, and in addition to that money, everything else is gravy.


    This one pays it all the way out over 18 months. That's $3,600 in payments, plus the down payment. The car has netted you $4,850 in 18 months.


    Now - multiply that number by 100-200, depending on how many cars you have burning gas and bringing in cash during any one given week, and you can see the profit potential. Even if you only average $3,000 income on each unit, selling 25 cars a week and having 200 accounts at any one time...the numbers are staggering.


    I'm on pain meds, so I'm not EVEN going to try to do the math. Where's my engineer student son and his fancy dandy calculator when I need him?
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    I think we have a marketing scheme here!


    The BEST buy here pay here cars are Tauruses, Sables, Crown Vics, Buick LeSabres, and Chevy Luminas/Impalas/Malibus. Oh, and Neons, Focuses, Escorts.


    Miled up Explorers, especially XLTs, Eddie Bauers, and Limiteds command crazy money, with folks willing to get payday loans and title loans in order to come up with the $3,000 down payment needed to roll one of these status symbols.
  • That was exactly the way it was explained to me!


  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    rest is gravy.


    Big Jim wants a boat, a couple of jet skis, two motorcycles...and a big house - I want to thank, in advance, all those folks who didn't pay their bills and can't get bought through GMAC, for doing business with me.
  • danf1danf1 Posts: 935
    Those numbers got my adrenaline going.
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    from high school started this in 1988, after several weak years of working at the mom and pop Ford store that we both worked at in high school.


    He's now worth $4 million in readily available assets and is getting ready to partner with the Don Davis Auto Group (I used to work for them).


    I'm positive that he'll keep his 4 BHPH lots going - be stupid not to.
  • Hmmmmm....what are upfront costs like?


    Plenty of vacant Wallyworlds and supermarkets around here.


    How hairy is the paperwork involved?


    Hmmmmm...methionks I'll do a little internet research.


    Turboshadow (of Turboshadow's BHPH!!!)
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    you need, I'm thinking, about $50,000-100,000 if you want to start strong, much less if you don't mind whining and worrying.


    You need a dealer's license for your state, whatever insurance is required to go along with that, a good eye for used cars that'll last at least 2 years after you buy them, and won't require major costs at breakdown, a place to do business, a software program for running contracts and DMV paperwork, a lawyer, and a good mechanic, if you're not one...


    My buddy started out small with 4-6 cars...I think I would start out stronger with 15-20.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,603
    I wouldn't want any part of it. These are called "Pot" or "Note" lots and they operate just like driftracer said. They buy the cars the big dealers don't want and sell them to people with rotten credit.


    By misfortune or by being deadbeats, these lots are the only places these people can buy cars.


    Two days late on a payment and the car gets popped and the process starts over.


    I heard of a guy with a BHPH lot that actually had a sign on the wall in his office.


    " The best way for you to get back on your feet is to miss a payment".


    A necessary but dirty business.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 25,355
    Don't you run into a lot of registration costs? In NJ, they recently changed to a 4-year registration, so it costs about $350 to register a car now (at least a new one). Actually, I don't know if used cars are still 1 year, but that's still $80 or so, plus sales tax.


    Drift, how does it work on these repos? At what point is it a new sale, vs. just getting the same car back (I guess that means it stays registered to the same buyer).


    Again, I'm assuming that theses cars get registered to the buyer, otherwise I guess it would really be a rental!

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,725
    At least, if you have to make a living at it right away...


    If you can don't have to draw income for awhile, you could probably get by with less..


    I have a co-worker who has a used lot... But, he has to pass up a lot of deals that make good financial sense, because he doesn't have enough capital.. He can only afford to get cars from the auction, where they give him 60 days credit.. He has to turn and burn them, or send them back through the auction... I've seen him pass up great deals, because he doesn't have the cash flow to pay for a guy's trade-in.


    I bought a car from him for my mother-in-law... he had just purchased it at the auction the day before... She had a trade.. A perfect car for his lot (semi-rural blue collar area), but he couldn't afford to hold it.. He ran it through the auction the next day for a $200 profit, and I'm sure he could have made $1500-$2000 within a couple of weeks, if he had put it on the lot..


    Most small businesses fail because of inadequate capitalization.... I think BHPH would be the same way..


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  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    ...those with credit problems are often careless about other things such as insurance and maintenance. Suppose some credit criminal crashes or trashes your ride? How can you sue him? He works as an apprentice french fry technician at Wendy's and his net worth is $14 and a record player.


    Driftracer, you play a BHPH dealer on TV? Is it for a Philly dealer and shown on a local station?

    If so, what channel so I can keep an eye out for it.


    I've been on vacation for the past few weeks. The TV commercials aired between Maury Povich and Jerry Springer are for places like the Cherry Hill Triplex along with those for trade schools, title loans, and accident lawyers.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ....... Drift is painting with some broooad brush strokes here, maybe still a little effected by all of that New Years bubbly and cheer .. he makes it sound so easy ...l.o.l....


                BHPH lots that have been in the business for a looong time and have been successful usually have a little "Jingle" (I hope) in the Hip National Bank .. especially this time of the year, most are still looking for the payment from November .. also this market has changed drastically in the last 5/6 years .. the day of the "nice" $700/$900/$1,500 vehicle is kinda over, even if they purchase a semi-nice one for, lets say $1,200, a good store will have to drop another $300/$500+ just to make it seaworthy for the next 8/10 months .. that means to make a profit with a $1,500 downpayment, they need to be on the hook for $1,000+ just to break air ... that's why BHPH dealers are having the largest failure rate ever ..


                   Drop 25 vehicles out there and your waiting for your profit, or at least your money back (or, just your original investment) for the next 4/6/8 months depending on the reliabilty of the vehicle - and thats if the vehicle doesn't cough up the air conditioner and the tranny doesn't go south in the next few months, then your back-pedaling just to keep the guy in the vehicle, or hook-it, then pay for the repairs anyway .. it can be a vicious circle, most dealers nowadays will settle for 30/50% of what they have in it, just to get it rolling ...


                It's easy to have $75,0/$150,000 just rolling around and not see a profit til' Easter, thats a long time to hold your breath because it's a big gamble .. and that doesn't count the property, lights, heat, mechanic time, paintwork, body fixes, parts, insurance, liability, city and county ordinances, advertising, taxes, titles, etc, etc, ......


  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,603
    People with bad credit usually don't mend their ways. They also don't like getting their cars popped. It can get nasty.
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    it was easy, or cheap, or effortless. I'm just saying that it's something I'm considering in the next 10 years.


    Broad strokes, as Terry put it, are appropriate here, simply because only a few here would understand all the intracacies and details, so a general overview was all I was trying to do.


    Stickguy asked about repos - first and foremost, I would be as humanly FAR AWAY from this area (PA/NJ) when this was done, I could care less what kind of hassles there are for registering in NJ...In either state I would be doing this business, the plates belong to the owner, not the car - your car gets repoed or totalled, the plates are removed and handed to you, the lender or insurance comapny has the ability to "carry" the registration like a car dealer, until it is resold or disposed of.
  • driftracerdriftracer Posts: 2,692
    Insurance and maintenance? Maintenance isn't that important, since most BHPH dealers only lend a car for 12-18 months. Insurance, depending on the age of the vehicle and the driver (whether it's liability or full coverage) has to be in place.


    If the credit criminal crashes your ride, it's HIS loss, not yours. You've already broken even in the car - worst case is that you don't make anymore profit on that unit, but the good news is that you have a guy, who works at Wendys as an associate french fry cook trainer, who needs another ride to work. Cha ching!


    No, I don't play a BHPH dealer on TV - that was a joke, as is humor. Only been on TV twice, both times appearing as myself.
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