Most Kenyans dream of owning a car or cars during their lifetime. In fact, it has reached a point where the type of car one drives is a symbol of wealth or lack of. As a car dealer, you play a significant role in ensuring that this dream is realized.
Many people have successfully ventured into this business and are today rolling in money.
Some did not even have much capital and financial institutions were wary of giving them loans.
Starting a car dealership is not like an idyllic walk along the beach. The effort it takes is
enormous, especially if you are starting off without any connections. However, nothing is
impossible.
It is all about distinguishing yourself from the competitors. Never try to do it the way someone else is doing it. This is a perfect recipe for failure, being a copycat. How then can you successfully establish a car dealership?
Market Research
It is the height of absurdity when anyone decides to plunge into any business without
conducting proper market research. This research is what will help you decide if the business is going to be worth it. Research on the cars that most Kenyans prefer. For example, lots of car dealers go for Japan machines since they are affordable and the steering wheel is located on the right hand side unlike European cars. Take a look at the process of importation, how long does it take and what are the costs. This helps you decide whether to buy locally or internationally. It is also important to check whether spare parts are readily available or not.
Used or New

Some people prefer used cars that are still in good condition because of affordability. Others want new cars that ooze class and elegant. Who are you going to cater for? The former, latter or both. The capital investment for used cars is cheaper than that for new cars. New cars are more expensive and require a lot of money, loans or investments from other people.
A Business Plan
In this business, a plan is important for the actualizing of your dreams. The business plan will contain all details of the business you intend to start, for example:
1) How many employees will be in the business
2) What is this estimated salary
3) Which brand of car or cars will you sell. Toyota, Volkswagen, Ford, Nissan, Mazda,
Mitsubishi or Honda.
4) What is your budget on leasing
5) Which manufacturer will you go for and what will be he costs.
6) What sales strategy will you employ
7) Who are you competitors
8) Financial projections
9) Marketing plan
10) Where you plan to get capital
11) What will be the name of the business and how will you brand it
Location
Where are you going to situate your business? The first thing is to ascertain whether the
location matches the size of your wallet. Next, check whether the location is viable. Is thesecurity top notch? Will clients be able to access the location easily? Does the location provide for easy management? Will it be easy to transport cars to the location? These are important questions on the viability of location.
Licensing and Insurance
Living in a world full of risks, insuring your business should be a priority. This will cushion you during theft, fires or any unavoidable destructive elements. There are a number of car
insurance companies in Kenya, like, Britam, CIC Insurance Group Limited, UAP insurance
Company and APA Insurance Kenya. Look at all the benefits and decided the one that suits you.
After insuring the business, it is time to license it. You will be required to pay a certain fee and provide documents with all information concerning the business. A permit to sell an unlimited number of vehicles a year is granted if you want full fledged dealership.
Establish good relations with customers
Any one that wants to stay in the market for long needs to establish good relations with
customers. This is the reason many businesses, including very successful ones, spend money on PR. You want to make sure that clients are being treated to their satisfaction. Ensure that your relationship doesn’t end with the closure of a deal. Tell them where to get spare parts or even promise to order for them at a small fee if the need arises. You can even offer them mechanical services. This will make clients refer you to people who want cars.
Proper handling of inventory
Always ensure that you have enough stock and there are no problems with them. Restock at appropriate times to avoid dwindling inventory. Track sales to ensure you know what sells most and what doesn’t. This helps you know which cars are in high demand and need frequent re-stocking.
Accounting
Account for any car that comes into the shop and every sale made. Make sure there is are
receipts of cars bought and cars sold. Failure to account is a sure way to become bankrupt.
With all this into practice, you are one step ahead of becoming a leading car dealer. Never put too much emphasis on competitors rather save that energy for your business.