Sample Used Car Dealership Business Plan

Written by Dave Lavinsky How to Start a Used Car Business

Writing a business plan is a crucial step in starting a used car dealership business. Not only does it provide structure and guidance for the future, but it also helps to create funding opportunities and attract potential investors. For aspiring used car dealership business owners, having access to a sample used car dealership business plan can be especially helpful in providing direction and gaining insight into how to draft their own used car dealership business plan.

Having a thorough business plan in place is critical for any successful used car dealership business venture. It will serve as the foundation for your operations, setting out the goals and objectives that will help guide your decisions and actions. A well-written business plan can give you clarity on realistic financial projections and help you secure financing from lenders or investors. A used car dealership business plan example can be a great resource to draw upon when creating your own plan, making sure that all the key components are included in your document.

The used car dealership business plan sample below will give you an idea of what one should look like. It is not as comprehensive and successful in raising capital for your used car dealership business as Growthink’s Ultimate Used Car Dealership Business Plan Template, but it can help you write a used car dealership business plan of your own.


Used Car Dealership Business Plan Example – PreLoved Motors

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Company Overview
  3. Industry Analysis
  4. Customer Analysis
  5. Competitive Analysis
  6. Marketing Plan
  7. Operations Plan
  8. Management Team
  9. Financial Plan


Executive Summary

PreLoved Motors, situated in the bustling heart of the St. Louis, MO area, is a pioneering used car dealership dedicated to offering an expansive selection of high-quality, pre-owned vehicles. Our business model is built on the foundation of trust, reliability, and exceptional customer service, aiming to redefine the used car buying experience. By focusing on meticulously vetted, versatile vehicles, we ensure our customers receive cars that are not just reliable but also offer the best value for their money. Our commitment to affordability, without compromising on quality, positions us as a unique entity in the competitive used car market, making vehicle ownership accessible to a broader demographic in our community.

Key to our success has been our ability to curate a diverse inventory that meets the high standards of condition and reliability our customers expect. This commitment, combined with competitive pricing and a customer-centric sales approach, has allowed us to stand out in a crowded marketplace. To date, our accomplishments include establishing a loyal customer base, building a strong brand presence in the St. Louis area, and consistently achieving positive feedback for our service quality and vehicle lineup. Our adeptness at adapting to market demands and customer needs continues to fuel our growth and success in the used car dealership industry.

The used car dealership industry is undergoing significant transformation, driven by shifting consumer preferences towards more cost-effective and reliable transportation options. The demand for pre-owned vehicles has seen a steady increase, particularly in urban areas like St. Louis, MO, where economic considerations play a crucial role in consumer purchase decisions. This trend is further bolstered by advancements in vehicle technology and maintenance, which have extended the lifespan of cars, making used vehicles an even more attractive option for budget-conscious buyers. However, the industry is also characterized by intense competition, with dealerships vying to offer the best mix of quality, price, and service to attract discerning customers. In this dynamic environment, dealerships that can effectively differentiate themselves through superior product offerings and exceptional customer service are poised to capture significant market share.

Our target customers range from first-time car buyers to seasoned vehicle enthusiasts, all seeking reliable, affordable pre-owned vehicles in the St. Louis, MO area. These individuals prioritize value for money, vehicle reliability, and a transparent, hassle-free buying experience. Our market research indicates a growing segment of environmentally conscious consumers interested in fuel-efficient and hybrid models, reflecting broader societal shifts towards sustainability. Catering to this diverse clientele, we tailor our inventory and services to meet the nuanced needs and preferences of our customer base, ensuring a personalized, satisfying purchase journey for every buyer.

Enterprise Car Sales, iAutoAgent, and 123 Auto are our main competitors, each with their unique selling propositions from wide-ranging inventories to personalized brokerage services. However, PreLoved Motors distinguishes itself through a curated selection of quality vehicles, competitive pricing, and a transparent, customer-first sales approach. Our deep understanding of local market dynamics and consumer preferences enables us to offer tailored solutions that not only meet but exceed customer expectations, setting us apart as a trusted name in the used car industry.

At PreLoved Motors, our product lineup is carefully selected to ensure a wide range of high-quality, reliable pre-owned vehicles that cater to various customer needs and preferences. We emphasize competitive pricing to make vehicle ownership accessible to a broader audience, without compromising on quality. Our promotions plan is multifaceted, leveraging both digital and traditional marketing channels to reach potential customers effectively. We focus on digital marketing strategies, including SEO, social media advertising, and email marketing, to build brand awareness and engage with our audience. Simultaneously, local community engagement and strategic partnerships are employed to establish a strong local presence and drive foot traffic to our dealership.

Our operational strategy is centered around maintaining a seamless flow from vehicle acquisition to customer sale, ensuring each car meets our stringent quality standards before it reaches the showroom floor. Key operational processes include meticulous vehicle inspection, certification, and detailing, alongside efficient inventory management to keep pace with market demand. Milestones to be accomplished involve expanding our inventory to include electric and hybrid vehicles, implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) system to enhance customer service, and achieving a set sales growth target in the next fiscal year, thereby solidifying our market position.

The management team at PreLoved Motors is a blend of industry veterans and dynamic young professionals, bringing together decades of experience in automotive sales, marketing, and operations. Our leadership is committed to fostering a culture of innovation, excellence, and integrity, guiding the company towards sustained growth and success in the competitive used car market. This diverse expertise ensures that we remain agile in our strategic approach, capable of navigating industry challenges while capitalizing on emerging opportunities.


Company Overview

At PreLoved Motors, we are proud to introduce ourselves as a new Used Car Dealership dedicated to serving the unique needs of the St. Louis, MO community. Our establishment fills a significant gap in the local market for high-quality, pre-owned vehicles. Unlike the existing offerings, we focus on delivering exceptional value and customer service, ensuring every customer finds the perfect vehicle to match their needs and budget.

Our product lineup is extensive, featuring a diverse range of vehicles to cater to the varied preferences and requirements of our customers. From sedans that combine efficiency and comfort, to SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicles) that offer the versatility for both city driving and off-road adventures, we have something for everyone. For customers in need of robust performance, our selection of trucks is second to none. We also stock an exciting range of coupes and convertibles for those seeking a more exhilarating driving experience. Additionally, our vans and minivans are perfect for families or businesses looking for practical, spacious vehicle solutions.

PreLoved Motors is strategically located in St. Louis, MO, making it accessible to customers throughout the city and beyond. Our commitment to serving the St. Louis community is unwavering, and we aim to become a trusted partner for anyone looking to purchase a high-quality used vehicle.

We are uniquely positioned for success, thanks to a combination of factors. Firstly, our founder brings invaluable experience from previously operating a successful used car dealership, ensuring that we have the knowledge and expertise to thrive in this industry. Secondly, our inventory stands out for its versatility, practicality, and affordability. We meticulously select vehicles that not only meet but exceed the expectations of our customers in terms of condition and value for money. This commitment to excellence sets us apart from our competitors and forms the foundation of our business.

Since our founding on January 3, 2024, PreLoved Motors has achieved several significant milestones. As an S Corporation, we have laid a solid foundation for our business operations. Our accomplishments to date include the creation of a distinctive logo that reflects our brand identity, the development of our company name that resonates with our mission, and securing a prime location that offers convenience and visibility to our customers. These achievements are just the beginning of our journey towards becoming the premier choice for used cars in St. Louis, MO.


Industry Analysis

The Used Car Dealership industry in the United States is a thriving market with a current size of over $120 billion. This industry has shown steady growth over the past few years, with an expected annual growth rate of 2.5% in the next five years. This growth can be attributed to several factors, including the increasing demand for affordable vehicles and the rising popularity of certified pre-owned cars.

One of the key trends in the Used Car Dealership industry is the shift towards online sales and digital platforms. Consumers are increasingly turning to online channels to research, compare, and purchase used cars, making it essential for dealerships to have a strong online presence. This trend bodes well for PreLoved Motors, as a new dealership in St. Louis, MO, as it can leverage digital marketing strategies to reach a wider audience and attract more customers.

Another trend in the industry is the growing focus on customer experience and transparency. Consumers are becoming more informed and cautious when purchasing used cars, placing a premium on dealerships that offer quality vehicles and trustworthy services. PreLoved Motors can differentiate itself by providing excellent customer service, offering detailed vehicle histories, and establishing a reputation for honesty and integrity in the market.


Customer Analysis

Below is a description of our target customers and their core needs.

Target Customers

PreLoved Motors will target local residents looking for affordable and reliable transportation options. This customer segment is primarily composed of individuals and families seeking value in the used car market, aiming to maximize their investment without compromising on quality. The dealership will tailor its inventory and services to meet the needs of this diverse group, ensuring a wide range of vehicles that cater to various preferences and budgets.

In addition to local residents, PreLoved Motors will also attract first-time car buyers. This group is typically searching for economical choices and may require guidance through the purchasing process. The dealership will provide educational resources and personalized assistance, making the car buying journey as smooth and reassuring as possible for these customers.

Another significant customer segment includes individuals looking for specialty vehicles or those interested in cars with unique features. PreLoved Motors will cater to enthusiasts and collectors seeking rare finds or specific models not readily available in the new car market. By maintaining a varied and intriguing inventory, the dealership will become a go-to destination for those pursuing distinct automotive experiences.

Customer Needs

PreLoved Motors recognizes the importance of providing high-quality vehicles to residents who prioritize reliability and value in their automotive choices. Customers can expect a carefully curated selection of pre-owned cars that meet strict standards for performance, safety, and aesthetics. This commitment ensures that every vehicle on the lot is not only a mode of transportation but also a source of pride for its new owner.

In addition to offering high-quality vehicles, PreLoved Motors understands the significance of an exceptional purchasing experience. Customers can anticipate attentive service that focuses on their unique needs and preferences, making the car buying process both enjoyable and efficient. The dealership also offers comprehensive after-sales support, ensuring that customers have access to maintenance and advice, further enhancing the longevity and enjoyment of their vehicles.

Moreover, PreLoved Motors caters to the financial needs of its customers by providing flexible financing options. This approach allows individuals from various economic backgrounds to find a vehicle that fits their budget without compromising on quality. By facilitating easier access to financing, PreLoved Motors ensures that more residents can experience the joy and convenience of owning a dependable and aesthetically pleasing vehicle.


Competitive Analysis

PreLoved Motors’s competitors include the following companies:

Enterprise Car Sales offers a wide range of used vehicles, including cars, trucks, and SUVs. Their price points vary significantly, depending on the vehicle’s make, model, year, and condition. Enterprise Car Sales generates significant revenue, leveraging its brand strength and extensive network of car rental locations that serve as sources for many of its used vehicles for sale. Enterprise Car Sales has locations across the United States, making it accessible to a broad customer segment. They serve individual buyers looking for reliable used vehicles and business clients seeking fleet solutions. The company’s key strengths include a large and diverse inventory, a well-known brand, and a comprehensive certification process that ensures the quality of their vehicles. However, their prices can be higher than those of smaller competitors due to their brand prestige and certification processes.

iAutoAgent differentiates itself by offering a broker-like service for buyers and sellers of used cars. They facilitate the sale process, aiming to get sellers the highest price for their vehicle while providing buyers with a transparent and hassle-free purchasing experience. iAutoAgent’s revenue comes from commissions and fees associated with their brokerage services. iAutoAgent operates primarily in the St. Louis, MO area, focusing on local clients but also dealing with customers from neighboring regions. They cater to individual buyers and sellers, emphasizing quality customer service and convenience. Key strengths include personalized service and a hassle-free buying and selling process. However, their reliance on local markets might limit their growth potential compared to larger, nationwide competitors.

123 Auto is a used car dealership known for offering a wide selection of vehicles at competitive prices. They focus on affordability, aiming to attract budget-conscious buyers. Their revenue is generated through vehicle sales, with an emphasis on volume over high margins. 123 Auto operates in the St. Louis, MO area, serving a similar geographical market as PreLoved Motors. Their primary customer segment includes individuals looking for affordable used cars, particularly first-time buyers and those with limited budgets. The dealership’s key strengths are its competitive pricing and diverse inventory. However, their focus on lower-priced vehicles might affect their perceived quality and limit their appeal to customers with higher budgets.

Competitive Advantages

At PreLoved Motors, we pride ourselves on offering a diverse selection of versatile and practical vehicles that stand out in the market. Our inventory is carefully curated to ensure that each car meets our high standards of condition and reliability, providing our customers with peace of mind in their purchases. Our commitment to affordability further sets us apart, as we strive to offer competitive pricing that makes owning a quality pre-owned vehicle accessible to a wide range of buyers. This combination of quality, variety, and value positions us as a leader in the used car dealership industry, catering to the unique needs and preferences of our clientele in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible.

Beyond our diverse inventory and competitive pricing, our customer service philosophy also serves as a significant competitive advantage. We believe in a transparent, no-pressure sales environment that allows our customers to explore their options comfortably and make informed decisions. Our knowledgeable team is dedicated to providing personalized assistance, ensuring that each customer finds a vehicle that perfectly fits their lifestyle and budget. This customer-centric approach has cultivated a loyal customer base and distinguishes us from competitors who might prioritize sales over service. By combining outstanding vehicles, fair pricing, and exceptional customer service, we not only meet but exceed customer expectations, solidifying our position as a trusted name in the used car market.

If you’d like to quickly and easily complete your startup business plan, download Growthink’s Ultimate Used Car Dealership Business Plan Template and complete your business plan and financial model in hours.

Marketing Plan

Our marketing plan, included below, details our products/services, pricing and promotions plan.

Products and Services

At PreLoved Motors, customers can find a diverse range of quality used vehicles tailored to fulfill various driving needs and preferences. The dealership prides itself on offering an assortment of automotive categories, including sedans, SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicles), trucks, coupes and convertibles, as well as vans and minivans. Each category comes with an average selling price, ensuring that prospective buyers can make informed decisions based on their budget and requirements.

Sedans are a staple at PreLoved Motors, known for their practicality and fuel efficiency. Ideal for daily commutes and long-distance travel, these vehicles are offered with an average selling price of around $15,000. This price range allows customers to access a variety of models and trims that cater to both economy and luxury preferences.

SUVs stand out for their versatility and space, making them perfect for families and adventure enthusiasts alike. At PreLoved Motors, customers can explore a wide selection of SUVs with an average selling price of $20,000. This price bracket encompasses a range of sizes from compact to full-size SUVs, each equipped with features that enhance comfort, safety, and off-road capability.

For those requiring robust performance and hauling capacity, trucks are an excellent option. PreLoved Motors offers a collection of used trucks with an average selling price of $25,000. This segment includes both light-duty and heavy-duty trucks, catering to various commercial and personal use cases, ensuring that customers find the right balance between power and efficiency.

Coupes and convertibles at PreLoved Motors appeal to those seeking a blend of style and performance. With an average selling price of $18,000, customers can expect to discover models that offer exhilarating driving experiences without compromising on luxury and technological advancements. These vehicles are perfect for driving enthusiasts looking to enjoy the road to its fullest.

Last but not least, vans and minivans are the go-to options for customers prioritizing space and convenience for family or group travels. With an average selling price of $17,000, PreLoved Motors provides access to a range of vehicles that offer ample seating, cargo space, and advanced safety features, ensuring a comfortable and secure journey.

In summary, PreLoved Motors caters to a wide audience by offering a comprehensive selection of used vehicles across various categories, each with a competitive average selling price. Whether customers are in search of economy, luxury, performance, or practicality, they can expect to find a vehicle that not only meets their needs but also fits their budget.

Promotions Plan

PreLoved Motors embarks on a strategic journey to attract customers through a comprehensive blend of promotional methods. In the heart of these efforts lies online marketing, a cornerstone that enables the dealership to connect with a vast audience. The company leverages social media platforms, search engine optimization (SEO), and email marketing to create a robust online presence. Social media campaigns on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter serve as a direct line to potential customers, offering them a glimpse into the quality and variety of vehicles available. By optimizing their website for search engines, PreLoved Motors ensures that when prospective buyers search for used cars in St. Louis, MO, their dealership appears among the top results, significantly increasing visibility.

Email marketing campaigns are meticulously crafted to keep subscribers informed about the latest deals, new inventory arrivals, and exclusive promotions, fostering a sense of community and loyalty among customers. Furthermore, PreLoved Motors embraces the power of content marketing, crafting engaging blog posts and videos that showcase their expertise in the used car market, driving traffic to their website, and establishing trust with their audience.

Beyond the digital realm, PreLoved Motors invests in local community engagement to build brand awareness and cultivate strong relationships with potential customers. Participating in local events, sponsoring community sports teams, or hosting car maintenance workshops exemplify how the dealership embeds itself into the fabric of the St. Louis community. These initiatives not only enhance visibility but also demonstrate PreLoved Motors’ commitment to contributing positively to the community they serve.

Customer referrals play a pivotal role in the promotional strategy. Encouraging satisfied customers to refer friends and family through a referral program with incentives for both the referrer and the referee ensures a continuous pipeline of potential buyers. This word-of-mouth marketing is invaluable, as personal recommendations carry significant weight in purchasing decisions.

To complement these efforts, PreLoved Motors also explores traditional advertising avenues such as radio spots, local newspapers, and billboards strategically placed around St. Louis. This multi-channel approach ensures that the dealership remains top of mind for a diverse demographic, spanning those who are deeply embedded in digital landscapes to those who appreciate more traditional forms of media.

In summary, PreLoved Motors employs a dynamic mix of online marketing, community engagement, customer referral programs, and traditional advertising to create a comprehensive promotional strategy. By connecting with the community both online and offline, the dealership expects to attract a wide range of customers, making it a go-to destination for quality used vehicles in St. Louis, MO.


Operations Plan

Our Operations Plan details:

  1. The key day-to-day processes that our business performs to serve our customers
  2. The key business milestones that our company expects to accomplish as we grow

Key Operational Processes

To ensure the success of PreLoved Motors, there are several key day-to-day operational processes that we will perform.

  • Inventory Management: We constantly monitor and update our inventory to ensure a wide selection of quality used cars. This includes purchasing vehicles at auctions, from private sellers, and accepting trade-ins.
  • Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance: Every car undergoes a thorough inspection and any necessary maintenance or repairs before it is listed for sale. This ensures all vehicles meet our high standards for quality and safety.
  • Pricing Strategy: We regularly analyze market data to price our vehicles competitively. This involves reviewing local and national sales trends for similar vehicles and adjusting prices to offer the best value to our customers.
  • Customer Service: We prioritize excellent customer service, ensuring every visitor receives personal attention. This includes responding promptly to inquiries, offering test drives, and providing transparent information about each vehicle.
  • Financing and Insurance Assistance: We assist customers with securing financing and insurance for their vehicle purchases. This involves working with a network of lenders and insurance providers to offer competitive rates and terms.
  • Marketing and Advertising: We implement targeted marketing and advertising campaigns to attract potential buyers. This includes online advertising, social media engagement, and local community events.
  • Sales Process Management: We streamline the sales process to make purchasing a vehicle as smooth and efficient as possible. This includes negotiating deals, processing paperwork, and offering warranties or service contracts.
  • After-Sales Support: We provide ongoing support to our customers after their purchase. This includes follow-up calls to ensure satisfaction, offering maintenance services, and addressing any concerns or issues that may arise.
  • Staff Training and Development: We invest in regular training and development for our team to ensure they are knowledgeable about our inventory, finance options, and customer service best practices.
  • Compliance and Legal Requirements: We ensure all business operations comply with local, state, and federal regulations, including vehicle sales laws, consumer protection statutes, and environmental standards.


PreLoved Motors expects to complete the following milestones in the coming months in order to ensure its success:

  • Securing a Prime Location: Identifying and securing a strategically located dealership space in St. Louis, MO, that is accessible and visible to our target customer base. This involves negotiating a favorable lease that aligns with our financial projections and growth plans.
  • Obtaining Necessary Licenses and Permits: Completing all regulatory requirements, including obtaining a used car dealership license, business license, and any other permits required by local, state, and federal laws. This ensures compliance and legal operation within the industry.
  • Building Inventory Acquisition Channels: Establishing reliable channels for acquiring a diverse and quality inventory of used cars. This includes forming partnerships with auction houses, rental car companies, and trade-in programs to ensure a steady supply of vehicles that meet our quality standards and customer preferences.
  • Developing a Robust Sales and Marketing Strategy: Crafting and implementing a comprehensive sales and marketing plan that includes digital marketing, local advertising, and community engagement activities to build brand awareness and drive traffic to the dealership.
  • Setting Up Operational Infrastructure: Creating the operational backbone of the dealership, including the development of sales processes, customer service protocols, financial management systems, and the implementation of a CRM system to manage leads and customer interactions efficiently.
  • Hiring and Training a High-Performing Team: Recruiting a team of experienced salespeople, finance experts, and administrative staff. Providing comprehensive training to ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and skills to deliver exceptional customer service and drive sales.
  • Launch Our Used Car Dealership: Officially opening PreLoved Motors for business with a launch event to generate buzz in the community and attract our first customers.
  • Implementing Customer Feedback Mechanisms: Establishing channels for customer feedback to continuously improve our inventory selection, customer service, and overall buying experience based on direct input from our clients.
  • Achieving $15,000/Month in Revenue: Reaching this critical financial milestone to demonstrate market acceptance, operational efficiency, and the potential for scalability and long-term profitability.
  • Continuous Monitoring and Adjusting of Business Strategy: Regularly reviewing financial performance, market trends, and customer feedback to make informed decisions on inventory, pricing, marketing strategies, and operational adjustments to ensure sustained growth and success.


Management Team

PreLoved Motors management team, which includes the following members, has the experience and expertise to successfully execute on our business plan:

Ariana Bell, CEO

Ariana Bell, CEO, brings to PreLoved Motors a track record of undeniable success in the automotive industry. With her extensive experience in running a used car dealership, Ariana has shown an exceptional ability to navigate the complexities of the used car market, drive sales, and maintain high customer satisfaction. Her leadership skills, combined with a deep understanding of market trends and consumer behavior, make her uniquely qualified to steer PreLoved Motors towards lasting success. Ariana’s vision for the company is not just about selling cars; it’s about creating a trusted brand in the pre-owned vehicle sector, ensuring that every customer feels valued and confident in their purchase.


Financial Plan

To achieve our growth objectives, PreLoved Motors requires significant capital investment. This funding will be allocated towards expanding our vehicle inventory, enhancing our marketing efforts, and upgrading our facilities to improve the customer experience. Our financial plan is designed to ensure we have the resources needed to scale our operations effectively, drive sales growth, and maintain our competitive edge in the market.


Financial Statements

Balance Sheet

[insert balance sheet]

Income Statement

[insert income statement]

Cash Flow Statement

[insert cash flow statement]


Used Car Dealership Business Plan Example PDF

Download our Used Car Dealership Business Plan PDF here. This is a free used car dealership business plan example to help you get started on your own used car dealership plan.

How to Finish Your Used Car Dealership Business Plan in 1 Day!

Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your used car dealership business plan?

With Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template you can finish your plan in just 8 hours or less!

Click here to finish your business plan today.