By Shari Valenta
Looking for a new red Mustang GT Convertible? Or, maybe a Subaru Outback in green is more your style. HM Brown & Associates, Inc. is committed to providing customers with the vehicle they want. They offer automobile sales or leasing, take trade-ins, do financing, and they also buy cars from individuals.
The brokerage is conveniently located a couple of miles north of Centennial Airport on South Revere Parkway. Bud Brown, general manager and owner of the business, learned much from his previous experience working at a traditional car dealership. With this in mind, he perfected and improved the process of car buying at his own brokerage.
“Most dealers only sell one or two makes of cars and obviously promote those brands,” said Brown. “If a person wants to get an unbiased view point, they usually have to travel around from dealer to dealer to find someone to assist them. Here, we have all makes and models and we provide unbiased advice on the options available.”
Brown implements what he calls “A to Z selling.”
“In a traditional dealership, the process of buying an automobile is usually handled with up to six different people,” explained Brown. “This takes a lot of time, usually about five to six hours. Most customers I’ve talked to wished for the entire transaction to last for only about 45 minutes. What we do is make it simple. One person assists them with all phases of the transaction. This includes getting them the car they want, finding a good value for their trade-in and offering the best finance and lease options available for their situation.”
Another thing Brown does differently is provide his brokers with private offices. This encourages long-term employees and gives customers a peace of mind that credit information is secure.
“A lot of confidential information is discussed with an individual when he or she is buying a car,” said Brown. “Some dealerships do that on the showroom floor. Anyone could look over the shoulder of another’s transaction. I never understood the logic behind that.”
Brown’s customers can also have peace of mind that his cars are reliable.
“We pull a CARFAX to find out if there’s any known history on the car,” said Brown. “Since not every negative is recorded, we do a walk-around visual of the vehicle. We also send it to a mechanic to check a list of things, such as the frame itself and all the fluids.”
Once you choose a car, you may want to have it detailed at Brown’s shop. While they don’t offer maintenance or repair, Brown has on-hand vendors that install various accessories such as sunroofs, leather interior, clear bra, window tint and bed liners. They’ll even add those fancy spinner wheels that are rapidly gaining popularity.
Brown has a good idea what cars are popular and what customers want. He has 20 years’ experience managing his company, although his formal training was in engineering. His dream job out of college was to be an automobile designer.
When he graduated in 1984, few design jobs were available. His first job was doing electrical technical sales for General Electric. When Brown started his business, he was the only broker. About 45,000 transactions later, his business has grown to include 60 employees, including 38 sales associates.
Brown, a pioneer in the automobile broker business, asked Yellow Pages to create a separate category for automobile brokers. The business has been successful, with customers in 40 states as well as internationally. The lot itself has three and a half acres for inventory, and there’s a second one for future development.
“Trying to run an automobile business out of an office complex has its limitations, because eventually you’ll need parking,” said Brown. “We used to be on Orchard and Quebec, but we quickly outgrew that location. We decided to build here eight years ago, doubling our space.”
Ninety percent of H.M. Brown & Associates’ business comes from referrals. The company has been a member of the Better Business Bureau for 16 years and is a repeat winner of the BBB Gold Star Award.
“To get that award, you have to have three prior years with zero complaints,” Brown explained, commenting that they sold about 3,500 cars this year, and a total of about 7,400 in the prior two years. “That’s over 10,000 transactions handled perfectly; I’m very proud of that.”
Brown said that a lot of businesses say they treat the customer as they deserve, but that it’s very difficult to find proof of that.
“I’m not saying that there’s never been a situation where a customer hasn’t been satisfied,” he said. “I’m saying that when there’s a problem, in any business, the key is how it’s handled.”
H.M. Brown & Associates especially prides itself on its price.
“We’re value oriented in pricing,” said Brown. “Price does matter and people are looking for a good deal. We’d rather make less on each transaction, with the hope that each person has such a good experience that they’ll make most of the transactions of their lifetime with us.”
To get the vehicle you want, at a great value, contact H.M. Brown & Associates.
H.M. Brown & Associates, Inc. is located at 6532 South Revere Parkway. For more information, call 303-414-7700 or visit [http://www.hmbrown.com].