High Octane

Create a Great Holiday Season!

Well kiddos, here it is the end of yet another year!

So, as I have done in the past I do yet again – REVIEW!

To often we start our days at full steam and we spend the majority of our time solving issues, getting
cars fixed (pre or post sale), advertising cars, paying one bill or another, calling back leads and all that
before noon!

This month is crucial to your next years business growth or decline.

You must take time to overview your year, your purchases, sales, repairs, advertising, financing,
employees, bookkeeping and most of all WHERE are you now in your 2017 goals?

What you did not reach or achieve in 2017 runs over into 2018 – which could possibly impede your
growth or at least postpone your growth (even MORE deadly).

Most of you have heard me preach about ACTION plans -vs- Business plans. For those who have not,
allow me to quickly bring you up to speed.

Business Plan – You pay someone to “map out” your growth step-by-step with absolutely NO
deviation from the course of action, because if you do deviate and you fail it will ALL be on you.

Do they work – in our industry not usually unless you have VERY deep pockets and oodles of

Action Plan – You pay someone to “map out” your growth step-by-step showing you several different
courses of action to achieve your goal. If one isn’t working – change to plan B or C or . . . until success
is achieved in a natural rapid progression.

Do they work – in our industry they can be highly effective because they can teach a dealer
strategic skills and hones their ability to “go out side the box”, “take a chance”, “do something
completely different” . What ever you choose to call it it forces a dealer to get “comfortable” in
UNCOMFORTABLE situations thus business and personal growth are both rapidly moved forward.

Now that we are all on the same page – back to December and your year in review.

  • Where have your advertising dollars been best spent?
  • Which units sat the longest and why?
  • Which units grossed the most?
  • What new resources have you added this year ( Auctions, Wholesalers, Finance Co ).
  • How will you change and what will you change in the following year?
  • Is your website AMAZING or “there”?
  • Have you reviewed changes in the State / Federal laws that may effect your business (Compliance
    being the biggest elephant in the room).
  • Are you compliant in all your communications (email/text)?

This is the SHORT list boys and girls!

My granddaddy had a saying “Buy In or Cash Out” !

Are you committed to growing your business in whatever new avenues it must take?

If that answer is NO then it is time to “cash out” – get out of this business before it eats you up.

If your answer is YES the it is time to “buy in” – time to go off the rails and start doing things different.

There are over 18,000 Dealers in the state of Texas and with the internet at beck and call 24/7 the
playing field is even.

You do business like everyone else the you stand in line to get your portion of that ONE piece of the
pie – along with all the others.

You do business differently the YOU get to pick how much of that pie you can handle!

This is why KNOWING where you are right now is so important to your future – if you’re on the
wrong road . . .

Spend this slow season wisely my friends and remember your coming year be what you create it to be.

Now one quick side note – THE SUNSET OF 2G 3G CDMA GPS TRACKERS is right around the
corner. Our agency has sent newsletters on this topic, however let’s cover this REAL quick.

December 2017 – last month any of these can be purchased
June 2018 – last month ANY of these units can be Activated!

Time to get your Note Customers in and give them a “free oil change” and while the unit is with you
swap out the old 2G 3G or CDMA units out for a 4GLTE.

If you do not – it is on YOU when you can not find your unit. This is a cost of business and WELL
worth every penny!

On behalf of everyone here at Tom Hampton Agency we say;
And may your coming year be one of prosperity & abundance

Keep checking for new products and services @ www.tomhamptonagency.com

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High Octane Tips: Internet Down Tags


The eTags system, as you’ve learned, goes down from time to time. Whether from planned maintenance or unplanned outages, the system going down can be inconvenient to Dealers.

As a reminder, if you are unable to print buyer’s tags, you should use your pre-printed Internet Down buyer’s tags.   Every dealer is now allowed a Minimum of 30 Internet Down tags.

If you have less than 30 printed, print your full allocation now so you are prepared when the eTags system is unavailable.  Please remember that after using an Internet Down tag, you must enter the information for that tag into eTags as soon as the system is accessible.  Doing this, will ensure you always have the full allocation of unused Internet Down tags available when you need them.

Also remember that unused Internet Down tags are valid for one year from the date they are printed.

If you would like to speak to a Service Desk representative, please call 512-465-4010 or toll free at 1-877-933-2020. The Service Desk is available from 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM CDT, Monday through Friday. You may also send email to: ServiceDesk@TxDMV.gov

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High Octane Tips: eTAGs Password Reset

Do you struggle with your eTAGs password?

As a security precaution, passwords must be reset every 97 days.

To update your password, click on the “Forgot / Reset Password” link on the login page and follow the directions.


eTAG password reset Notes:

For your convenience, changing your password for any one of the systems listed below will automatically update your password for the other systems you use (as long as you used the same email address for each system).

  • eTAG
  • webDEALER
  • webSALVAGE

Please note, there are specific character and letter requirements for setting your password. We have attached information on the password requirements, along with an example, for your reference.

If you have any questions about resetting your password, please contact the Service Desk.

TxDMV Service Desk

Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
IT Services Division
3800 Jackson Ave
Austin, TX 78731
(512) 465-4010
(877) 933-2020

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The End of 2G

A Note from Tom: 

For those of you in BHPH, please check the “type” of GPS you are currently using (2G / 3G / CDMA).

In a lot of areas I have been in over the last 8 weeks, dealers are having a devil of a time with units “dropping”, as the cell carriers are beginning to pull down their 2G/3G/CDMA networks.

The carriers (ATT/SPRINT/T MOBILE/VERIZON) have been ramping up their 4G LTE networks for more and better coverage, which means the 2G/3G/CDMA antennas are being reduced on the towers as new 4G antennas are taking their place.

Which means smaller coverage areas for your GPS to function with.

If it is time for you to start rotating out your old units for new 4G LTE units, please keep us in mind.

We carry SVR –  I love the fact they collect 6X the data of any other unit out there and they have dual 4G antennas (most 4G GPS have either low band or high band) which means fantastic coverage.

On December 31, 2019, Verizon plans to retire its CDMA network (1x/EVDO, 2G/3G), and we will stop activating new devices on CDMA after June 30, 2018.

Order a 4G Today.

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3rd Quarter Express

Well my friends the end of the year is right around the corner and I have just one question for you.

On what “Note” will you end your year on ?

(For those in BHPH pardon the pun)

Many of you have heard me use this quote and I think it is fitting given the above question:

Insanity: Doing the SAME thing over and over


Expecting DIFFERENT results”

So, are you going to end your year oh a “high” or “low” note?

Are you looking to next year with anticipation or dread?

NIADA / TIADA the scuttlebutt was all the same . . .

  • Finance is tightening it’s belt
  • BHPH will be king again over the next 24 months
  • Dealers are spending more and grossing less
  • NOW is the best time to . . .

I am here to say boys and girls that regardless of what anyone or any organization says: your 3rd quarter sets the “tone”, “note”, “attitude” or “posture” – (all the same general meaning) for your coming year!

How you end your year is exactly how you will start your year – after all they are only 1 day apart (think about it).

If it were me I might spend my 3rd quarter reassessing my year and reevaluating how I have conducted my business. These are a few of the questions I might ask myself:

Have I consistently purchased units that are quick turn and moderate profit?

Have I found new “ponds” to fish in (buying inventory at the same place still)?

Have I been involved in my community, gotten to know them and allowed them to get to know me?

Have I found new avenues to put my business in front of as many people as my dollars will allow?

Is my web page professional, optimized, have lots of inventory pictures and is a “resource center” for my clients?

Have I sought out new resources for financing that “fit” my client base?

Will I continue marketing to the same clientele or break out and search for new clientele?

Am I continuing to educate myself in my “craft” and striving to be a better owner/boss/buyer/advertiser/finance manager . . . ?

Am I going to continue to let “reality” create ME or am I going to create my reality?

Where am I in my 5yr / 3yr /1yr or 6 month goals?

Have I altered my course or have I altered my goals?

What resources do I need in the coming year to reach my goals?

Is my vision of the future CRYSTAL clear and does everyone I work with understand where we are going?

Who is MY mentor and who am I mentoring?

Is my office/lot presentable or do I need to “spruce up” a bit?

Does the buying process flow smoothly for my clients?

Am I getting “positive” comments on my page from my customers BEFORE they take delivery?

How will I change my “follow up” process with my new clients and how do I keep my previous clients reminded of me?

Okay, I will “let off” for a bit and HOPE

you digest what I am endeavoring to teach you here.

This last quarter is CRUCIAL to the evolution of your coming years business!

You are going to have some “slow” time to get a lot of this accomplished over the next 3 months – MAKE THE MOST OF IT !

As my granddaddy would say “you can be a WHINER or a WINNER” the choice is entirely yours – choose well!

We here at Tom Hampton Agency applaud all those out there “doing it” every day and making lemonade out of the lemons life may give.

Remember that we are never more than an email or phone call away.

My personal goal for this last quarter is to INSPIRE more Dealers to grow beyond their “limiting beliefs”.

Pick up the phone and set up a consultation – your business is worth it and so are you!



Best Wishes,

Tom Hampton and the entire crew here at THA

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TxDMV Warns Buyers Beware of Flood-Damaged Vehicles

Texans urged “Don’t let yourself become the next victim of Hurricane Harvey.”
AUSTIN – With an estimated 500,000 to one million cars and trucks ruined in recent floods from Hurricane Harvey, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) is urging Texans to do their research before buying a new or used car. While many of these vehicles will go through insurance companies and get marked as flood damaged, there may be tens of thousands of vehicles that are uninsured or are covered by liability only insurance. These are the vehicles that pose the greatest risk to Texans.

“Too many Texans already get taken advantage of by people selling flooded, salvaged, and rebuilt vehicles as though they were in perfect condition,” said TxDMV Executive Director Whitney Brewster. “Don’t let yourself become the next victim of Hurricane Harvey; do your research.”

TxDMV uses a national title database under the United States Department of Justice to help stop title fraud and urges consumers to learn how to protect themselves when buying a vehicle. Brewster cautioned, “Don’t let us find a problem after you bought the vehicle. Protect yourself before you buy.”

TxDMV offers these tips to help detect water damage on a vehicle:

  • Get the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) off the vehicle you want to buy.
  • Do a Title Check and obtain a Vehicle History Report at www.TxDMV.gov/title-check.
  • Have an independent mechanic examine the vehicle.
  • Examine the interior and engine compartment for evidence of water and grime. An extremely clean vehicle might also be a red flag to investigate further.
  • Check for rust on areas of the vehicle that normally do not come in contact with water.
  • Check for issues with electronical components such as door locks, windows, or motorized seats.

While these inspection suggestions will not detect water damage in every case, they do provide some information to protect consumers from purchasing a vehicle damaged by water, such as a flood. If you are considering purchasing a vehicle that you suspect may have been damaged by water, consider having it inspected by a licensed mechanic.

Go to TxDMV’s Title Check page. It provides information on obtaining a Vehicle History Report from the only vehicle title database in the nation where all states, insurance carriers, and junk and salvage yards are required by federal law to report. It contains title information on cars, trucks, motorcycles, motorhomes, buses, and big rigs – virtually every titled motor vehicle in the country.

“When title fraud happens, innocent people are hurt,” Brewster said. “We need everyone to urge their family members, neighbors, friends, and coworkers to do their research and spend a few extra dollars before they buy any vehicle.”

“Remember,” she added. “Don’t Buy a Wreck. Do a Title Check.”

For more information:


Title Check


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TxDMV Hurricane Harvey Delinquent Transfer Waiver

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles has issued a Delinquent Transfer Penalty Waiver for Dealers in counties affected by Hurricane Harvey.

On August 30, 2017, Governor Greg Abbott granted the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles’ (TxDMV) request for a waiver of the delinquent transfer penalty, which covers the counties in the Governor’s Disaster Proclamation. The waiver is valid for 45 days from August 30. As a result of this waiver, the days calculated towards the delinquent transfer penalty are paused as of August 30 and do not begin accruing again until October 15, 2017.

Applicants who have incurred delinquent transfer penalties prior to August 30 will continue to be subject to those penalties. The amount of the penalty, if any, due on August 30 will be the amount due during the entirety of the 45-day waiver period. As of October 15, 2017, any delinquent transfer penalties calculated by the Registration and Title System (RTS) will be due, and no credit will be given for the 45-day waiver period.

webDEALER automatically assesses the $10 dealer delinquent transfer penalty for applicable transactions. Dealer transactions eligible for the delinquent transfer penalty waiver must be submitted over-the-counter to the county tax office; otherwise, webDEALER dealers will need to obtain a refund of the delinquent transfer penalty accessed by webDEALER.

If you have any questions, please contact your local TxDMV Regional Service Center.

Download the Delinquent Transfer Penalty Calculator to estimate your fee.

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Riding Out the Holiday Season

Christmas is a unique time of year in the automotive industry, sales are historically very slow in most markets of the U.S., and Texas in particular.

Most of you know that I travel extensively across Texas, and so far I have found sales to be slow with ONE exception – CASH.

For decades I have known and passed on to my dealers: from late October until mid February CASH cars are king!

I have dealers all across the state still selling 18 – 25 cash cars – EVEN in December.

Depending on your market / advertising / transparency the pricing ranges from $6,500 up to $11,500 with mileage from 110k to 140k – pay ATTENTION to what I just said!

  • Target market = knowing to “whom” you are advertising / their pricing point and the particularly “hot” vehicle they are after.

This will greatly affect what you are purchasing and from where you purchase.

This is where recon is KING and having a standard 60 /80/120 point STANDARIZED check list is worth it’s weight in gold!

Having all of your inventory go through the same process of reconditioning only assures MORE customer satisfaction and can be on Hell-Of-A-Closing tool for higher gross profit.

Having a DMS (dealer management software – like Frazer) can be an invaluable tool because of the information with in.

What color car sells the quickest?

Which make of vehicle sits on the lot the longest?

Where are your advertising leads doing their best?

All of this information including zip code analysis and more is available to you right now. Most DMS companies can create custom reports for their clients for a small fee or no fee at all!

Having a CRM (customer relationship management software – like Selly Automotive) allows you to “funnel” all those leads through one place with plenty of “tools” built in for calendaring / email / texting / photo sharing / price quoting / etc.

Having all that in one place, along with reminders for you about followup (which leads to more sales and referrals) allows you more productivity and less “Oh Crap I Forgot to …” !

If you have salespeople, you can watch “how” your lead is being handled and what is being said – not to mention switch prospects between salespeople, should the need arise (vacation/termination/etc.).

  • Niche Advertising = knowing where your dollars get their most return – not only in number of leads generated but also in leads closed.

Where is your target market looking first?

Is social media important in your target markets PURCHASING criteria?

If so and you know nothing about social media (Facebook/Twitter etc) then HIRE someone or some company to do it for you!!!

****WARNING**** you had best do 2 things when “contracting out” your advertising

– 1st ask for references and verify that results are worth the money

– 2nd Preview and authorize all verb-age and campaigns BEFORE they are posted
(remember it is YOUR license on the line here if a complaint is lodged).

How much will you spend in advertising in order to garner a sale?

Average advertising dollars that I see being spent out there is $300 per unit.

That being the case the WHY are some of you still only adverting on Craigslist “For Sale By Owner” (besides a lie to the customer – which by-the-way BLOWS your credibility you are limiting yourself to that niche market only) ?

  • Transparency = knowing when to “show your hand” and what to show is now a crucial and key part of today’s selling.

When you have certain standards in place (recon check list and procedures) these become major assets to your sales.

Today’s buyer wants to know as much about your vehicle as possible (CarFax / Autocheck/ NADA / Recalls / etc.) BEFORE it becomes their vehicle and the burden is on you for this information.

Now if this is a $2,995 unit – they can spend the money for the CarFax, however if it were me – I would still provide one (procedures – standards in place).

Your reputation is EVERYTHING in this business – that and most dealers out there are STILL conducting their business based off a 100yr old model.

Business has changed and if you are not willing to keep up and make some changes in your business thinking – then do not complain when you are left behind and your sales tank !

If I had a prospect that was curious as to the vehicle’s condition – promise you they would have an overload on their hands. I would gladly show all my pictures (showing any and all imperfections) along with my recon report showing what I did and what I did not do. Then my CarFax, NADA retail sheets and a “Drive Out” price quote. If my unit is more expensive than another one that prospect is looking at – then I am going to use those reports to build value in my unit / my dealership and myself. People pay for quality and value – EVERY TIME. As a matter of fact in most instances once value outstrips price – people buy!

OK, so there you have a successful formula
to “Ride Out” the Holidays.

Create-a-great-future : One day at a time, one client at a time

From all of us at Tom Hampton Agency (Tom/Lety/Ana/Denise/Barbara)
e send our warmest wishes for you and yours – that this season is one of great abundance
(Family, Friends, Love, Health and Happiness)

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Cyber Monday Sale

2017 is right around the corner…

Are you Setup to Succeed in the New Year? If you have any doubts, or just want a refresher, take advantage of our Cyber Monday Sale! Book a Consultation today for a date in January and Save 25%!*

Get Setup for the Following:

  • Sales Training
  • Ins & Outs of Financing
  • Leaving $$ on the Table: How you’re missing 100’s of Dollars each deal
  • What makes a good Vendor
  • Covering (& Re-covering) Your Assets
  • & More!

Your Success is important to us here at Tom Hampton Agency!

Call us at 713-481-6712 or Send us an e-mail to book today & see the full range of things we have in store for you.

Create A Great Day!
Tom Hampton

*Bookings must be paid in advance to qualify for 25% Discount. Must book by 12/10/2016. Promotion applies to Houston Area Only. Travel fees may apply for locations outside promotional area.


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Thanksgiving 2016: Time to Reflect

Here we are in November 2016, two months into the 4th Quarter. The time of year that is historically slow in our industry is the perfect time, my friends, to BE thankful. Thankful for the opportunity to Reflect & Change.

During this slow season we encourage you to capitalize on the ONE thing missing the rest of the year – TIME. Use this time to look back over your 2016: your inventory, your make-ready, finance, vehicle sources, and  advertising dollars. Is where you are now where you wanted to be at the beginning of the year? Have you reached your goals?

Looking back allows you the best viewpoint. After all, they say hindsight is 20 /20. To see any of the failures or “mis-takes” that may have been made. “Mis-takes” that may have been encouraged and ended up costing time, money, or clients in some form or fashion. By finding the so called mis-takes, you know where to make adjustments to make your business even more successful.

Every successful business has course corrections along the way. These come from taking responsibility for important Business Decisions and learning from both Successes AND Setbacks. By looking at our “failures” we gain the opportunity to learn, and then change that aspect of our business.

Allow me to give an example:

  • Year to date – 78 Units Sold
  • Year to date – 127 Units Purchased
  • Year to date Gross Profits – $93,600
  • Year to date Net Profits – $32,760

That leaves quite a gap between Gross and Net Profits. So where is the missing $60,840 ?

  • Divide $60,840 by 78 sales = $780 per unit
  • Subtract $200 per unit in Advertising and last minute recon,  that leaves $580 per unit.
  • Rent $3,000 / Utilities $1500 mo = $45,000 divided by 78 sales = $576.93

and THAT my friends eats up the $580 per unit carried.

What this tells me as a Dealer – 1 st is that I have MADE profit.

2nd is that I did not make enough to GROW my company

3 rd Time to change the way that I do my business so that I can GROW my dealership in the coming year, starting Jan 1, 2017

Here are a few things that I would be looking at very closely

  • Business plans -vs- Action plans
  • Shift Advertising dollars into Referral dollars
  • Shop finance companies and floor planners
  • Find 3 new mechanics
  • Find 3 new inventory sources
  • Invest into networking and social media
  • Transparency -vs- Take-home mentality

Some of this must sound like a foreign language – it is the language of Business and Change.

Every and I do mean EVERY successful Dealer has incurred SPECTACULAR failures along his journey’s way. Failure is an integral part of success – if you never fail you will never know HOW to succeed. Where the difference in success comes from, is by doing exactly as we did in the example above – Analyze and Learn. Then immediately apply ACTION in the needed areas.

Belly-aching or Brainstorming – which is going to make you the most money for time spent? I will testify to the latter of those two . If you are stuck and can not see a way to change, then brainstorm with a successful buddy (regardless of business type). A fresh set of eyes and ears can make a HUGE difference on your perspective. Helping you find your desired outcome from the changes you are willing to make.

Let’s be honest, shall we? – At one point, we have all allowed Pride to take money out of our pockets. That can be human nature, at times. The better part of human nature also allows to invest in our dreams. That investment can be financial / physical / social / emotional or just plain old Time.

When was the last time you looked at your “dream”? Do you have the same dream, or in the last 10 months, has your dream shifted? If your dream has shifted, do you like the direction it’s going now?

Knowing your Dream and keeping your dream alive, having it in front of you everyday, will act as a compass towards greater success – EVERYDAY!

YES, November is a month of thanksgiving and evaluating – in not only business but relationships as well.

I appreciate all of you in a way you may never fathom. You are my Clients, my Friends, my “Comrades-in-Arms”. We have exchanged so much knowledge and learning between us. You have allowed me to build a business that I so dearly cherish and champion! I thank you for every opportunity you have given us.

The holiday season is upon us! We here at THA wish all of you a healthy, happy, most successful and prosperous seasons to come.


Tom Hampton & the Team of Tom Hampton Agency

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