Choosing a car dealership

Finding the Best Car Dealership

When shopping for a new car it is important to choose a dealership you can trust, rely on, and feel comfortable doing business with. This long-term relationship is especially important for customers who like to have their car serviced at the same dealership for the life of their vehicle. These positive business-to-customer relationships are not only good for the consumer, but also the dealer. The best dealers work hard to cultivate life-long customers through every aspect of the car buying process from the moment the customer drives onto the lot to when the car is being serviced years down the road.

How did we get to where we are today?

In the pre-Internet days of car buying the consumer was essentially at the mercy of the dealership. A lot of money is at stake and the dealer held all the cards. The only thing the consumer knew was how much their neighbor may have paid for their new car. For decades, this situation was used by unscrupulous cash for cars dealers and service shops to take advantage of car buyers. The actions of a handful of dealerships over the years unfortunately tainted the entire business of selling and maintaining cars the point where the common perception was that ALL dealers were out to rip off the consumer. Fortunately, this undeserved reputation is not true.

It is true there are still a few bad apples in the bunch, but overall a majority of car dealers practice good business and try very hard to overcome the stigma they have been unfairly saddled with. If they did not, these dealerships would not be around. If you think about it, the average dealership customer is a local resident who talks to other potential customers every single day. As we all know, word gets around, especially about negative customer service experience. The bottom line is that dealerships with a track record of treating customers poorly rarely survive in the long term. Fortunately, it is easy to weed out the ne’er-do-wells and concentrate on the dealers who deserve your business.

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Finding a Good Dealer

How does a well-informed car buyer like you find a good dealership before it is too late and the purchase has been made? Here are a few things to look out for and to think about when shopping for a new car:

  • Read the Dealer Reviews – The dealer reviews on are honest reviews from customers just like you. These reviews can provide a good idea of overall dealership quality. If you have done business with a dealership, we would like you to rate the experience by visiting our dealer locator and clicking either the green “thumbs up” button for a positive experience, or the red “thumbs down” button for a negative experience. You may also write a review.
  • Dealer Longevity – Selling cars is a tough business and dealerships can come and go. This is particularly true of cash for cars dealers opening their doors for the first time less than 12 months ago. Is the dealer you buy a car from going to be there in the future when you need assistance? It is usually safer bet to purchase a vehicle from a well-established dealer who has been a member of the community for a number of years.
  • Better Business Bureau – Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) web site for your state by visiting the Better Business Bureau site. The BBB keeps records about customer complaints for up to 36 months and these records show if the complaint was resolved in accordance with BBB policies. Comparing several dealers in the same area can quickly reveal trouble spots.
  • Facilities – How a dealership staff cares for the facility can say a lot about how the dealership. Good dealers take pride in their showroom and their facilities. Look around when you first pull into the lot. Are the facilities clean, orderly, and in good repair? Are the cars on the lot clean? Are the sales, service, and support staff dressed professionally? Is the service area neat and tidy?
  • Customer Service – When you are on the lot or in the showroom shopping for a car does the sales and service staff treat you with respect? If not, run. Everybody has their bad days and salespeople are no exception, but if you feel like the sales or service staff is not treating you properly, it will taint the rest of the car buying process. If you are feeling uncomfortable, you are probably better off shopping elsewhere.
  • Ask Around – Ask your friends, family, and co-workers where they purchased their vehicle and if they had a good experience. Most people are happy to share their experiences when asked, especially if the experience was unusually good or bad. Word of mouth is an extremely powerful customer service tool, and dealers know that a single bad episode of poor customer service can potentially cost them several sales down the road.
  • Shop Around – Before settling on a dealership it is wise to shop around. Dealers are usually clustered in groups, oftentimes literally right next door to each other, so it is easy to hop from one dealer to the next. Shopping around lets you not only sample a variety of cars, but also allow you get a feel for what you like and what you don’t like about any particular dealership.
  • Be Informed – Use the resources on to get informed about the vehicle you want to purchase. The more you know, the easier the task of buying a car becomes. Get up-to-date on financing offers, pricing, dealer terminology, incentives, reviews, and car ratings before you visit the showroom.
  • Available Services – Not all dealers offer the same set of services. Ask your salesperson whether the dealership offers services that you may need in the future, such as express service check-in, shuttle service, loaner cars, service rate information, and service department hours are common needs.
  • J.D. Power – J.D. Power and Associates maintains Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) and Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) studies that give an overview of customer satisfaction ranked by manufacturer. The results from these studies are widely available. The SSI study measures the overall dealership experience, dealership facility, salesperson, paperwork & finance, and the delivery process on a 1 to 5 scale.

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Another option of course is to sell your car privately in places like the cash for cars dublin branch which you will find in the map below.

Five tips for eco flooring

A man fixing parquet flooring. Photo: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos

1. The most eco option when it comes to flooring is using the flooring you already have.

Do you have original floorboards or parquet flooring that can be sanded and varnished, stained or painted? In old houses, there are sometimes hidden gems like original stone or tiled floors that have been covered up for years. They may need a little TLC, but they make a great feature.

2. If you don’t have flooring you can restore, the next best thing is buying reclaimed flooring. Putting period features back into an old property is a good way to add value and increase its appeal when you come to sell, but reclaimed flooring tends to be expensive. A more affordable option is new wooden flooring, either solid wood, or engineered wood (with a real wood top layer).

Bamboo is an eco choice, despite being mainly grown in Asia, because the plants take around three to five years to reach maturity, which is a lot less than a typical tree. When shopping for new wooden flooring, look for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) logo. This shows that the wood has been sustainably sourced – all B&Q wood is FSC certified.

3. One of the most environmentally friendly types of flooring (and the cosiest) is wool carpet. Making a wool carpet uses only about 10% of the energy used to produce a nylon one and wool is, of course, sustainable because sheep re-grow their fleeces after being shorn.

While there are plenty of great British wool carpets (70% of British wool goes into carpet), New Zealand wool carpets also have eco credentials. New Zealand may be on the other side of the world, but every kilogram of wool produced there is said to equate to less CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas than driving an average-sized petrol car for a mile.

Most of the impact of getting wool to market is from land and water use, and Wools of New Zealand (a premium brand of carpets and rugs manufactured to quality standards) works with its producers to minimise that impact. What’s more, a single fleece from a New Zealand sheep will make about 4sqm of carpet, which is double the amount from wool than from many other places.

4. For an eco carpet underlay, try Crumbwool. A collaboration between Wools of New Zealand and Anglo Recycling, this underlay is made from 100% recycled carpet fibres and 100% recycled rubber. Crumbwool uses carpet offcuts, which would normally go to landfill, from British carpet manufacturers, and recycled rubber tyres for the backing.

5. Wool (and cotton) can be combined with other natural fibres in flooring, but you can also get natural flooring that’s purely sisal, coir, seagrass or jute, etc.

This is similar to carpet but tends to have a more pronounced texture. Natural flooring is sustainable and renewable because it’s made from plants that grow relatively quickly, but to temper that, they are usually grown in Asia and other far-flung places.

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Roofing Company Keeps On Top Of Safety, Innovation

Most roofing companies do fine work, but they just put on roofs. They don’t concentrate on insulation or have a safety division that works with clients to provide them with dependable and reliable access to roof areas. And they probably don’t receive patents for their solutions in either area.

Of course, most companies don’t have a CEO who lives off the grid, either.

Springfield in Kingsley focuses on innovative solutions for its clients, whether that means simply roofing or providing insulation that keeps refrigerant tubes from icing up or leaking.

“We do a lot of work for food and fruit companies,” explained CEO Terry Umlor. That included trying to find ways to prevent ice buildups in freezers, or refrigerant lines filled with ammonia from being contaminated by water from leaks.

“We weren’t trying to create a widget (to) patent, but to solve a problem,” he said. “We struggled to find anything (that would work).”

But a search for a solution proved, well, fruitless. So they created their own. It took two years of research and development for the company to develop a product that would prevent contamination and protect against ammonia vaporization inside the pipes and the subsequent degradation of the insulation. It began using the process in 2008, and in 2012 was granted a patent for it, which it dubbed SmartShield™ technology. Not only do company clients see a return on their investment due to savings on energy and maintenance costs, they no longer face the specter of replacing the insulation every few years.

That’s not the only area where the company stands apart. It recently received a second patent, this time for its SmartAnchor™ Fall Prevention System. The product safely secures an extension ladder to the roof of a building in order to keep it from slipping sideways along the roofline or slipping out from the wall at the ground level.

“The old way of working was to run and hide from OSHA (the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration),” said Nick Jacqmain, company president. “Terry made the decision to embrace safety, make it an everyday thing. It’s the right thing to do.”
Springfield workers work on roofs of all shapes, sizes, and pitches. “We’re confronted with many different issues,” said Umlor. “We want to ensure a safe work environment.”

Since the issue of worker safety can keep people up at night, it seems only right that that’s when the solution came to Umlor. “I woke up in the middle of the night and came up with the idea,” he said. The next day he presented it to the rest of his staff for discussion and modifications, and within a week they were using it.

That was two years ago. Six months after the initial design they began the patent application, and received the patent earlier this year.

The company also touts its use of rooftop natural daylight fixtures. The so-called “skylights on steroids” are tube fixtures which concentrate and evenly distribute sunlight from the roof into the industrial workspace. The natural light can cut energy bills in half by eliminating the need for artificial lights.

The skylights are made in the U.S. by Orion Energy Systems and are used by beverage company MillerCoors in its distribution facility in Milwaukee, resulting in savings of $127,000 a year on electric lighting.

All in a day’s work for the company, which has clients across Michigan as well as some nearby states. Jacqmain said it stems from Springfield’s focus on the entire scope of a client’s needs. “Even before entering the fall protection business we were always looking at the building envelope,” he said.

And yes, Umlor and his wife Terri Jo (company CFO and human resources director) do indeed live off the grid. Their home is a mile from the road, and the cost to get hooked up was steep. Umlor had always been interested in alternative energy, and today their home is powered by solar cells and wind turbines. He estimated that the cost of purchasing and installing all the energy sources they currently have would run around $30000-40,000 today, though he built it bit by bit over the years. “We have TV, microwave, washer and dryer,” he said. “We have just become more conscious of using energy.”

That kind of innovative thinking has obviously served his company well.

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