What to Look for in a Dealer Management System Provider

When looking for a dealer management system (DMS) provider, evaluating their product with your essential business functions and pain points in mind is important. Below are three best practices for doing so.

A DMS automotive software tool allows your dealership to coordinate sales and finance operations across departments on a single platform. This can help you save money and improve customer service.

Customer Support

Few software and data services a dealership adopts are more important than its dealer management system. This brain of the operation is essential to managing inventory, accounting, sales, customer relationship management, and back office functions, so it’s critical to make a wise choice. Unfortunately, dealerships are often approached by vendors who may not understand the specific needs of a given business and end up selling a product that isn’t right for them.

A good way to avoid this trap is to take a proactive approach by gathering a cross-functional team to evaluate and select the right system for your company. This should include you (or your fellow owners, if any), the general manager, and department managers. Getting input from the people using the system can help you narrow down options and encourage buy-in to your new solution among all departments.

Once you’ve gathered your team, create an Excel spreadsheet that lists your dealership’s most important criteria for its dealer management system provider. Add columns for each vendor you’re considering, then use the spreadsheet to compare their products. You can even provide this document to candidate companies and ask them to fill it in with information relative to their product. This process is a great way to avoid being seduced by the many promises of a potential dealer management system provider.


When selecting a dealership management system provider, finding one that provides the features your business needs is important. Too many systems come with bells and whistles that don’t necessarily support your daily processes. This can end up costing you money in the long run. Be sure to assess your business and consult with team members to determine the areas that need improvement. This will help you avoid selecting a dealer management system that’s not up to your standards and may ultimately cause more problems for your business.

For example, if you’re shopping for a DMS that can boost service department profitability, it should have all the necessary capabilities. Choosing a dealership management system that lacks key features like inventory management, sales process automation, and a dedicated parts database can negatively impact your business in the long run. Additionally, a proper DMS should be able to seamlessly integrate with other third-party software and data services without imposing high fees or other restrictions. A DMS that cannot connect to a mobile write-up tool, for example, can create an inefficient workflow for your technicians and lead to errors when creating repair orders. 


A dealer management system should be able to handle all dealership functions, from inventory and accounting to vehicle sales, after-sales, and spare parts management. It’s important to find a provider that values its dealers and provides the necessary tools for them to meet their goals.

For example, if the system does not have a component that allows dealers to connect with lending and financing institutions to process credit applications, it’s likely not a suitable option. A DMS should also have a sales tool to help salespeople manage their pipeline and customer interactions to maximize the number of closed deals. The system should also include a purchasing system to automate ordering, tracking, and receipts to minimize costs and errors.

The best DMS providers offer complementary services to help dealerships operate efficiently. For example, some provide consulting, data analytics, and office forms and supplies to ease the burden on dealership employees. These additional services can add significant value to a dealer, so ask potential vendors about what they offer. They may also have pre-integrated plug-ins for other popular software platforms, such as CRM and inventory management tools. These integrations allow instant information exchange between systems, eliminating inefficiencies that could otherwise impact your bottom line. They also reduce the manual data entry required by dealership employees, freeing them up for more productive tasks.


Choosing the right DMS provider is an important part of your business. Ideally, you want to partner with a company that values its dealer customers and has similar goals. A good DMS vendor will make implementing a new system as seamless as possible and provide a training team to ensure your employees are comfortable using it.

A DMS software platform allows dealers to carry out daily operations like sales and finance. This allows them to streamline their work and eliminate waste by harmonizing departments around a standard set of objectives. It also saves time and money by avoiding the need to log in to different solutions for each task. When shopping for a DMS, look for one that offers the best integrations and security. This means that your data is automatically backed up each night and has access controls to prevent employees from seeing sensitive information they shouldn’t have access to.