The SuretyBonds.com Small Business Spotlight series focuses on small businesses across industries and the best practices that have helped them succeed.
When Pedro Mora joined a team of like-minded businessmen to establish Motor R Us LLC (DBA iDrive Auto Sales) in Miami, he was full of excitement for what this new business opportunity could bring. Like many new entrepreneurs, they were a bit in over their heads at first.
Luckily, Mora had the patience and will to learn. Years later, the business has gone from single-digit inventory to a successful dealership with big plans for a second location and even an international expansion.
The Challenges and Rewards of Starting a Business
The key, Mora has found, to making a small used car dealership prosperous in an area full of shiny new franchise dealers is to create thriving customer relationships. As he explained, this begins with empathy. “Many of them, they weren’t trying to create a bad situation — it was just the situation they ended up in,” Mora says of customers who have a rough credit history but find themselves in need of a car. In response to this need, iDrive adopted its Buy Here, Pay Here program.
This program has allowed Mora and his team to shape their policies and decisions around what is best for each customer’s financial situation. For many customers, this means that instead of being turned down for a new car by a franchise, iDrive can approve them for a lower down payment and get them in the right vehicle for their needs. The flexibility that iDrive gives its customers with this program has proven successful in the toughest of times already, with less than 5% of customers defaulting on payments since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Customers being able to afford these payments helped keep iDrive in business during pandemic months when the company saw a significant decrease in traffic.
Many stereotypes surrounding the car-buying process involve loud advertising and pushy salespeople who keep buyers looking at cars they can’t afford for far too long. iDrive has made a point of prioritizing relationships instead. Even after buying, many customers join Mora’s team for coffee and barbeques. Mora says the company has a customer who brings gifts every Christmas, others who remember his birthday, and even one who purchased a car many years ago and has since sent five family members to purchase as well. Relationships that exist beyond a sale are rare in an industry often so focused on numbers and profit, but Mora feels it’s a car dealer’s responsibility to take care of customers and ensure their needs are met in the long run.
Advice for Entrepreneurs
While Mora agrees that innovators like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs are great role models to look up to, he advises people who are starting out to find someone within reach. He looked for a mentor he could talk to, learn from, and network with. The best mentors, he says, are those who are doing excellent work but don’t have to brag about their accomplishments.
He notes that his closest friends and mentors taught him to be a good salesman, understand finances, and build relationships with other businesses. “I credit Michael Pereira and Vincenzo Calagna for letting me be part of iDrive Auto Sales and Arturo Mayoral and Ruben Rodriguez for being excellent mentors and friends,” Mora says. One of the best decisions his mentors pushed him toward was taking online courses through the College of Automotive Management — something he says anyone in the car business should do. After years of learning from his mentors and running iDrive, he is now noticing how his role has changed; he has become someone others look to for advice and mentorship.
Another important piece of advice Mora gives is to take the time to find the resources and people to start a business off right. He prides himself as a businessman who does things correctly and by the book. He recommends not being afraid of government offices, paperwork, or inspectors, but instead viewing them as tools for the betterment of your business. “Go in with the best intentions, and keep going until you find the right person,” Mora advises. “There’s someone whose job is to help businesses — keep going until you find that person.”
He speaks from experience: During a trip to the DMV, he was able to find a regulator who pointed him in the right direction, gave him books on the processes, and recommended helpful websites. From there, Mora was able to navigate the licensing process and gain momentum.
Mora admits he started to love the research and constantly looked for what he needed to do next. His next search was for the right company to provide iDrive with its used vehicle dealer bond. Through his research, he was able to find SuretyBonds.com.
Based on our reviews and reputation, Mora felt compelled to work with us. After his friends were able to tell him of their own great experiences, he knew it wasn’t just the right choice, but an easy one, too. Mentors, after all, pay it forward — and every business can learn from the ones that came before.