If you’ve ever been to a car dealership with a toddler or young child in tow, you know how stressful it can be. It’s hard to really determine whether or not you like a particular vehicle when you’re stressed out and anxious worrying about your child running around.
And what if you can’t get to the dealership to test drive a car because your child is sick? Or what if you want to email or text a sales professional and gather facts before you head out to the dealership – and get a prompt response when you need it?
Well, there’s a new car-buying experience that is making a big difference in how young couples engage in the process. Bob Lannon, sales and leasing consultant for McGeorge Toyota, gave us some great tips and insights about car-buying with kids and finding family-friendly dealerships.
And Bob should know what he’s talking about! Not only has he been in car sales for more than 30 years, he has twin granddaughters.
Car-buying Tips for Families
“Buying a car takes time. The great thing about technology is that we have lots of valuable information about our cars on the website. Parents can browse the information at their convenience. We have as much as 80-85% of the information needed on the website. But when it comes to seeing and test driving the actual car, it’s a different story,” explains Bob.
“Parents comes in to test drive cars and talk about price and specifics. They normally have about 1 to 1 ½ hours to look around, test drive, and evaluate choices. If they have a child or children with them, it cuts into their time and they also worry about the children disturbing other customers or the staff. But at McGeorge, that’s not a problem.”
After spending some time with Bob, Richmondmom.com quickly learned some great tips for parents. And we also learned how the salespeople at McGeorge Toyota have made it easier than ever to bring the kids along.
First of all, Bob explains that they do everything possible to handle customer questions quickly and completely because they know time is valuable. Sales professionals provide customers with brochures, pictures, pricing information, and other important facts to take home with them. This helps the parents review information when they have time. They can return later for a test drive.
Or they can spend the time needed during their visit to answer all of their questions. They are happy to help customers find the best vehicle at the best price for their particular needs.
There are lots of ways to make the experience pleasant for everyone. Bob provides these tips and information:
- If shopping with kids, it’s best to bring them after breakfast and before lunch. The quietest time with the fewest customers in most dealerships is between opening time and around 2pm. Saturday mornings are the slowest time – a great time to shop with kids!
- Come prepared with the child’s favorite snack and drink. The dealerships do have vending machines, coffee, and hot chocolate available too.
- Bring a book, special toy, or even electronics for kids to play with if appropriate.
- Bring a teenage sitter, neighbor, grandparent, or other person to help watch the kids while you shop for a car. Most car dealers have a waiting room where they can play while parents shop.
Special Play Rooms
Being family-friendly means making room for families to spread out and have fun.
McGeorge Toyota has a special play room for kids right inside their dealership. In addition to the large showroom where kids can run off energy, they can find lots of entertainment and fun in the play area.
Bob described the area for us.
“We actually have two waiting rooms. The upstairs 2nd floor waiting area is a quieter area with no TV, but it is equipped for WIFI and has a PAC Man machine (how cool is that – remember those?) where older kids or teens can play. The nice thing about our toddler/children’s play area is that it’s right off the 1st floor waiting room. The first floor is equipped with a TV, magazines, and other materials and this is right beside the play area.”
Bob went on to explain that the play area, for toddlers and young kids to about age 8 or 9 years old, has lots of great features. Kids will enjoy:
- A toybox filled with fun age-appropriate toys (toys are sanitized nightly by the cleaning staff).
- A large puzzle-like interactive game mounted low on the wall where children can move figurines around, slide them through tunnels, and spend lots of time engaged in fun play.
- A television connected to a VCR (yes, he did say VCR and not DVD!) and they have some children’s tapes available. Parents can bring their child’s favorite tape too if they prefer.
- Snacks and drinks can be enjoyed in the play areas.
- Enjoy the play room while waiting for a car to be serviced too!
One very interesting thing about our interview with Bob was seeing how open and receptive the dealership and sales staff is to kids. They realize kids running around can make it stressful for parents. They also know that making a car-buying decision should be done when you are relaxed and comfortable. That’s why they go the extra mile to make kids welcome.
Bob and the other sales professionals can talk with parents in the small waiting room connected to the play area. This is a great alternative for parents who need to keep an eye on their child while reviewing prices, negotiating, and handling other paperwork involved in the deal.
Bob’s office is a virtual playground too. He has an alligator-head business card holder which kids love. He also has small footballs, basketballs and other toys to give to the kids. The furniture is stain resistant and nobody panics if something is spilled because with kids, they know accidents will happen.
“We also know that some parents cannot come into the dealership if they have a sick child or other issues. In these circumstances, we take the ‘dealership’ to them! We can take a car right to their driveway and they can test drive around their neighborhood. What better way to buy a car?” laughs Bob.
It was evident from our discussions at McGeorge Toyota that they are serious about making it a stress-free environment for parents. They do everything possible to make the experience pleasant and easy.
- They use text and email to communicate if that is a good option for customers.
- They respond to calls that come into the dealership via the website/email within about 10 minutes of receipt during normal business hours.
- They make appointments for customer convenience.
Parents will make smarter decisions about purchasing a car if they are at ease and relaxed. McGeorge Toyota is an example of a car dealership committed to a family-friendly environment. They are flexible, creative, and interested in helping young families make the best decisions possible – and that means making the kids a part of the process!
Family-Friendly McGeorge Toyota Hours
Monday – Friday: 8:30am – 8pm
Saturday: 9am – 6 pm
“Our goal is to have your online shopping and service scheduling experience match our award winning customer service, which resulted in earning our 18th consecutive Toyota President’s Award for 2013. Visit the website for more information.”
~ McGeorge Toyota
Sales: (866) 750-8682
Service: (866) 750-8682
Parts: (866) 750-8682