BE ADVISED THAT THIS CHECKLIST IS NOT “ALL-INCLUSIVE.” YOU SHOULD CONSULT WITH YOUR ATTORNEY AND ACCOUNTANT, AND THIS LIST SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AS AN ADDITIONAL AID FOR YOU TO BUILD UPON WHEN YOU CONFER WITH THEM.
Give yourself a termination bonus and prepay for “winding down the business.” Talk to your accountant and attorney regarding a reasonable amount if a company creditor wants to scrutinize the transaction.
Buy a vehicle for yourself and your spouse. Pay “Net” “Net.” Again, discuss with your advisors what is “reasonable.” You might even be able to have the vehicles insured as part of your “wind-down” pay.
Open a new bank account at a different bank, and use (a) a PO Box for an address and (b) a different check color so you can easily determine pre and post-closing checks written. Pay your attorney and accountant a retainer. You will need them and might be unable to pay for them later. You also want to “prepay” whatever bills you can for debts that must be serviced during the wind-down period. For example, property and personal insurance, real property taxes (if you own the property), rent, utilities, aetc
Dealers can be personally liable for at least ½ of the payroll withholding tax and 100% of all sales taxes due. Besides, the dealer can be personally responsible for any monies collected from customers treated as “trust” monies, such as customer trade payoffs, customer credit life insurance premiums, and customer warranty and service contract premiums.
- Arrange for COBRA for you and your family. Again, you may be able to include it as part of your wind-down compensation.
- Secure Demo Plates; they must be surrendered and accounted for when your license is terminated.
- Control all Keys and MMSOs- if your lender does not already have them.
- Secure Old Credit card plates and Machines.
- Check for sold orders and decide whether to deliver, cancel, or refer to another dealer.
Prepare to liquidate used and dealership vehicles such as parts trucks, courtesy vans, and snowplows. You stand a better chance of getting a good price for them by not letting anyone “cherry-pick.” Get several wholesales to bid them as a group.
Liquidate demos with the used vehicles, or sell to other dealers.
Make a list of carryovers, and if the factory does not repurchase them, get the wholesaler to bid you separately and shop them with other dealers.
Talk to an insurance agent about a rider policy, a “tail” on your insurance (See Checklist A), and the requirements to ensure “empty” building insurance.
Cancel company credit cards, including any phone and mobile phones – except your own.
Transfer ownership of the company’s PO Box to yourself.
Secure telephone service. Set a Voice Mail message regarding a dealership referral.
Determine the factory’s obligations/rights to lease/purchase and make your claim within the specified period. If necessary, talk to a Realtor and get your facility on the market (lease or sale).
Find out where credit card monies are deposited and move the account into the same bank where the company’s general performance resides.
Closeout or transfer to another dealer all active service ROs. See if you can get a referral fee. Sublet repairs usually net the dealer 10%.
Create a press release for store closing.
Check all leases for contracts and terms. Arrange for pickup of leased items such as computers, vending machines, copy machines, etc.
Cancel all-new vehicle orders that are not scheduled, and do not order any new cars.
Close out all service R/Os to complete work by the close date. Do not accept any job that can’t be completed by the store shutdown date.
Stop ordering any new parts unless specific to the job you are working on.
Decide on employees who needed to stay to complete the store’s closing.
See too: EzineArticles “Death of a Dealership,” which arovides a checklist for dealers werminating their franchise and closing their stores without having a buyer continue operation in its current location.