The 5 Pros and Cons of VIN Etching and an Alternative Solution
If you’re looking for a way to reduce inventory theft, you’ve probably considered VIN Etching. VIN etching seems like a no-brainer. There’s very little cost involved and it has been proven to reduce inventory theft by making it tougher for thieves to sell the etched parts of the car, but is there a better way?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of VIN etching and a few alternatives to this solution.
VIN Etching Pros:
You can buy an etching kit for as little as $25.
The etching is permanent, so there’s no need to re-apply it on the same area.
You can ask your customers to pay for this service in their agreement paperwork.
VIN etching helps reduce theft.
Some insurance companies offer a small discount for etching services on a car.
VIN Etching Cons:
If the VIN is etched on a vehicle before a customer buys it, the customer may not want to pay for the service, causing you to lose all ROI.
It can be tempting for dealerships to sneak the etching contract in the closing paperwork. (In a worse case scenario, this tactic may be broadcasted as a warning to other buyers, like in this post from AARP.)
If a customer insists that the etching be removed, it can be costly to replace the windows or other areas where the VIN is etched.
VIN etching does not guarantee the safety of your vehicle and will not ensure your vehicle will be returned if it’s stolen.
Etching will not stop those who are seeking a joy ride or wanting to sell the tires and/or expensive parts under the hood.
Now let’s look at some alternatives, like asset inventory management.
Asset Inventory Management and Tracking Pros:
Asset GPS tracking helps ensure that your vehicle will be recovered safely if it is stolen.
It identifies when your car is moving and lets you track the driver with 5 minute updates.
Most devices will send an alert when a car enters or exits a time specific geozone.
You can set off an alarm in the car if it breaches the geozone.
Devices are transferable, so it’s okay if your buyer doesn’t want it.
More insurance companies will offer a discount if your inventory is being monitored and tracked.
GPS tracking can be used to reduce risk on subprime loans; this will make it easier for loans to be approved.
Your team will get notifications for dying batteries which will reduce labor hours and non-start test drives.
It eliminates stress and saves time on floor plan audits.
Asset Inventory Management and Tracking Cons:
Wired GPS units require installation (although many companies offer this service).
Wireless units (and even wired ones) can have connection issues which may cause faulty reporting.
GPS units require more of a fee upfront.
Many providers offer tiered solutions and it can get very costly to get services like Top Stops, driver analytics, user roles, alerts and reports, and more.
With most GPS dealer solutions, there’s typically no way of knowing when a device isn’t tracking until it’s time to locate the vehicle.
It is important to note that Patriot Asset Management is different then most companies. Each high quality unit comes with a non-reporting dashboard for complete device transparency. On top of that, there’s no tiered pricing on services that produce 0 ROI like Top Stops, Driver Analytics, and other services that are pre-built into the platform.
Make sure you do your research before deciding who to use for Inventory Monitoring, and for ROI services like Stolen Vehicle Recovery, or SILVER Protection/SVR Lite for subprime buyers. Ask your tracking provider to see their portal or try a demo device before making any decisions and make sure what they offer has everything you need.
For more information on alternative solutions, increased PVR, and staying connected to customers, contact Patriot Asset Management or see our Blog page for free resources.