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Appraisee is a new software tool aimed at speeding up and simplifying how car dealers evaluate trade-ins. At present, appraisals are largely paper-based and this can create issues around accountability and traceability. Appraisee digitally connects and integrates all elements of the sales cycle, including negotiations on price, to ensure an accurate record of the process from start to finish.
“Appraisee provides immediate access to all the key data points about a vehicle and ensures the salesperson can identify the margin potential before a price is agreed on,” says founder Colm Murphy. “With retailers making approximately 1.5 per cent net margin on a new car sale, maximising profits on part-exchanges is critical to a business’s profitability. Undervaluing and miscalculating the condition of the vehicle at the appraisal stage can be the difference between a profit or a loss for the dealer.”
The main markets for the sofware as a service (SAAS) product are franchised and independent dealerships and car manufacturers. Murphy set up the company in October 2016 and comes from a background in financial services software. Over the years his customers have included Volkswagen Bank, the GAA and French multinational St Gobain.
Murphy says Appraisee’s product gives sales staff instant access to a vehicle’s history and vital statistics from anywhere at any time on any computer or mobile device. “We didn’t want customers to have to pay for hardware to run the system so that was a key consideration during development, as was creating a really simple and easy user interface,” he says. “Most existing systems on the market are UX and feature poor.
“Having instant access to past appraisals and knowing what prices were quoted also frees up significant time for the sales teams,” Murphy adds. “In addition, management can use the system to delve into appraisal data and sales team performances. Most part-exchange vehicles are underwritten or sold to traders who buy and sell on the vehicle. This process usually involves a phone conversation between the trader and the dealer who verbally describes the vehicle. This can lead to issues with inaccurate descriptions and renegotiations on the price “agreed” over the phone. The Appraisee phone and webchat feature allows every discussion to be recorded in the cloud, where it is accessible (but unable to be edited) for future reference.” Appraisee (short for “appraise easy”) is integrated with major vehicle history in Ireland and the UK.
Murphy came up with the idea for Appraisee having worked on a five-year project with Hertz Rent a Car in Ireland. “We then started looking at industries where outdated paper processes were hampering efficiency and leading to lost profits, and the car-buying cycle turned out to be an exact fit for our skill set and industry knowledge,” he says. “There are a small number of competitors who match us in using photos and videos to capture the condition of a vehicle, but we are unmatched when it comes to the data we have available.”
Appraisee, which employs five people, was launched in April of this year. Investment to date has been more than €100,000 and self-funded. The company is now revenue-generating and has recently signed an agreement with the Society of the Irish Motor Industry to sell the system to the society’s 350 members. It is also currently trialling the product with a large Australian motor group.
Appraisee is based at the business innovation centre in NUI Galway and has recently participated in the NDRC’s Lauchpad accelerator programme at the PorterShed in Galway. Users of the product will pay €99 per month for a primary outlet and €75 per month for additional outlets. There will be one free user subscription with each package and additional users will be charged €25 a head. The company is now looking to raise €850,00 to fund its drive in the UK and Australian markets.