Biter and Sarasota Ford operations manager, Matt Buchanan, son of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, launch Dealers United. The plan is to build a nationwide network of dealers that will have combined buying power with vendors.
The firm creates deals services common to many dealers, from search-engine optimization to customer management software. Network members decide independently if they want to buy into the deal.
Biter and Buchanan say they will spend at least $1 million in startup costs on the business. Five employees have already been hired and Biter plans to hire at least five more for a Dealers United call center.
Buchanan: We are going to work for the dealers. We’ll be more powerful than any one group.
After he drops out of college his mother loans him $1,000 to start HomeNet, a company that installs fiber-optic cable. To make ends meet, he works at car dealerships, setting up computers and helping dealers save money by, for example, stringing together their PCs so they could use a common printer.
Bill Gates (was my inspiration) because he started a company in his basement — a software-based company. I could associate with him. He was solving problems with software, and I knew I could do that.
One dealership asks him to build a website to advertise its cars online. Biter doesn’t know how to create a site, with a friend, makes one. Soon he starts building websites for other dealers.
Biter starts building software that allows information about sales and listings to be handled electronically. The software cleaned up any spotty data…
Dealers would spell ‘Chevrolet’ 100 different ways
…and let sellers and buyers both know exactly what was available where, in real time.