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An Interview with Dave Mathews

An Interview with Dave Mathews

Meet Dave Mathews, President and CEO of United Car Care Inc., a vehicle service contract administrator in Greenwood Village, Colorado. Dave has been in the automotive retail and insurance business since 1975. He has practical understanding of business through the eyes of an experienced agent and former retail franchise owner. Today, he enjoys the challenges of the current business environment and talks about some of the ideas that keep his company competitive. Dave expects the future to be bright and full of exciting challenges. “If you stay focused on your customer’s needs, work hard and adapt to changes in the market, I think you will find success. This is a great market to be a part of.”

  1. Tell me a little bit about your company and its place in the industry?

United Car Care (UCC) was incorporated in 1984 by agents who understand the continual challenges agents face in business. We are authorized to do business in all states with the exception of Hawaii. We began as a regional company, concentrating on Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, but developed a national presence in 1996. UCC offers a variety of extended service contracts for all makes and models. Because we are considerably smaller than most of our competitors, it allows our people to pay close attention to details while offering extensive flexibility to our dealers and clients. Everyday, we receive requests for terms and coverages that didn’t exist even six years ago. We are a full spectrum administrator, covering almost any vehicle the dealer chooses to sell, including high mileage vehicles with over 150,000 miles. You must remain competitive and responsive to last over 30 years.

  1. Are there any recent or future developments within your company?

United Car Care is always looking to the future and how we can impact it along with our partners. From a product standpoint, we recently created both an “add-on mile” contract as well as a “Lifetime Protection Plan”. While our core business is franchise and independent dealers, we have expanded into the lender space and have custom designed products for credit unions and banks.

  1. How did you personally get started? What caused you to choose this career path?

I began my career in the auto industry after college as an F&I manager working for     the second oldest full-line Chrysler dealership in the country. After more than a dozen years in retail, I became interested in the service contract business and gained an employment opportunity with a local general agent. In 1996, I joined United Car Care as executive vice president while sharing a minority interest in the company. I purchased the company in 2009 and today carry the position of president and CEO. The business remains fascinating, working with over 200 franchised dealers every day.

  1. What do you like to do on your days off? What activities/sports are you passionate about?

The company (UCC) is very important to me and I‘ve worked hard to get where I am today, but my family has always come first. In October, my wife and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. Our son, Cameron, works in our claims department as a payment supervisor, while our daughter, Erin and her husband, Asa, have just blessed us with our first grandchild, Fiona LeeAnn.

I enjoy playing golf whenever possible and am an avid Denver Broncos fan.

  1. Tell us about your family and the role they have played in your success.

Having been in the automobile business for 40 years, they have been by my side through it all, being my biggest cheerleader. In 2008, the market collapsed, yet I entered into a buy/sell with my partner at the time to buy the remaining majority stock. My wife and family supported my decision with encouragement and excitement. As we all remember, General Motors and Chrysler were facing bankruptcy, but we held on and today entertain a 200% growth analysis. Having the support of family during these times provides the incentive and motivation to help achieve this kind of success.

  1. What are the biggest issues you see facing the industry today and in the future?

Consistency in the marketplace. No one cares if we get back to the glory years of 2002-2007. We have learned that slow, steady growth works. If you’re not growing, you’re going backwards. United Car Care used to be one dimensional with franchised dealers only, but over the last six years, we have developed a well-balanced book of business by adding independent dealers, finance companies and credit unions. If the business model makes sense, and our underwriter, Dealers Assurance Company, blesses it, we will take on just about any auto related administration functionality. Don’t say “no”, instead always agree to take a serious look at opportunity.

  1. What advice would you give someone new to this industry?

For the folks who sit back and watch how we accomplished what we have, trust me when I tell you, “It was not easy.” You must have a solid business plan, hire good people, capitalize properly and expect to do nothing but eat and sleep this business for the first three to four years. If you sign business today, you may not see revenue for 120 days and, because contracts are cancellable, you must escrow during the high tide because as the past has shown us, there will definitely be a low tide.

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