Pretty sweet arrangement. If your data were your daughter, you could pay big bucks to Reynolds and Reynolds to watch after her while they rent her out for even bigger bucks. To become a Certified Reynolds Integration partner (and have access to your daughter), the fee is in the range of $60,000 to start…to start! Each ‘date’ with your daughter then costs a bundle as well. Remember, you, the dealer, are also paying for the privilege of having the daughter (data maintenance).
Reynolds has always been pretty much a one-way street vendor for dealerships, but when UCS bought them a few years back, they turned up the extortion-like racket to new heights. The Mafia could learn a few things from these guys. In most protection rackets only the merchant is on the ropes. In Reynold’s case, the merchant and all of their vendors have to pay homage to the ‘protector and collector’. Try to get out of it and you don’t get your legs broken; instead you face a couple of hundred thousand dollars in ‘separation’ fees or a similar amount if you want to take it to court…you’ll probably win in court, but the attorney fees will be similarly substantial.
Someone may come to the rescue. Perhaps Ford, GM or Honda will come to the rescue of their dealers and offer an open-ended platform that all dealers can (and will) use at a fraction of the price Reynolds is charging. While we wait for that day to come, I would recommend having your state’s Attorney’s General go over your R&R contract for illegal clauses dealing with restraint of trade and unreasonable requirements.
I’ve gone over this before in several blogs. Your data is only unique because of the combination of customers therein. Each individual that you have in your data base is more than likely in other dealer’s data bases. It’s the combination that makes it unique. Without the ability to profile (using statistically significant attributes) your customer base, you have your hands tied behind your back when attempting to scientifically grow your business or accurately measure the results of your efforts. Vendors need to use your data for your benefit only…it’s of absolutely no use to anyone else!