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Featured Merchants July 5th, 2007


Toyota vs. Godzilla
by Peter W. Robinson

photoThe worst thing any car salesman ever has to do is explain to a customer that the car they are trading in isn't worth much money. Or any money. This is how the conversation often goes:
Sales Manager: What’s he trading?
Salesperson: (handing over a form) "This one here..."
SM: "Ouch. What does he think it's worth?"
SP: "$11,500."
SM: "Where did he get that number from?"
SP: I dunno.
SM: "Let's open him up a bit..." (scribbles on paper, hands it to SP)
SP: "Oh...oh, no, no, no ... you're kidding, right?"
SM: "Just take it out there. Now."

The difference between what folks think their cars are worth and what they are actually worth is dramatic. The Kelley Blue Book ( assesses the values of cars in various geographical markets. They are very good at what they do, so good that many credit unions use the retail KBB to determine how much to loan on a purchase (CU's usually use retail numbers for their figgerin'), and many dealers use Kelley as a pricing guide.

But one thing that Kelley does not accurately measure--and barely pays lip service to-- is the real trade-in value. The problem is this: In the real world, a car is worth exactly what it can be sold for at that very moment in time. The sun goes down, the sun comes up, and a car is worth less money.

There is actually another Kelley product, one that many dealerships use to value and manage their used car inventories. Unlike most credit unions, banks base their financing formulas on wholesale value rather than retail, and they respect the numbers issued by this other book enough to base their financing on them. This other book (really a software program) is known as Karpower, and it takes into full account the costs of reconditioning and the necessary replacement of wear and tear items. It is a far more accurate measure of value ... but it is still not the BEST measure of value.

The only real way to determine a car’s value is to answer this question: How much can I sell this for in the next ten minutes? Only dealer auctions provide any real-world perspective. Using this criteria, the amount that can be fetched at the next available auction is the actual value of the car (minus costs of transportation and auction personnel).

With the typical labor cost for mechanics at or near a hundred dollars an hour, any bill for any work can run to a thousand dollars or more very easily. The used car department pays the service department for the work, the expense is added to the base cost of the vehicle, and the amount left between the asking price and the amount already invested is the margin. The smaller the margin between the KBB retail price, a price many buyers are well familiar with, and the amount the dealership has invested in the car--how much they are "in it for."--the less bargaining room they have. In other words, the more they give that guy for his trade-in, the less they will be able to bargain with you on the same car!

Peter W. Robinson is the founder of Movinmetal, a family-owned car buying and consulting service in Escondido, CA., just north of San Diego. He has spent many years working in the car business, and is convinced that there is a better way to complete car deals. He can be contacted at 760.688.6398 or at the website


. . . A Poem as Lovely as a Tree

photoWhen Joyce Kilmer wrote those words he probably didn’t know about Torin Sherman and his American Tree Service . . . but had he known, he likely would have written one other poem and dedicated it to Torin and his staff.

They were of like minds, you see. Both love trees.

All those beautiful trees you see that so majestically stand next to area driveways . . . those trees that decorate corporate grounds, beautiful homes . . . they didn’t happen by accident, you know. Someone who cares about trees, who knows trees, attended to them; made sure they were properly trimmed, properly looked after.

Ever since he was a kid, Torin, or Torie, as most of us call him, grew up thinking and working with trees and with wood. It was a natural transition for him to become involved with trees as a profession because they simply fascinated him. Because of this fascination he has managed to put together a brilliant tree service company that will do most anything on your property that deals with trees. He’ll make sure they’re trimmed properly, if they need to be eliminated he’ll cut them down safely and see to it they are properly disposed of.

All of these trees start out naturally beautiful but when Torie and his American Tree Service get involved . . . you can be sure your trees will become even more beautiful . . . the most beautiful trees on the street, with the finest in professional tree care.

photoTorie Sherman and his American Tree Service have developed such a tremendous reputation that he has attracted major clients such as Torrey Pines Properties, Hazard Coast Company, Commercial Properties of San Diego, Casino Viejas, Sycuan Casino . . . but never fear, Torie and his American Tree Service can and will handle your tree needs as well. As he often says . . .there’s no job too big . . . or too small. He has many residential clients througout North San Diego County.

He is fully insured, has a highly trained staff, a state of the art truck and large wood chipper . . and a solid reputation for getting the job done and doing a spotless job of cleanup when the job is finished.

If you need tree pruning, or crown cleaning, crown raising, or crown thinning . . . American Tree Service can handle it! You need tree removals? Lot clearing? Stump grinding? There’s very little that Torie Sherman and his American Tree Service haven’t done in the area of tree service. As always, estimates are free. He’ll be happy to come to your home, determine your needs, and if you wish advice, he’ll offer it. Once you determine what you want done he’ll quote you a price. Once you have given him the assignment he’ll report on time, get the job done, on time, and within your budget. It’s simply how he does business!

American Tree Service is licensed, bonded and fully insured. They are fully trained and use only the tops in equipment and personnel. About 12 years ago, Torie met Kelly. It was magic. They were soon wed and the magic continues as, together, they built the fastest growing and most succesful tree service company in North San Diego County.

In addition to top personnel and equipment as well as training, one of the reasons American Tree Service has been so successful is the efficiency of their operation. They can have three or four jobs going the same day and every one will have the crew arrive on time, will complete their work, have the truck arrive for chipping of wood and area cleanup and will be on their way, the job completed, on time. That’s efficiency!

For an absolutely free estimate, give Torie a call at American Tree Service. You can reach him at 760.839.9233, or on his cell phone at 760.580.4012.

Call now, while it’s fresh in your mind!


Pictured in front of their state-of-the-art truck is Kelly and
Torin (Torie) Sherman with their Jack Russell Terrier, Roxy.






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