Tom McParland, a resident Oppo and Jalopnik contributor, manages a service called Automatch Consulting. He probably describes what he does better than I can, so I stole the following from his website:
Are you in the market for a new car? Automatch makes it easy. We provide a variety of services to empower you, the buyer, whether you are purchasing or leasing. Our comprehensive vehicle evaluation provides you with personalized recommendations based on your needs. We do the work for you to get you the best car for the best price.
[Full Disclosure: Tom didn’t necessarily want me to review Automatch at all. But he did pick up the phone when I called him out of the blue, in need of his help. He doesn’t know I’m writing this. I hope he doesn’t mind]
FYI: There’s a TLDR version at the bottom.
Regulars of Jalopnik and Oppositelock are probably familiar with Tom’s offerings. As stated above, he essentially helps people get the car that they’re looking for, for the best price available. Tom earns money be leveraging his expertise to provide the following services:
- Comprehensive Evaluation
- Vehicle Recommendations
- Technical Comparison
- Vehicle Locator Service
- Dealer Invoice Pricing
- Step-by-Step Consulting
- Negotiating Support
- Trade-in Advice
- Financing Strategies
- Full-Service Negotiations
Typically, Tom discusses his services within the context of non-car enthusiasts who aren’t sure exactly what they want and who need help from an expert, which doesn’t exactly frame Oppositelock readers as his target demographic. However, in my experience, his knowledge can be helpful to anyone buying a car. Here is my experience:
For the past few months (okay, 18 months) I have been closely monitoring the market of lightly-used 2013 Porsche Boxster S examples, with the intention of purchasing in early May of this year. My requirements were very specific...
- Model year 2013
- Under $47,000
- Manual Transmission
- Boring color. Nothing in Red, Blue, or Yellow (sorry)
- Less than 25,000 miles
- Dual Zone climate control and Heated/AC seats
- Bonus points for full leather interior, chrono pack, 14 or 18-way seats, and any other extras
On the surface, I don’t look like an ideal candidate for Tom’s help, at all. I knew exactly what I was looking for, these cars are relatively uncommon,I knew how I was paying for it, there isn’t a whole lot of room for negotiation, and I wasn’t looking to trade a vehicle. Basically, I didn’t need anything that’s specifically called out in the list above.
After months of searching, I finally found the exact car I wanted. It had everything in the list above, including all of the extras I could reasonably hope for. It even had a couple of aftermarket additions, like a plexiglass, rear windscreen and clear corner markers, Nice! They were located in Miami (I’m in Cincinnait) and asking $46,990, which was a little bit more than I was hoping to pay. I should mention here, however, that that’s a great price for how this car is configured.
Unfortunately, my interactions with the dealership were below par, to put it mildly. I first reached out to them with a low-ball offer of $40,000, hoping to get a counter of some sort. They seemed to take it personally, which was odd, and we got off of the phone. This was back in late January, and I was in no rush to purchase, so I let it go for a few weeks. Then, I reached out again, and I gave a $44,000 offer. The manager who I spoke to sounded annoyed and said that I had called him a couple of days ago and he already said ‘no’. I told him that it wasn’t me who had called, and I’m not convinced he believed me. Finally, after another couple of weeks, I sent an email to a salesperson offering a reasonable $46,000, which was my actual ceiling for this car. I didn’t get a response, so I called the dealership. The salesperson who I had emailed picked up the phone, asked to put me on hold, and then hung up on me about 2 minutes later. I called back, frustrated, and asked to speak to a manager. The receptionist said that he had stepped out for lunch but would call me back. A couple of days went by and I heard nothing.
It was time to call Tom.
He and I had never met, but I filled him in on the situation and he offered to see what he could do, in exchange for a small fee. It’s worth noting here that there is no guaranteed ROI on Tom’s services. I consult for a living, and, even with large businesses, it grows tiresome when clients expect to only pay when they see results. You pay a consultant for their time and you trust that they will yield results. Technically, there is a risk associated with Tom. He may get the same price that you could have gotten without him, but I encourage you to take the gamble. I paid through his website, automatchconsulting.com, via PayPal, which was quick and secure. Tom’s website isn’t exactly aesthetically groundbreaking, but it is straightforward and simple to navigate.
Tom worked over the weekend and got everything that I could have asked out of the dealer, and more. He negotiated the price more effectively than I could, communicated with me that there would be a fee associated with being an out of state buyer before they had even said it, got the extra pictures I was looking for, and got the dealer to commit to a bottom-line, out the door price. Hell yeah!
Tom was highly communicative and definitely wound up going above and beyond my expectations. When he handed things off to me, the dealer again became difficult to work with, so I moved on.
I reached out to Tom again, because I was interested in another car and wanted him to give them a shot. Within minutes of him leaving a voicemail, they called me and made an offer right no target with my budget. Tom claims he didn’t have anything to do with it, but I’m pretty sure Tom is a wizard, so there’s that. In spite of them being awesome (here’s the car, for sale by Paramus Dodge/Jeep), I didn’t wind up purchasing this one, either. Sometimes, when it comes time to sign the dotted line, it’s important to do a gut check and see whether this is really the right decision. I decided that I’m going to wait another year so that there isn’t any financing involved, or at least less than 50%. There are some impending purchases coming up, like an engagement ring, so I don’t want to be locked into anything right now. Tom was incredible, though, and I’ll be reaching out to him again when I’m ready. The big takeaway for me was that Tom has a ton of knowledge in this arena. Even if he doesn’t know as much about the Porsche I was looking at or the brown diesel wagon you’re considering, he’s probably helped someone else who was shopping the same space and can provide expertise that gets you the car you want and the best price possible.
TLDR: Tom blew me away. Whether you’re trying to lease a ‘16 Corolla, or you are on the hunt for a total unicorn, Tom can help you out. The worst case scenario is that you don’t generate an ROI on his services, but never have to wonder whether you got the best price out there. That’s a damn good “worst case scenario”. The best case scenario is that you save a lot of money and a decent amount of time by allowing Tom to do some legwork for you. A damn good “best case”, as well. Don’t hesitate to give him a call or shoot him an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).