ADP is well known for their payroll services but they also offer dealer management systems and automotive accounting software solutions. For years, ADP operated using a one-server, individual monitor system, meaning no real PCs or Windows interfacing, just the server and monitors for each user. This system is still in use by some dealers today and they're paying through the mouth for it. This older system was designed so dealerships couldn’t choose to buy their own PCs but instead had to purchase (and usually finance) the monitors and the server - with no PC compatibility - meaning if you wanted email or other web services, you had to purchase PCs or laptops.
The cost of this old system was pretty hefty because while it was sold as a packaged system where all departments transmitted data to the accounting department, the base system only came with the basic tools need to run parts, service, sales, and the accounting department. It did meet the requirements of manufacturers including transmission and form requirements; however, ADP didn’t quite reveal what they called “tick" charges. Tick charges were fees on top of the monthly cost for utilizing the software as well as support costs, and a tick charge meant every time an invoice or report was printed, you were charged a few pennies. In addition, this older system required you utilize ADP’s printers to keep track of those tick charges and those pennies added up fast each month. Finally, with the older system, if you financed or leased your equipment, that was a different division of ADP, so you basically got three invoices each month; one for the software, one for support, and one from the financing division. At my Mom & Pop dealership, I was paying approximately $6,000 a month by using this ADP system.
The good part of ADP is that they did adapt to technology and now offer what they call a small dealership package called ADP w.e.b Suite 1000. Although the sever is still inevitably theirs and only theirs, you can purchase your own PCs and access the program through a Windows-based operating system; hence the need for only one PC per station, unlike the old system. Tick charges are thankfully gone and you do have the option to purchase printers and PCs from ADP, but leasing their equipment is expensive and financing means at least three points over the prime rate. For a basic system that meets all your automotive accounting needs and your dealership management needs, expect to pay around $2,500 to $3,000 a month; that includes the software, support, and financing or leases.
The still scary part of ADP is its add-ons, and pushy service reps that entice dealerships into buying things they don’t need. The w.e.b. Suite 1000 calls its base solution their “core applications." Most likely, if you don’t pay attention, you will be talked into their “layered applications," which includes eleven add-ons, and you’ll pay for each one on top of the core applications.
Both ADP and Reynolds and Reynolds entice dealers with long-term contracts and that’s why so many dealers are still paying tons for the older systems—they must wait for their contracts to end in order to upgrade. Or they can upgrade anytime with a buyout of their old contract, meaning more money.
Please click on Page 3 to find a review of Reynolds and Reynolds automotive accounting software.