Car salespersons: Proper amount for bird-dog fee?

I wanted to sell one of my vehicles recently, so I stopped by a used car lot in town to ask if they would sell it on consignment. Since I work at night and sleep during the day, selling it myself would have been very difficult. The salesman on duty told me they can’t sell on consignment due to insurance issues (the lot’s insurance), but his brother-in-law might be interested in buying it.

His BIL came over to my house to look at it within a couple of hours and bought it on the spot. Since the salesman’s referral panned out (saving me a lot of time and bother), I want to give him a spiff, but I’m not sure what amount is appropriate. Is $100 about right?

Chances are you gave his brother-in-law a good deal on the car, which might be good enough. If I (being a car salesman) were in the same situation, I would expect nothing in return, and personally would say ‘no thanks’ to a ‘bird dog’ of any kind.

However, if it is in your blood to be generous, now is a good time of the year to give a tip. A hundred dollar bill would be perfect, considering that is what you would have spent in advertising in a few magazines and online. You also saved the possiblities of dealing with numerous weirdos and hagglers. Well worth a hundred.

I never heard it called that; thanks for the info!

The term bird dog is usually given to a customer as a referral/finders fee. I have actually given out four of them this month. Some dealers go as low as $50, the average being $100. I have seen $200 on a few occasions, and have seen $1000 once (to a broker).

I used to get $50 when I was a technician. I think $100 is more than fair.

He did get a good deal, but as you said this is the time of year to be most generous, and the salesman works at a rural (Chipley, FL) independent used car lot with low volume and could probably use a couple of extra bucks. And, yes, it saved me the cost of an ad and the time spent dealing with lookie-loos, and for that I’m very grateful.

So, a crisp C-note it will be. Thanks for replying!

Rick: I tip my tech, too - a case of beer - the same guy has been servicing my vehicles for the last 6 years, and has always been honest and thorough. It’s a local shop, and they do very good work for a labor rate that’s half of what they charge in town ($50/hour vs. $95). That’s hard to find these days.

You sir are a wise man for a couple of reasons. 1. you mechanic knows you, and you know him. I never can understand why people don’t pick a shop and stick with it when they get good service. Any kind of tip or thank you is rare in this business, so a case of beer is a BIG thing. Next time you need a little favor or the car done early you will probably get it.

Yep, it’s one area where being a faithful customer really pays off. More than once I’ve taken a vehicle in and he’s told me a repair wasn’t necessary, only an adjustment was needed, and refused to accept any payment. They will also come to my house and pick a vehicle up, and return it when they’re done. :cool: