29 crowd-sourced dealership best practices to combat the CDK Global outages

Plus – How over 20 vendors are stepping up to help out

Last updated: 7:45 a.m. EST June 29, 2024

***Make sure to bookmark this page and check back daily for additional best practices and vendor deals. I will be updating this article as frequently as possible.

I asked you all on LinkedIn, X, and Instagram to send me your best practices for navigating the CDK Global cybersecurity fallout… and boy, did you guys deliver. I hand-picked these best practices from over 300 replies and comments. Further down, you’ll also find a list of vendors doing some pretty remarkable things to support the dealer community. This is a living, breathing document that will grow and change over time with your input

Sales

1. “Call the lenders, they will work with you on accuracy and completion. They need these deals too. Stop the 1-pays ‘spotting.’ We have also been using separate softwares to complete deals. So not a one stop shop but there is a way to NOT be forced to spot. I’m talking about hanging paper. We are calling every lender and getting exact numbers now and they are working with us to have it hung before the customer leaves the lot.”

— April Ancira, Vice President of Ancira Auto Group

2. We are doing all econtracts in RouteOne. Paying floorplan off the sales log. Closing June is going to be the real trick if CDK comes back online.”

— X user @karla32257

3. “We have uploaded all our documents less econtracts (route1 Honda IN) as a pdf fillable version. This is the most efficient way to get the deal done. We can push from Vinsolution to route1 and expedite the econtract as much as possible and fill in the blanks. Everyone from sales to desk to finance and helping the process move along. Since the hack we have sold more cars each day and have gotten more efficient each day.”

— Jason Gilles, General Sales Manager at Fred Beans Honda

4. “If you have a grey hair GM like myself you started with a pen, moved to finance with a pen. No excuses… You can execute finance contracts through routeone, dealertrack. This is how it was prior to 1990. Write service, sell cars and find solutions to deliver.”

— X user @Carpe

5. “I pulled an old deal and made copies of every CDK laser form. Whiteout/cleared any customer or vehicle info and scanned them into a PDF file. We edit the pdf file by typing in all the fields and then print it out. 

We also sat down and made sure that everyone sales manager and finance manager knew what to fill out on the state forms.”

– David Hetzel, General Manager at Fred Beans Ford of Boyertown

6. “Managers somehow printed out leads we have open for the month so we are able to call/email.

I have notifications on my phone from the leads I transferred into my name/text conversations. Just texted from my personal number and picked up where we left off.”

– Instragm user @kiarashante

5. “We are generating spot buy econs in RouteOne to generate accurate federal truth in lending statements, printing out, and hand writing on carbon from RICs for banks that don’t accept econtracts.”

– Michael L. Wood, General Manager of Jaguar and Land Rover of Virginia Beach and Checkered Flag Volkswagen

7. “Receipt numbers instead of deal numbers! Dealertrack to desk numbers - snippet of it for disclosures. Blank bill of sale and hand writing everything in. Writing out on a word doc the details of the deal (costs, profit, sales person, fees, sale prices, etc..)”

– Radu Stoica, Sales Manager at Sherwood Park Hyundai

9. “Good ol’ data entry. Using Darwin to structure the deal and then hand building contracts in Dealertrack to econtract. Hand typing purchase orders and all ancillary products and forms. We’ve got the process down to about 50 minutes. Not ideal but it is what it is.”

– X user @NEOYUPPIE

9. “We fine tuned setups for our desking tools in our CRM and at least for VinSolutions, it has been accurate. We have sales screenshot the desking breakdown and provide to finance to key in figures for digital contracts and get funded … 

10. We built an excel template to generate parts invoices on our actual CDK templates to make it simpler to re-enter when CDK comes up and make sure we are accounting for taxes properly. We use dealerlogix to generate invoices similar to repair orders, we entered all RO disclaimers into the system. We setup all cashiers with direct access to our merchant gateway and were able to turn on and provide cash and check receipts through the gateway so we can take all forms of payments.”

– X user @JeremiahComer6

Service 

11. “I am using filter app books to get the correct filter numbers. I use a form that list parts and prices out, multiply them by the tax rate to get parts taken care of. And I’m using all data for labor times and multiplying it by hourly rate putting that on a separate line then multiplying the labor times our shop sippy percentage. Getting it all together getting a signature on that from the first and we are calling in their cc numbers to get auth. Yes, it’s time consuming but keeps my guys going.”

– James Beal, Technician, Bill Colwell Ford

12. “If you only have CDK only for DMS, your service tools can pre-write and communicate between service and parts as well as collect payment from clients. (My Karma, Dealer Logix etc.) Spreadsheet parts tracking for reconciliation at a later date. Hand written RO’s with manual punch times for warranty.”

– Instagram user @tncarguy78

13. “Hand writing repair orders. Customers are signing credit card authorizations. Spreadsheet for repair orders to track flat rate hours. Spreadsheet for parts to track inventory. All databases that require a repair order # we are using last 8 of VIN.”

– X user aaron_rudin

14. “As with others, we’re handwriting repair orders. Excel spreadsheets for dispatching, parts, and payments. Writers and techs are all getting a guarantee, once we can write ROs and book em out we get paid our normal flat rate / commission on them.”

– X user @JoeTheAutoPro

15. “Parts Manager here for a Benz dealer. We are utilizing mykaarma to ‘bill out parts’ so service knows what to charge the customer, once CDK comes back we will copy the parts onto real RO.  Using revparts to bill out wholesale/retail customers so they can have some sort of an invoice. Will make proper invoices when CDK is up. It will be a lot of backlog when CDK is backup but we are managing with the best of our ability.”

– X user @GSDOUBLEU

16. “In service we have a blank repair order that has been scanned in and we can write the lines manually through adobe, we also can also create manual inspection forms using the tag number as the X-time repair order so tech's can do inspections.”

– X user @DevanCorini

Become an automotive insider in just 5 minutes.

Get the weekly email that delivers transparent insights into the car market.

Join 66,000 others now, it's free:

General operations

17. “I think the right path forward for auto dealers is to figure out how to run their business for a few days when the computers are down. Businesses need to do this anyway. Someone could dig up the cable bringing your Internet connection with a backhoe, or a landslide could take it out. A virus could infect your network, requiring a few days to find someone who can fix it and recover from the incident. If you have a disaster plan on the shelf, which you test at least once a year, and you have manual systems and processes ready to go if the computers are down, your business won't skip a beat.

— Robert Walker, Cybersecurity Program Advisor at The Evergreen State College

18. “Dealers should probably reach out to their Cyber Liability Policy carrier. They should ask about Contingent Business Interruption coverage and put the carrier on notice. Not saying they should file a claim but they should have a conversation.”

— Paul Elliot, Risk Management Specialist at IOA

19. “All Dealerships need to demonstrate to consumers they take their data and privacy seriously and provide each of them Identity and fraud protection as part of the car buying process starting today. Research is clear that consumers don’t want to do business with businesses that have been breached!! Buying a car is the most significant purchase for a majority of consumers. If I were a dealer today, particularly via CDK, give every buyer and shopper proactive digital and identity theft protection as part of the buying process now!”

— Scott Hudson, SVP of Sales for Aura

20. “Keep informing your team about phishing attempts, scams, impersonation, and misinformation. Malicious actors thrive in chaos.”

– John Acosta, CEO of Vtech Dealer IT

21. “Create a formal business continuity plan or update it, and stress test it at least annually in collaboration with your tech.”

– Instagram user @rgemail2

22. “I'm in sales at an Acura dealership in Raleigh. I sold one car yesterday and sold 2 the day before all by hand. We were fortunate enough to have blank copies of literally every piece of paperwork we could possibly need to sell cars. So we just filled out all the blank sheets with whatever we needed, had the customers sign, and delivered the cars business as usual. It took WAY longer than normal of course, several hours per car, but we're making it work.”

– X user @real_looeelooee

23. “If able to, listen to your calls to ensure your team is communicating everything in a positive manner and not just turning away business. Communicate on your website and social media that you’re open for business and that you apologize for the delayed response. Excel trackers for sales to track deals and data. Double check with your lead providers to funnel leads to an accessible platform.

– Jose M. Morales, VP of Sales and Service Operations, MZ Chevrolet

24.. “I know it’s never top of mind, but things I learned over the years with systems in general:

  1. Always have a manual workaround in place. Whether built into the software, offline mode, or other. Even paper if needed.

  2. Understand what steps are mission critical and which are nice to have or can wait 30 days.

  3. Redundant or backup systems can help with this, even separate modules for the low cost option may be worth having.

  4. Build trust and training with staff in these alternatives.

  5. Practice no internet days, what backups exist, Starlink on the roof?

  6. Plan and practice for zero-day events, if everything was erased tomorrow, how would you build back from scratch? How many days to operational for each scenario?”

— X user @NathanMotorCity

25. “It sounds pretty basic, but we're using customer database lists that were pulled out of CDK before this situation began to continue marketing to customers for Service/Sales Departments who are looking to get customers in for regular maintenance or generate some showroom traffic for Sales Events. 

All communications are being sent with a disclaimer that the dealership is experiencing some system outages which could be causing some inaccuracies in marketing (mostly from a "you're due for your next service" point of view). In addition, encouraging customers to call or email the dealership for appointments, removing links to service/sales appointment pages on websites temporarily.”

– Byron Tyers, Marketing Manager for Wellington Consulting, Inc.

26. “Back to the old school. Treat every potential client like gold. As if they will be the only person you speak to today. There’s ZERO time to be judgmental right now because you don’t have a client in front of you anyways. So take the time find out what they need, get a manager involved if need be — and most important, close the deal. Answer every call and set the appt so you can do number 2.”

– Instragram user @fred.sellis

27. “We have put all the leads on encrypted sheets in Teams and then the sales people are following up on the list. For working deals, we are using our DMS to print out worksheets. Everyone in the dealership is coming together to make sure service is not interrupted.”

– Josh G., Digital Merchandising Manager for Sheehy Auto Stores

28. “Well our store got a back up DMS set up so we can do deals properly, moved leads to centralized email, keep uploading all information into a basic CRM they provided. We should all have a back up just in case of emergency, Right now the 30 year vets are graciously showing the new school how to to operate and keep things moving forward.”

– David Stickney, Managing Partner of Augusta Mitsubishi

29. “I’d be cautious of having salespeople use their own cell phones to contact and text customers. They shouldn’t use personal email addresses either.

Miss handling data can lead to data breaches and could:

  1. Result in fines

  2. Leaves your dealership out of compliance

  3. No ‘Do not call’ or opt-out

  4. Leads will add up and become unmanageable

  5. Where does all the data reside

  6. You lose sight of communication history

  7. and more

Ensure your staff is using the dealership phone system and a company email. No one worries about cyber attacks or data breaches or fines until they happen to you.”

— Vin Micciche, CEO and Founder of Strolid, Inc.

What best practices can be added here? Email [email protected] to let me know!

Vendors

CDK Global is directing its customers to a Dealer Resource Center while its dealership management systems remain stalled. But several other vendors reached out to me and described the creative and helpful ways they are coming through for dealers.

1. Fullpath is providing dealers with two actionable work lists for their teams that update in real-time through the CDP to ensure no recent opportunities are missed while CDK works to get back online. Fullpath has also upgraded all CDK clients to its CDP Pro solution free of charge, allowing dealers to access these lists along with Fullpath’s CDP list-building tools and their customer records to help keep them moving forward.

2. foureyes.io is offering free website lead tracking and visibility — as well as the ability to recover and post unlogged web leads to eLead for free once it’s back online — to every dealership in the country (no strings attached) for the duration of the outage plus additional time while dealers get back up and running.

3. Upstart Auto Retail is offering a workaround solution to support online lead conversion, in-store desking, and AI-powered financing for their dealer customers with their online + in-store connected retail platform. All Upstart Auto Retail Online customers continue to have access to incoming leads from Upstart CTAs on their dealer website via Upstart's standalone CRM integration, which sends an email to the dealer instead of using its direct integration with Elead. This allows dealers to manually reach out to their incoming leads. Dealers can also access Upstart’s Command Center tool to see a list of those Online submitted leads. In addition, for Upstart In-Store customers with lending, all CDK dealerships were automatically switched to Upstart's “Manual RIC Review Process.” While dealerships can't push or pull information from CDK's DMS, they can now manually update the Retail Installment Contract screen within Upstart’s product. Email [email protected] for more information.

4. Capital One is offering access to their dealer website pre-qualification tools and calculator at no charge for a limited time. These website tools allow customers to shop dealer inventory, get pre-qualified, and estimate financing with real rates and payments, while capturing lead information directly into Dealer Navigator. This enables the sales teams to manage leads efficiently in Dealer Navigator, without needing a CRM to be active.

5. Tekion Corp is providing free access to its tax, title, and license solution, Tekion Digital Processing (TDP), to all affected dealers. This standalone tool will allow dealership teams to accurately calculate tax, title and license for vehicle, heavy truck, trailer, RV, watercraft and powersports sales transactions in all U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Dealers will also receive access to a comprehensive library of state-specific forms, which will be dynamically populated based on the deal.

6. Dominion DMS is offering its services to CDK dealers free for 30 days, on a 30-day contract, which will be available this coming Monday 6/24. Assuming CDK is back online within 30 days, the dealer has absolutely no risk and can get back to printing ROs, Parts Invoices, Deals, A/P checks, etc. At the end of the 30 days, they can choose to stay with Dominion or choose another vendor. Dealers can return to CDK at any time it becomes available.

7. PureCars is rolling out 100% free options to help you generate and work leads in your dealerships. They have compiled three different solutions that can help support you during this time of limbo and are here to help—no strings attached.

8. Widewail is working with the industry’s largest groups to create standard responses to complaints via reviews and social related to the outage, ensuring the store is communicating effectively and consistently. They’ve also released crucial data, providing insight into how the outages may be affecting online dealership reviews.

9. AutoRaptor is also helping dealerships impacted by the outage. Not only does the company have a free resources page where dealerships can download templates, but they are offering AutoRaptor's CRM to any CDK customer at no charge until they are back online and there's no obligation to use AutoRaptor beyond that time period.

10. For dealerships that have their credit card processing integrated through CDK, Celero Commerce is helping dealers set up virtual terminals to send customers payment links, manually enter card numbers online, and install terminals fast.

11. Space Auto is offering its CRM for free alongside digital retailing to work payments, leases, taxes, and put together deals / basic forms. Dealers don’t have to be a current client or commit to anything long-term and can download their data afterward as well if they want to import back to CDK when this is all over.

12. ComplyAuto has created a resource page to assist dealerships with continuing to do business and protect data and consumer privacy. The company also has free resources concerning legal and regulatory considerations for dealers. ComplyAuto has also teamed up with CORO to offer dealerships a system for FREE (for 90 days) to help protect them (details below). Dealers are not required to provide any billing info or sign up for a trial. It is solely intended as help during these trying times so things don't get worse. Find all the details here.

13. S&P Global Mobility is helping dealers keep their sales momentum using the Market Scan solution, mDesking. mDesking works in tandem with DMS systems as an embedded solution, but also works independently and enables dealership sales personnel to keep deals moving in the event of unexpected disruption to their business. mDesking offers dealers access to an extensive set of criteria, including a wide array of lenders financing options and terms to offer customers their best payment options quickly and accurately. Impacted dealers can reach out via email.

14. RouteOne subject matter experts will conduct several live training webinars to help dealers navigate additional paths to eContracting in the RouteOne platform without a DMS import.

15. Advent is extending an open invitation to any CDK dealer who is struggling to contract deals and sell cars. The company is here to quickly onboard you with its point-of-sale econtracting system to get you up, running, and back in action again. This offer is open whether you need Advent for a week or years to come.

16. myKaarma is offering no-charge and temporarily non-integrated service solutions for dealers during the outage. Dealers can call 61-MYKAARMA or 616-952-2762 to get set up. 

17. Connexion Mobility is offering CDK users a free, convenient and instant alternative to CDK Hailer. Dealerships needing to coordinate rides for sales and service customers, can do so alongside Connexion’s loaner and shuttle management platform. Contact [email protected] for more information, or instant, free access with no lock-in.

18. DAS Technology is assisting automotive dealerships experiencing service disruptions with other vendors. The company is waiving subscription fees for new activations of lead response messaging, SMS solutions, and custom microsites for auto dealers impacted by any other vendor’s Consumer Relationship Management (CRM) and Dealer Management System (DMS) outages. Within hours of the outage, DAS Technology's current dealership clients were offered new features, at no additional cost, to allow them to route leads and communications around non-functioning CRM/DMS systems. The company also contacted the vendor experiencing challenges, offering them no-cost assistance as their industry partner. DAS Technology’s Digital Air Strike SaaS middleware platform integrates with over 200 data providers, enabling it to continue to deliver value and mission-critical communications from dealers to consumers.

19. AutoFi is hosting free daily webinars for dealers this week to review best practices on desking with AutoFi. The company is also expediting the onboarding of current dealer customers on the desking portion of its AutoFi Showroom solutions which will enable a dealer to pencil a deal, structure a deal, and submit for financing. By using a dealer's existing AutoFi setup and lender configurations, dealers can get on-boarded with desking in days vs. weeks.

20. Simple Recon is extending its free trial from 30 to 90 days to help dealers have a way to track while they recover — just use promo code OUTAGE. Dealers can alternatively use a PDF or Excel file (upon request) from the Simple Recon website for free here. The trial does not require any credit card information and there are no term commitments from dealers.

21. FleetCharge Payments | DealerPOS is offering access to its omnichannel virtual terminal with no upfront costs and no contract for dealers who integrate payments with CDK.

22. VTech Dealer IT is offering dealers zero-trust critical server protection at no cost for 6 months.

23. One View has provided free template forms to help your dealership during DMS outages. And during this time, One View will provide free access to Vault and Web Scan for any CDK customer for the remainder of the CDK outage AND 45 days after the system has been restored. Dealers can will have unlimited users, unlimited data, and unlimited document types. As your dealership continues to generate documents temporarily in paper, it is absolutely critical for your dealership to digitize these documents in the short term to ensure they do not get lost. After the 45 days are completed, One View will provide a copy of all data scanned during the trial period back to you, no strings attached. For more information, click here.

Vendors — How are you offering support? Email [email protected] and we’ll include more of you too.

Connecting world-class talent with top-notch companies in Automotive.

Great career opportunities are hard to find. We make it easier. Search through open roles or submit your resume confidentially on the CDG Jobs Board. Best part? It’s 100% free.

Here are some standouts for anyone looking for their next move.

Join the conversation

or to participate.