Motivation and Sales: A Recipe for CarMax Success

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CarMax is the brainchild of Circuit City executives under former CEO, Richard Sharp. Executives asked: shouldn’t there be an easier, more honest and more transparent way to purchase a used car? CarMax was developed to fill the void of a market over saturated with high risk cars and lemons. Executives spent nearly developing the idea under a moniker known as "Honest Rick's Used Cars” (Myser). CarMax would go beyond selling use cars and would seek to acquire large plots of land from which to showcase its large inventory. These superstores have an inexhaustive inventory for customers to peruse in person and online. And yet, the key to this used car dealer’s success is not its large selection or amazing customer service, though it offers a wealth of both; instead, CarMax seems to be thriving because it motivates its employees to go above and beyond targets through the use of volunteering programs, insisting upon high quality standards and clearly being one of the nation’s top 50 places to work (100 Best Companies to Work For 2007; Bautz; Bloomberg 2010; Bloomberg 2009; La Monica 48).

The secret behind CarMax’s success is its happy workforce, an average of 40 such person per CarMax location. On average, a CarMax location employs 40 sales staff. CarMax is a large-scale operation which means that skilled associates are needed to monitor and maintain the 59,000 square feet which carries an approximate inventory of 300–400 vehicles. Considering that the entire inventory usually turns over between eight to ten times per year, CarMax enjoys a great deal of success on the strength of hard workers and a rigorous 12 hours of work before each sale (Oppenshaw; 100 Best Companies to Work For 2007; La Monica 48; Bloomberg 2009).

CarMax’s employees are doubtless motivated by a culture of pride, quality, customer service and community. The nation’s largest retailer of used cars kicked off volunteer efforts across the United States in 2010 to provide support to the communities where our employees live and work. During CarMax Cares Month in June, hundreds of CarMax associates showed up to put forth their time and energy to help out for good causes throughout their city and to volunteer in teams for non-profits like the American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House Charity and Boys & Girls Clubs. Every June, CarMax associates around the nation demonstrate their commitment to service, the company and their communities by flooding animal shelters, bookstores, libraries and summer camps to offer love, time and assistance wherever it is welcome (Oppenshaw).

Moreover, CarMax has been cordoned one of 2007’s top 50 best places to work because, among other things, the company has donated grants of $500 to hardworking non-profit teams in local communities. As Dodie Fix, president of The CarMax Foundation and Assistant VP of Procurement notes: “CarMax teams are passionate about having a positive impact on their communities.” Who wouldn’t be inspired by the opportunity to volunteer alongside others in your company and make a difference throughout the community? CarMax’s philanthropy are far-reaching. The company hosts a competition each year with winners announce every fall who will be given a grant of $5,000 to be applied to an eligible charity (Myser; Oppenshaw; Bautz).

In summation because sales are consistently impressive and customers remain happy, it is easy to see how CarMax’s good, honest and consistently philanthropic business is having a positive effect on the community and an inspiration effect on its employees. Socially responsible organizations consider it a matter of pride to have community stakeholders be positively impacted by the presence of their company and to feel that they are on the same side with those who serve them (Bloomberg 2009; Bloomberg 2010; La Monica 2013).

Works Cited

"100 Best Companies to Work For 2007: Full list | FORTUNE." CNNMoney. Cable News Network,

Bautz, Mark. "How a straight-arrow company makes out like a bandit." Money Oct. 1995: 68.

Bloomberg. "CarMax Kicks off Month-Long Volunteer Efforts Across the Country." Bloomberg 1 June 2010: Bloomberg.

Bloomberg. "CarMax Receives Perfect Score on Corporate Equality Index." Bloomberg. (2009).

La Monica, Paul R.. "Revving Up for a Rebound." Money Sep. 2013: 48.

Myser, Michael. "The Wal-Mart of Used Cars: Unlikely big-box chain CarMax has transformed the world of auto retailing," Business 2.0 magazine.

Openshaw, Jennifer. "Buying a new car? Take a trip down the used luxury aisle first,"