Hat James Binkley
Owner/Chief Executive Officer
Binary Automotive Solutions
They say all roads in life eventually converge.
James Binkley is living proof.
For 25 years, Binkley worked a handful of random jobs that he could never have known would each be a stepping stone, a chance to gather knowledge and experience, until his journey finally led him to Texas where he founded Binary Automotive Solutions in 2005.
Born in Romulus, MI, the second youngest child of 10 total, Binkley learned an incredible work ethic from his father, who had quit school in the fifth grade to work the family farm. After being injured on a construction job, his Dad was forced to change careers, and began driving a cab.
Binkley helped his father with body work and painting, fostering a deep love of cars that carried over from high school where he ran the auto repair shop and studied small engine repair.
His first dealership job came during summer breaks from school. Before long, Binkley was named Service Manager. He treated customers the way he expected to be treated, fairly and with respect.
“I would only recommend things they needed, and if I’m going to sell them something, I’m going to take care of their primary need. When you’re on a tight budget, you don’t want to be taken advantage of.”
Binkley got his first real taste of the industry with Ford Motor Co. He rose quickly through the dealership ranks. But the job did more than expand his resume, it offered a peek behind the curtain at how dealerships ran, and what dealership owners didn’t fully understand.
“Most dealers weren’t service focused. They didn’t understand the warranty program. I was able to get dealers to sell ESPs (Extended Service Plans). They wanted to help me because I helped them.”
One of Binary Automotive Solutions’ key programs is a variation on an extended service plan.
While at Ford, Binkley took a Dale Carnegie Training course in Human Relations and Public Speaking. He calls it one of many “A-Ha!” moments. Binkley eventually became a graduate assistant and then an instructor for several years.
“I got this great sense of joy out of helping people improve their lives. I realized then I had a great passion for helping people.”
In 1989, Binkley left Ford and joined Coin Dealership Systems, his introduction to finance and insurance systems. While selling mainframe systems, he got the chance to steer a pilot software program for dealerships.
Today, Binary Automotive Solutions prides itself on assisting dealerships with software integration.
Binkley landed in 1992 at a company that did forms printing, and he oversaw commercial printing accounts for Ford Motor Co. Today, Binary Automotive Solutions’ programs come with dealer-branded marketing materials.
Binkley returned to the auto industry with Pat Ryan and Associates, the company that helped usher in the F&I profit center to auto dealerships. He immediately noticed that the company was pushing Factory Certified but not In-House limited warranty programs. Most dealer clients were only averaging between two and five limited warranties a month.
So, Binkley created the Q Certified Limited Warranty program, launched its pilot phase with great success and spent five years learning product development.
Eventually, he accepted an offer to head up product development for a small company in Texas. He was quickly promoted to chief executive officer, his first time running a company.
That was the final piece of the puzzle. Binkley called upon all his past experience and Binary Automotive Solutions was born.
“If it wasn’t for all the pieces in my life, there would be no Binary.”
Binkley’s gift is that he can see everything that a dealership needs to be profitable and all the ways that most dealers lose money and customers regularly.
“I started with a really simple approach, a dealer-branded certification program.”
Binkley estimated that most dealerships spend a minimum of $600 just to get a customer through the door, without the guarantee of a sale. He envisioned a series of programs that were rooted in strong marketing and ensured profitability. Customer retention would increase and the money out of pocket to attract customers would decrease significantly.
Binary Automotive Solutions’ slate of custom-designed warranty packages for both new and previously-owned vehicles, coupled with slick dealer-branded marketing materials, is unlike anything previously available.
First and foremost, though, his company exemplifies his personal belief: “I’ve never burned anybody, never cheated anybody. What’s priceless is your integrity. Money is not more important than doing the right thing.”
Binkley refuses to design or sell a program that he doesn’t believe in. There are no loopholes to frustrate customers. He includes thousands of dollars of free marketing materials to dealers because he wants clients to make money first before they pay him from that success.
“My job is helping dealers expand their sales and improve customer retention. I wanted a product we put in dealerships that they can talk about and customers can see.”
Years later, he still hasn’t forgotten what it meant to be poor and working for every penny earned. In a down economy, he still refuses to let anyone be taken advantage of and he always keeps the dealership’s interest at the front.
“Everybody benefits from what I do. The salesperson, the finance manager, the dealer and the consumer,” he says with a grin. “There is no loser in the transaction.”