Ben Keating ’94
Keating Auto Group
I grew up in the car business. However, my understanding of the business was washing cars and picking up trash. I wanted nothing to do with it. Therefore, I went to Texas A&M to get an Engineering degree.
In the summer after my junior year, I worked as an intern for a car dealer consulting company. What I saw during that summer was an industry filled with people who were making really good money despite the fact that they were horrible business people. It was then I decided that if these people were my competition, then THIS was the business for me.
I did very well in school. I graduated from the College of Engineering with Honors. I had a great GPA. I could have gotten one of the more coveted jobs. However, I had already made the decision that I was going to go sell cars to learn the business. The year I graduated, the top job offer I ever heard of was $40,000 per year. This was a TON of money at the time. And in my first MONTH as a car salesman, I made $11,400. I was rich! It was at this moment that I decided I would come back to hire TAMU grads just like myself to give them the same opportunity.
I sold cars. I eventually became a Used Car Sales Manager. Then, I went on to buy into my father’s dealership and become the General Sales Manager. In March of 2002, I purchased my own dealership. Since then, I have purchased a total of 8 dealerships around the State of Texas. We have grown very quickly. This is not because of me, but because of the incredible people who I have surrounded myself with. They too have grown quickly.
I hired Aggies in 1995, one of which worked his way up through the organization to be a partner in a dealership, and run a store by himself. I hired Aggies in 1996, one of which worked his way up through the organization to be the leader and director of our Advertising Agency. I hired Aggies in 1998, one of which is the most respected sales people in the business. And it goes on and on.
I have been very successful hiring Aggie grads. I fully realize no one goes to college with aspirations of getting into the car business. However, I believe that is because most people do not realize the opportunity available to them in the car business.
It is very safe to say that most Aggies made $50,000+ in their first year. In fact, many have made $80,000+. I can also say that several were making $180,000+ within their first 5 years. This is not something you will find in big corporate America. Yes the hours are long, but they are way less than the tremendous hours my friends put in at the accounting firms or consulting companies, and they were all on salary.
I believe this opportunity is the best available. This business is competitive, but that is what I love about it. This business is fun. We are a young and vibrant organization full of young and vibrant people. If you think it is a fit for you, I hope that you will give us the opportunity to get to know you better and that you will get to know us better.