It’s time to celebrate! This fall marks Auto Data Direct’s 20th anniversary in business, and we thought it would be fun to take a look back at how it all began.
ADD was formed in 1999 as the brain-child of Jim Taylor. He was working with a Florida title company and found that while processing its customers’ paperwork, a large percentage of those forms were rejected due to errors. “What we saw time and again was that simple errors were created when a title clerk would manually copy vehicle details from one form to the other. Those errors delayed processing and ultimately cost the business and the consumer time and money,” he said. “I knew that if there was a way to provide web-based access to vehicle information and tools that reduced errors by eliminating the human ‘copying’ component, we could provide a valuable service to the industry.”
Jim, his brother Ben Taylor, and tech friend Chris Gamache, started the company with the primary mission of providing web-based, real-time access to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) motor vehicle database for qualified businesses. In the beginning, an account with ADD offered the customer access to Florida records and the ability to merge the data into a form without hand-copying the information. And, very importantly, those services were delivered with some good old-fashioned southern hospitality and customer service. According to Ben, “Our goal was to continually make our online services live up to our original company byline; It’s as easy as ADD123!”.
As the company grew in number of customers and support staff, ADD continued its mission of delivering simple but effective solutions for industry. In 2003 its DirectPost-Office (DPO) electronic certified mail product was launched. “DPO allowed tow and title companies to send certified notification letters to owners and lienholders directly from their computer without a trip to the post office,” said Taylor. “We had already begun contracting with other states for access to their records, so this was a significant development for the industry. Now the owner(s) of a vehicle towed in Florida but registered in one of those other states to which we offered access, could be processed through the same ADD account as a Florida vehicle.”
Since the launch of those first two services: real-time records which we now call DMV123, and electronically produced letters and forms from our DPO service, ADD’s suite of tools has grown to encompass a wide variety of qualified industries. From its focus on tow and title companies, its customer base now includes automobile dealers, insurance companies, finance companies, and others whose business transactions depend on accurate, timely information in order to process transactions impacting consumers, governmental agencies, and private sector companies.
ADD now contracts with 39 state jurisdictions for access to real-time state motor vehicle records to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of businesses nationwide. In addition to Florida, its DPO state-specific letter service is available in Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Indiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and North Dakota, with more states in development for both records access and letter programs.
ADD partnered with the Florida DHSMV in 2008 to become a web-portal for Florida automobile dealers to report the issuance of temporary license plates and registration date into Florida’s Real-time Information System (FRVIS.) Later it would expand dealer services to include metal plate transfers and most recently became a certified EFS provider allowing dealers to issue permanent metal plates and transfers as an agent of the department.
That same year, ADD contracted with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators to become the first consumer access provider for the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). This database contains information from participating state DMVs, insurance carriers, salvage auctions, auto recyclers and other businesses that handle junk, salvage and total loss automobiles. These reports were offered to consumers but also to ADD’s corporate account holders as an inexpensive way to identify state of title and any major brand issues with vehicles involved in a business transaction.
Shortly after becoming the first consumer access provider for NMVTIS reports, ADD became the first data consolidator to provide upload service for insurers, salvage pools and other entities required to report to the NMVTIS database. Its expertise would lead the states of Georgia and Tennessee to contract with ADD to provide both state and federal NMVTIS vehicle reporting for salvage companies.
“Our growth and success over the past 20 years has been based on a philosophy of excellent customer service coupled with innovative business solutions,” said Taylor. “Our company has grown by listening to our customers and finding ways to help them better serve their customers. We have earned a reputation for working with local, state and federal agencies to provide effective, cost-efficient solutions to government-mandated processes for both the private and public sector. The philosophy behind our web-based programs has always been that government and the private sector can work together to facilitate regulatory functions and lower costs at the same time.”
Today that little 3-person company with a toe in the pool of title work in Florida, has grown to a nationally recognized company acknowledged by the public and private sectors for its innovation and cutting-edge development of services that benefit a wide range of industries and consumers. “While Florida will always be our home base,” said Taylor, “we now have associates in multiple states throughout the country to ensure we continue the personal, hi-tech/hi-touch services we’ve delivered for the past 20 years.”
To ADD’s customers who have been with us since day one, and to those who are on day one of having an ADD account, THANK YOU! Thank you for your confidence in our services and allowing us to assist in meeting your unique business needs.