Online car auctions are a great way to buy vehicles in the 21st century. Not just classic cars, you can get your hand on regular vehicles as well, and that too at a highly affordable price. Research shows that the US car auction market is forecasted to grow by a CAGR of around 3.1% (2021-2025), reaching an estimated $3.42 billion by 2025.
Selling your car at an online auction is a great way to get some extra cash, whether you’re looking for a good deal or want to clear out your garage. If you have an automotive beauty on your hands, the right buyer could pay top dollar for it!
What is an online car auction?
An online car auction can be thought of as a regular car auction but on a digital channel. Such auctions are held over and accessed through the internet. Businesses and people can check out other dealer lots, list their cars for sale, and make bids for purchasing vehicles. To take care of security, a system for seller and bidder verification is also included on online auto auction websites to remove the possibility of fraud.
What types of online car auctions are there?
Before understanding how online car auctions work, let’s take a look at the different types of vehicle auctions.
Cars being sold at public auctions include wholesale lots, high-end sports cars, SUVs, and repossessed vehicles. The quality of cars can vary; hence buyers usually look for detailed vehicle reports before bidding. If you want to sell your car at a public car auction, a detailed history report will help your case.
A government auction will usually sell utility trucks, old police cruisers, and vehicles that have been impounded for violations. These car auctions can be competitive, and the usual customer base here includes taxi drivers and used auto retailers.
Car dealerships are the usual participants of private car auctions online because only those with a dealer’s license can gain access to closed auctions. These auctions serve as an opportunity for them to stock up the dealership inventory with affordable cars, fix them if required, and then resell them.
Online car auction websites will ask the buyer to register themselves before they can place a bid. After registration, you can search for a vehicle to bid on from the available inventory. Usually, the bidding process takes days, and the running top bid is displayed on the screen until the deadline. The main attraction of online auctions for buyers is that they can purchase vehicles at lower prices, sometimes from different states, without leaving their homes.
How to Sell at Car Auction Online – Step-by-Step Guide
You must be aware that people buying cars at auction are picky about what they purchase. So, to get the best value for your car, you must know specific hacks for car auctions:
1. Know the process of an online car auction
The process of selling cars at auction websites is pretty similar to traditional (offline) car auctions. You’ll need to list your vehicle with a private seller and determine its value. Then, you’ll get bids from people interested in buying cars at auction. These bids are placed on the auction website, and you get notifications via text or email.
Online bidding can stretch from a few days to a few weeks. That said, a digital vehicle auction is much quicker than getting quotes from dealerships or putting up classifieds in local newspapers.
2. Find out about your car’s resale value
Before you run off to sell a car, you need to know its worth. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Get a mechanic to inspect your vehicle: You must never arrive at a car auction with a damaged vehicle. Before listing your car for sale, you must have it checked by a mechanic and repaired correctly. To get extra points for aesthetics, get your car cleaned nicely. People buying cars at auction will never pay good money for a vehicle that doesn’t look good or work properly.
- Check the history report for your car: A vehicle’s history report will give you insights into essential details, including what work had been done to the vehicle and if it was in any accidents. If you’re into buying used cars and flipping them for a profit, then you need a reliable vehicle history report. Also, if you offer a clean report to buyers, then you could improve the sales value of your car.
- Look at any modifications made to the car: Aftermarket fitments, like custom seats/seat covers, custom paint job, alterations under the hood, etc., also affect the worth of your vehicle. Depending on the type of modifications, the value of your car could increase or decrease.
3. Present your car in the best light
The better your vehicle looks, the better price it will fetch. The condition of your cars should be good; buyers shouldn’t feel like you’ve listed salvage cars for sale. Here’s what you should do:
- Tidy up your car: The first thing you want to do is make sure your vehicle is presentable. You should also remove any personal items from your car’s interior (such as shoes or jackets) because they could distract potential buyers. A nice wash will help it look better.
- Check engine, tires, brakes, and electronics: If there are any issues with these parts of the vehicle, it may not be worth selling at auction. No one wants to buy someone else’s problems! Make sure everything works properly before putting it up for sale; if something needs replacing, fix it before putting it up for sale.
- Use high-quality images and videos: To successfully sell a car in an online car auction, you must post good images. Using high-quality, professional images and videos to showcase your car will help you build consumer confidence, helping you sell faster and rope in a better bid.
For a professional car photoshoot, you can go the traditional route – either rent/build a studio, hire a professional photographer, invest in camera equipment, etc. – or you can use innovative, automated solutions, like Spyne.ai.
4. Determine the most profitable car auction site for you
Different platforms attract different kinds of audiences, so be sure to check them all out. Some might focus on luxury or classic cars, while some might be keener on selling family cars. You must pick the right platform for your vehicle to attract a maximum number of people buying cars at auction.
Well-reputed sites are suitable for finding buyers in terms of quality and quantity. More people will attend an auction organized by a reputed platform than those managed by a non-reputed one. You can use various review sites like Yelp or Google Local to know the reviews of these websites.
5. Check how market trends and demand affect the prices of vehicles at auctions
When selling your car, it’s crucial to research market trends and demand. The better the demand for your car, the better its value will be. If your vehicle is a popular model that still has demand in the market, you’ll be able to get an excellent price for it. Similarly, an iconic car with a cult following will also fetch high bids.
The best way to do this is by visiting a few car auction websites and checking out what they have going on. You can also find information about private sales online or through local newspapers or magazines to know what buyers want. Visit car meets and rallies to understand what the enthusiasts and collectors are looking for.
By following our guide, you can create a successful online car auction business. Remember to research the market thoroughly before you begin. Without proper research, you might set the wrong starting bid or assume that there is a demand for your car when it isn’t true.
Also, choose the correct auction for your vehicle. Otherwise, you won’t attract the intended buyers. A surefire way to earn profit in a car auction is by bidding for cars yourself and flipping them for profit in another auction. Selling a car bought from auction can generate gains of around $1200 per car. For classic cars, your earnings can go much higher!