3 Methods: Choosing How to Sell Your Car

how to sell your car

Choosing how you to sell your car is more important than deciding where to sell your car. What’s the difference? You probably don’t sell cars very often, so when the time comes, you might visit a few different websites online to get some advice. If you take a look through some of the many forums about buying or selling cars, you’ll quickly notice a question that people ask a lot: Where should I sell my car? The answers will start rolling in fast and furious – Craigslist, AutoTrader, eBay Motors, and on and on goes the list.

Then there will be a lot of debate about why this or that option is better, people telling their sob stories about it not working out, and others telling their stories about how awesome it went for them. The next thing you know, you’ve wasted several hours without really finding out anything you didn’t already know. This article was written to help save you the pain and frustration of that experience because it’s going to lay out exactly what you need to know about choosing how you’ll sell your car.

Forget About WHERE and Focus on Choosing HOW You’ll Sell Your Car

ways to sell your car

Here’s the problem with how this gets talked about online: Those answers people get when they ask where they should sell their car as listed above are fine if you’re planning to sell your car privately on your own. But what it you’re not up for that? After all, there are tons of reasons why it is often not going to be worth the effort and hassle.

Asking about where to sell your car is the wrong question! Before you start thinking about where, the first thing has to be choosing how you’ll sell your car. It may sound like it’s the same question, but it’s not. This will make more sense when you have a better understanding of the 3 basic methods for selling your car, which will be covered further on in this article. But before getting into those details, you have to give a little thought to what your primary goal is in selling your car.

Choosing How You’ll Sell Your Car Depends on What You Want

time versus money when selling your ride

There are 3 basic methods you can use to sell your car. Which one you choose is driven primarily by what your primary goal is for selling. Your options here include speed, money, or both.

SPEED: Some people need to sell their car as quickly as possible. In some cases, this need for speed can totally trump any concerns about the money they get for the car. If you’re thinking to yourself, “I need to get rid of this car NOW and I don’t even care about getting top dollar for it,” then you fall in the group of people for whom SPEED is the all-important goal. This means you’re looking for the fastest transaction possible, and the price you get for the vehicle doesn’t really matter. Maybe you’re being deployed overseas or just got an amazing job opportunity and need to drop everything and move, knowing you’ll get your next car when you arrive with your signing bonus. Whatever the case may be, consider how important speed is to you.

MONEY: Other people don’t have any urgency at all around the speed of the process. Instead, they’re very focused on squeezing every last dime they can out of the car they are selling. Although lots of people like the idea of getting the most money they can when selling their car, most fail to realize how much time, effort and headaches go into making that happen. But if you’ve got the time and determination, there is a method more likely to achieve your goal than the others – although it is by no means guaranteed.

BOTH: If more people who want to sell their car took the time to think through their primary goal in selling and matching that up to the method of selling, then most would realize they want the best combination of speed and money they can get. Luckily, there’s a method best suited to that as well. People in this camp don’t need the process to happen at lightning speed, but they also don’t want it to drag on forever. And on the money part of the puzzle, they know they don’t want to put a huge amount of time and effort into the process to try and get top dollar but would like to not settle for the lowest amount possible either.

3 Ways to Sell Your Car: Choose Wisely!

three ways to sell

Now is the moment you’ve been waiting for – the 3 basic methods available when choosing how you’ll sell your car, and how they match up to the 3 different primary goals described above. Here’s the rundown:

Method 1: Dealership. If the only thing that really matters to you is getting rid of your car as quickly as possible, selling it outright or trading it in at a dealership is a great choice. After all, every car dealership has built up an entire infrastructure and business processes all specifically geared towards not just selling but also buying cars. They can literally take your car off your hands in a matter of hours, and will gladly do so – especially of you’ve got a great car they can turn around resell for a tidy profit.

BUT (and this is a big but), there is a price you pay for the amazing speed of the transaction. And the price you pay is not getting very much money or trade-in value for your car. Why is that? Dealerships actually make much higher profits from selling used cars than new cars. Weird, right? But it’s true. These days, everyone knows what the dealer paid for a brand-new car from the manufacturer (the invoice price), and everyone expects to pay a final price as close to that as possible. This is why the profit margins from selling new cars are so small.

When you shop for a used car at a brand-name dealership, do they tell you what they paid for the car? Nope! Never! Dealerships always try to get your used car for as little money as possible so they can mark it up a lot and make a big profit. And car shoppers are none the wiser because they have no idea what the dealership paid for the car. Still, if you really don’t care about the money, then you can’t beat the speed of a dealership.

Method 2: Private Sale. If you fall in the group of people who care much more about the money you get for your car than how fast you can get rid of it, the selling privately on your own is probably your best bet. The operative words here are “probably” and “bet” – can you guess why? In the big picture, going the route of “for sale by owner” does, on average, result in the most money in the pockets of sellers. But there’s no guarantee it will work out for you that way. Selling on your own privately is much more of a gamble than most people realize. It will definitely suck up more of your time than you think, and could also give you some massive headaches along the way. Why is that?

There’s a lot of effort that goes into doing a private sale right to get the most money for your car. You have to figure out what it’s really worth and come up with the right asking price. Then you have to carefully craft a killer description and take a couple dozen professional-grade photos. After that you have to decide where you’re going to place your listing. Remember that where question that started this whole article? It’s back!

And all of those steps are the easy parts of the process! It’s when you start fielding all the inquiries you get that things get really tricky. Who is a serious buyer and who is just wasting your time? Worse yet, who is actually trying to take advantage of you with a scam? This is when many car sellers realize they’re in over their heads and pull the plug on trying to sell privately even though they’ve already invested a lot of time and effort into the process. Others will stick it out and maybe get the result they were hoping for, but many fail. Yes, there are plenty of private sale success stories out there, but those are the ones you’re more likely to see online. For every success you read about online, there are many more epic failures no one wants to talk about. Read our previous articles about how private sales can go sideways to protect yourself:

Know the Risks When You Sell Your Car Privately

Liability and Risks of Selling Your Car

6 Steps to Limit Risk When Selling Your Car Privately

At this point in choosing how you’ll sell your car, you might be wishing there was a third method available that could avoid the extremes of methods 1 and 2. There is, so read on!

Method 3: Car-Buying Service. The third method is selling your vehicle to a car-buying service, and it is the only one that can give you the best of both worlds – the speed of a dealership but with more money going into your pocket than you’ll ever get from one. Like a dealership, a car-buying service has developed its whole business model and infrastructure around buying cars, so they can do it just as fast as any dealership. But they also realize how important it is to give car sellers more money than they would get from a dealership, which is what makes this an attractive method to many people. Beating dealerships is core part of their business concept, so why not take advantage of it?

A car-buying service ends up being the best method for anyone selling their car, and you’ll realize this if you think about it. You know it’s going to be a lot less stressful to sell your vehicle to a car-buying service than trying to sell it privately on your own – not to mention a whole lot safer as well. But the beauty of a car-buying service is that it’s also every bit as fast as any dealership. So even if money isn’t your primary goal, why not go ahead and get more for it at a car-buying service while enjoying the same speed you’d get at a dealership? It really is the best of both worlds!

San Diego Car Sellers: Choose Driveo!

sell your car to Driveo

The really good news for anyone looking to sell their car in the greater San Diego area is that a homegrown car-buying service is available to you where you can literally cruise in and cash out on the spot! It’s called Driveo, and it’s even a cut above other car-buying services in San Diego County and beyond! The process is simple and fast:

  1. Tell Us about Your Ride: Fill out our short online form to tell us about your car and its condition.
  2. Get a Quote in Minutes: Based on your information, we’ll give you quote in minutes. But it’s not automated – we actually do the market research to come up with a real offer.
  3. Cruise In, Cash Out: If you like our offer, make an appointment to bring your car in. We’ll do a final check to physically verify the condition of the car and make any necessary adjustments to our offer – whether up or down – and then cut you a check on the spot.
  4. Catch a Ride, on Us: We’ll even give you a free ride anywhere you need to go in San Diego County!

But there’s one more reason why Driveo is the best choice for selling your car. This reason is especially good for people who don’t have to get rid of their car super-fast. When you get a quote from CarMax, it’s only good for 7 days. Every Driveo quote is good for 30 days! This means that you’ve got plenty of time to do as much shopping around as you want to try and get a better price – but make sure you give Driveo a chance to beat that better offer. We love to do that. Click here to get your online Driveo quote in minutes!