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Finding a new or used car that fits your budget and needs doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Car buying services can handle the heavy lifting for you. Here’s how these services work and which ones may be best suited to your needs.

What is a car buying service?

A car buying service helps you through the whole process: searching for a vehicle, choosing the right one and negotiating an acceptable price.

Not all car buying services are created equal. In fact, there are different types of services to meet the needs of most people buying a vehicle.

How to find the best car buying service

First, you will need to decide which type of service is best for you. Then compare that with how much the service will save you time, how it might reduce the stress of trading, and the overall costs associated with the service.

You’ll have several options to choose from, including online car buying sites, car brokers, member discount programs, and car concierges.

Online car shopping site

Estimated cost: Free

A good first place to look is some online car buying websites. These typically have inventory ranging from used and new cars, to used cars only, to older rental units from a national rental car fleet.

Related: With a car buying website like CarMax, Carvana or Vroom, you can browse the inventory on the website to find a match that meets your needs, from your car buying budget to preferred vehicle choice and Moreover.

Car broker

Estimated cost: $0 to $1,000

Using an auto broker is a great way to save time and money. Often, car brokers are former car dealership salespeople who know the inner workings of a dealership. They are more aware of the information and negotiation surrounding the list price, the best price and the lowest price.

Brokers can use their experience and networks of industry retailers to find the best price on the vehicle that meets your needs. A broker works either as an independent contractor or as part of a large company that specializes in helping consumers through the car buying process.

The best part of using an auto broker is that the fees are considerably lower than concierge fees. You may not have to pay any fees at all if the car dealer covers them. But if your broker’s fees are paid by the dealer as a commission or fixed fee, this may raise red flags.

Note that this type of relationship between a car broker and a dealer could mean that the broker settled for a higher price knowing that he was in line for a commission from the dealer based on the selling price. So do your research before working with a broker to make sure they have your best interests in mind.

Membership discount program

Estimated cost: Cost varies by membership

You may already be a member of a car buying service without even realizing it. For example, if you are a member of Costco, Sam’s Club, AAA, or even a credit union, you have access to purchase certain models from manufacturers at discounted prices. Chase Bank also offers service through its partnership with TrueCar, a national car buying service.

Some benefits of using your subscription for a car buying service include:

  • Special rate: Once you’ve entered your make and model specifications online, the company begins a search of its certified dealer networks. The quid pro quo is that dealerships offer special low prices for designated vehicles in exchange for membership program referrals.
  • Vehicle advice: Plus, if the vehicle you want isn’t available, company representatives can advise you on the best features of similar makes and models you haven’t considered that are part of its dealer network. multi-manufacturer participants.

Point: Even though you set the price of the vehicle with your club membership, the dealership salesperson will take the opportunity to sell you warranties, insurance products and more. Just keep in mind that these are optional and not mandatory, so don’t feel obligated to incur these additional costs.

Car Concierge

Estimated cost: $200 to $1,000 and/or a percentage of your savings

If you live a busy life and need to purchase a vehicle, a car concierge service goes beyond the car buying process. With an Automotive Concierge, you will have the benefit of leaving the research and negotiation to someone who is knowledgeable and plugged into the automotive industry and who brings an insider’s perspective, to your benefit, to the transaction.

A car concierge can help you with:

  • Find a vehicle
  • Purchasing management
  • Sign the papers
  • Delivery of the vehicle to your doorstep

Car concierge services can start at $200 and increase up to $1,000 by the time the vehicle is delivered to your doorstep. You may also have to pay a percentage of the amount you save by using the concierge during negotiations.

Advantages and disadvantages of a car buying service

Using websites like Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book can give you all the price and performance information you need to negotiate a deal for a vehicle. But you should always weigh the positives and negatives of a car buying service before deciding which is best for you.

Advantages of a car buying service

Car buying services usually help you get a better deal than you would on your own. Additionally, these services can leverage the experience of its experts to negotiate for you, so you can avoid the unnecessary stress of negotiating with a car sales professional.

Plus, a big plus is the time you’ll save by outsourcing the entire process, including haggling over prices or alternate products and reviewing documents.

Disadvantages of a car buying service

The downside of car buying services is that you may not get the exact vehicle, new or used, that you imagined you owned.

Additionally, you may find that the cost of the service is simply not worth it, especially with a car concierge who charges an upfront fee and an additional payment upon closing the transaction.

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