Buying a new car can be great fun, but it often involves having to sell your current vehicle at the same time. And we all know that can be a pain in the neck...or lower. But hassles can create new businesses, as witnessed by the new range of services, such as dry cleaners, car detailers and even providers of freshly prepared meals who are now coming right to the home or workplace. These services mean that a widening array of chores no longer need wait for evenings or weekends (or wherever they can be squeezed in), but they can be accommodated during breaks or lunch hours. Now, getting your car sold privately is joining in the ranks of such "lunch break" services and can be done in half an hour or less at a satisfactory price.
"It's a really great service," said Evangelos Katsouridis, digital product specialist for Konica Minolta in Torrance, Calif., who sold a car using this method. "They made an appointment with me and came right to my office. They gave me a good price immediately and had the paperwork all prepared for me to sign. We shook hands and it was a done deal. All in all it took about 30 minutes."
As Katsouridis knows, selling a private vehicle can be inconvenient and extremely stressful. Initially, Katsouridis placed a classified ad and also placed a sign on the car out on the street. He got absolutely no calls from either source. The time wasted was serious...and expensive because his car continued to decline in value as it remained unsold.
Another well-worn method of selling a private vehicle is the trade-in, something Katsouridis went through with a previous vehicle. On top of feeling like he got the lowest possible price for his trade-in, he found the give-and-take in the dealership to be time-consuming.
"It was a nightmare," Katsouridis said. "I had a massive headache afterward, and for about three months I felt like I was done in. I lost my socks on trading in that car."
The next time around, Katsouridis called Gulliver U.S.A., a company that specializes in private auto purchasing. Based on a business model first developed in Japan, Gulliver adds a significant twist to the old car-selling procedure by visiting prospective sellers in their offices and other places of employment. In Katsouridis' case, a company representative arrived at his place of employment, appraised the automobile, and within half an hour Katsouridis agreed on a price, finished the paperwork and got a check.
Another avenue for private owners is the dealership that promises: "we'll buy your car whether you buy ours or not." The possible hassle here is that the dealership often pushes hard to sell another vehicle from their lot to the customer regardless of whether it is car the customer wants.
Maureen Miller, an office administrator for a Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon, recently went to a dealer who promised to "buy any car," but she and the dealer could not agree on the price and she left disgusted. Later, Miller ended up selling her car through Gulliver.
"They came right over to my office on my lunch hour," she said. "We went through everything very quickly, they gave me a fair price and we were done. It couldn't have been more than 20 minutes."
Companies like Gulliver can offer better purchase prices to consumers because they operate with much lower overhead than a traditional dealer and they re-sell the cars they buy almost immediately. A typical dealer, on the other hand, has a significant amount of money invested in land, buildings and equipment, so his cost of doing business is higher. For more information, visit Gulliver Car Connection Center or call 800-898-1173.
Based in Cleveland, Driving Today Contributing Editor Luigi Fraschini has bought and sold more than his share of used cars and trucks.