autoDNA advises
Sale of automobiles

How to sell a car at the dealer’s and on your own

23 May 2017

How to sell a car at the dealer’s and how do you do it if you’d rather sell your car on your own? What should be included in the contract and what should a successful ad look like? How often should you advertise at all?

When you’re considering selling your car, the first thing that will most likely come to your mind is selling it at a dealer’s, that is, having a specialist find the buyers for you. It may not be so obvious if you never sold via a dealer but consider this: having a dealer handle the sales doesn’t guarantee that they will sell your car any faster than you would. If they don’t do it in a reasonable time, you won’t earn much in the end. Remember: you will need to share the money earned with the dealer anyway. Still, dealers quite often are the only solution for busy people. Taking good photos, writing the ads, promoting them, meeting and negotiating with the buyers (who are very unlikely to rush with making their decision) requires a lot of time, after all.



How to sell a car at the dealer’s

Once you decide to have a dealer sell the car for you, make sure you choose someone trustworthy. Sadly, even in car sales, experts are not easy to find. You may go for a company your friends recommend or read online reviews. Remember the difference, though: you can trust your friends but you should be more careful with Internet reviews. These can be sponsored; it’s an increasingly common practice! Surprisingly, both positive and negative reviews can be ordered by the very seller or the competition.



If you have no-one to help you choose, consider trying a dealer who has been in the market for years; go for bigger, professional looking salons and make sure they are equally professional when it comes to serving customers.


A bigger and more reliable dealer makes the car more likely to sell faster. If the dealer has been in the market for years, their position is stable, and they have a number of cars on display and/or on the Internet, you can expect more people to visit them. A professional office offering satisfactory customer support makes the customer more likely to buy the car and not just inspect it and leave.

Once you have chosen a reputable dealer whose sellers look professional and convincing, you will need to prepare the contract. There are at least three elements a dealer’s contract should include; listed below are those we recommend you to include in yours to make sure you are selling safely:

  • date and timeof signing the contract,
  • time for which the contract is signed, i.e. whether the seller is to try to sell the car until they are successful, or if they get a fixed number of days to sell and if they don’t find the buyer, you will take the car back,
  • commission agent’s data, that is, personal details of the dealership owner or details of the company that undertakes to sell your car,
  • commissioning party’s data, that is, the data of the person whose car is being sold,
  • specification of the car which is being commissioned, including the make and model, model year, date of first registration, mileage, and the VIN number (you can also mention some main features of the car, e.g. if it’s undamaged or well equipped),
  • price at which the car is to be sold,
  • an entry confirming what will happen if the car is sold at a price that is different than what was agreed in the contract. Remember: if they sell the car at a higher price than what you thought they would, you will want to earn the difference; if they sell it cheaper, you will also want them to pay you the difference.
  • amount of commission, or the amount of money the dealer will earn once the car is sold,
  • an entry on the commission agent’s selling the car on their own behalf, that is, a confirmation that they are a not a middleman but the actual seller with all the responsibilities this entails when it comes to informing the buyer about any damage or conditions which should be disclosed before the purchase,
  • an entry confirming that the commission agent is selling the car owned by the commissioning party, i.e. that when the car is sold, its ownership will be transferred from the commissioning party to the buyer.

If your contract includes the points mentioned above, it should be safe for you to sell the vehicle with the help of a dealer. Once you have the contract signed, all you need to do is wait for the car to be sold; unfortunately, you won’t have any influence on how quickly you will see any results. For those who really need money, this is the biggest drawback. Those who can afford to wait in exchange for not having to trouble themselves with advertising, are usually more willing to accept the fact that the car will not be sold too quickly. Both the types of sellers need to accept one more thing, though: selling with a dealer means you are earning less than if you were selling on your own. This is why, even if you want to leave the sales to a dealer, you should consider selling the car yourself first; you are not bound to do it on your own but why not check all the options before you choose?


How to sell a car on your own

In order to sell your car on your own, you should definitely start with taking very good photos. This is not too difficult now that an average smartphone is equipped with a camera capable of taking decent shots. It is the composition that you need to think about; no camera will do this for you. First of all, the car must be parked somewhere clean and professional looking; if you don’t live in a house with good looking surroundings, pick an empty car park next to an office or shopping centre. The car must, of course, be clean and tidy. If there are any visible faults, make sure they are in photos, too. This will help the buyers trust you as a seller; you will also save plenty of time by not having to speak to people who are going to leave the moment they notice these faults when inspecting the car. Make sure the photos show as much of the car as possible: shoot the interior and exterior from different angles so the buyer can see the front, back, both the sides, the boot and all the details which determine the value of the car.



The next step you need to take proper care of is writing a good ad. How do we define a good ad? It should list all the important parameters of the car, its equipment, the more important repairs and all the benefits such as low fuel consumption or a service book listing the history of the car; in other words, say everything that can help the buyer tell how much the car is worth.

It is also a good idea to make the ad stand out from all the others the buyer will be going through, by making it sound a bit different. You can use such phrases as: I will miss it; this is the car we spent our honeymoon in, or what you’re looking at is a perfectly maintained silver drive. When you’ve finished writing, have someone else read the ad before it is published; let them see if is clear enough, and whether it includes all the important elements regarding the car itself but also the price and your contact details: your phone number and e-mail address.


Pay attention

When the ad is already published, do your best to make it visible. Share it using your social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter and ask your family and friends to do the same. This will let you show the ad to a number of potential buyers free of charge. Remember this: many people will be more eager to buy a car knowing that the owner is a friend of their friend.


If you’re selling a popular model with not too low a mileage and at a low price, you can expect the potential buyers to live quite close to you; hardly anyone will be willing to drive hundreds of kilometres to examine it. This is why you should do your best to promote the car in your area. You can publish a classified ad in a local paper and/or stick a printed ad to the window of the vehicle so whoever passes it by knows it’s being sold. Remember that the ad must be short and clear, easily readable (use a big font size or capitalize it) and have your phone number. One look should be enough to read the whole ad if it’s printed and placed on the window.


It is good to know

autoDNA is the leading provider of services of checking vehicle history online and free VIN lookup. Based on your VIN number, with autoDNA you can verify vehicle history before making a purchase. In many cases, VIN check may prevent you from incurring unwanted additional costs associated with purchasing a vehicle with an unknown or salvage past.



How to sell a car at the dealer’s and on your own
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How to sell a car at the dealer’s and on your own
How to sell a car at the dealer’s and how do you do it if you’d rather sell your car on your own? How often should you advertise at all?
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