Bronwyn wants to know more about car buying services.
Hi team, I hate car dealerships and it’s almost time to get a new car. A friend recently used a car buying service and said I should too. What do you guys think?
Thanks for the email Bronwyn. That is an interesting question and one that we are sure many other Behind the Wheel readers and listeners have pondered before too.
We thought we would go straight to the source and get some more details on car buying services, we put some questions to Roderick West from Quality Auto Search in Sydney…
Roderick, how does the process work?
When a company or an individual makes an initial contact there are a number of ways in which the process works.
Firstly, where a business needs a car, ute or light commercial truck, I would visit the business premises and get a feel for the business and understand what it is exactly that they are looking for.
More often than not many businesses may not even know what vehicle is best and that is where our knowledge comes in. An example is where a business needs a delivery van or even a light commercial truck, but do they know if you can drive it with just a class 1 car licence? Often it is found the truck is too heavy and there is a need for a class 3 licence. That is one of our processes.
In most circumstances a person or a business would know or have an idea what kind of vehicle that they would need or like. Sometimes the expectations outweigh their budget or needs and that’s where I can come in and try and put people on the right track.
Once I know what our customers are looking for I would then go and talk to dealers, giving them the information about the vehicle that is required and ask for their best possible quote.
We are not obliged to approach just one or three dealers for a quote. I normally go and talk to all the dealers in the metro and outer metro areas, this way I can find out which one wants our business the most. That way the customer will normally get the best possible deal on a new car.
Once I know that dealers can no longer go any further on price I would put their quotes to our customer and let them choose what best meets their budget/expectations. If accepted, I then pass on a purchase agreement to our customer and then provide details of the customer with paperwork and ID forms on to the winning dealer.
The customer and dealership then arrange things like when the car will be picked up/delivered, payment details and trade in options etc. Through this phase we are still available to assist the customer should they need it.
Can you tell us who your customers generally are?
Most of our customers are small business people looking for someone to take the hassle of a complicated purchase out of their hands so they can concentrate on their business. They also often ask us to arrange leases for them too.
A lot of the small business people who use our service are women and many are attracted to what we do simply because it means they don’t have to deal with car dealerships/salespeople.
Most of our customers come to us via referral from satisfied past/recurring clients.
Is it a national service?
Yes, I can arrange for cars to be bought for people who are based interstate and have cars delivered by a local car dealer in most cases. Unfortunately, some of the remote areas we aren’t able to service simply due to logistics.
Do the dealerships like you? How do they feel about you helping car buyers?
Most car dealerships love us as we do most of the leg work for them. We also provide them with the completed paperwork and everything they need for the purchase to proceed. All the dealers have to do is come up with the winning deal and have a car ready to be delivered.
We have a very good rapport with dealerships and this serves our customers well as they then have as many dealerships as possible bidding for their business.
How much does it cost to use Quality Auto Search?
Buying a car through our service will not cost you anything as our fees/commission are covered by the car dealer. We do charge a fee if a customer signs a purchase agreement and then decides to deal directly with a car dealership. We think this is only fair given the initial work we have done for the client.
Have you seen any trends in car buying patterns in recent times? What kind of vehicles are people buying?
The main trends are that people like SUVs in growing numbers and the sedans are slowing at a great rate. People-movers like the Honda Odyssey are also constantly popular.
Interestingly, safety is not on the buyers radar. I am always hearing preferences regarding wheels, sat-nav and sound systems and very few mentions of safety features.
Are more car buyers looking for help? Is it all just too confusing for some car buyers?
I find that a lot of people are very savvy when coming to buying cars I think that is thanks to the internet and info channels like Behind the Wheel. However, when you tell people that you have over 65 manufacturers and over 900 models to choose from some just go into meltdown.
Sadly, many of my customers have had disappointing previous dealings with car dealerships and many simply don’t trust them. Really, people are just looking for a friendly person to help them through the process in as fuss-free, open and honest manner and I’d like to think that’s exactly what we do.
Thanks to Roderick West from Quality Auto Search for his assistance. You can contact Roderick via the Quality Auto Search website, or call (02)9594-6463.
Bronwyn, we hope that helps.
Do you have a question for us? Email [email protected]