HACIENDA ONLINE

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Published January 15, 2013
Volume 21, Number 1


SellingTheCar.com Offers New Business Model for Used Car Sales      
Company Provides Users with "World's Most Convenient Place to Sell Your Car Online"


Dealerdirect USA’s Sandon Smith, Operations Manager

By Nicole Zaro Stahl
NETWORK Editor


Selling a used vehicle in a private party transaction can be a challenging proposition these days. In the search for buyers, the emergence of the online marketplace has undoubtedly extended the reach of traditional classified advertising. At the same time, it has also created a host of potential pitfalls on both sides of the deal.

Beyond the basic issue of whether the prospective buyer is actually financially qualified to make the purchase, several new questions have arisen, primarily revolving around safety. Reports of schemes and scams have confirmed the dangers of meeting with strangers to preview a vehicle. How does the seller screen out unsuitable contenders? How can the buyer be sure the title is clear?

These uncertainties are just some of the reasons behind the success of new Hacienda arrival Dealerdirect USA, which operates as SellingTheCar.com.  The one-year old start-up is an offshoot of a European company established in 2006 as a “safe, reliable, convenient platform” for individuals to sell their vehicles. Owners log on to the website and post their listing. They typically receive a cash offer within 24 to 48 hours. The site describes itself as “the world's most convenient place to sell your car online.”

Essentially, SellingTheCar.com acts as a trusted intermediary between sellers and local auto dealers seeking to add to their inventory of pre-owned cars. “We shop the car to between 600 and 800 bonded, certified buyers,” explains Operations Manager Sandon Smith. “We find out who will pay the most money. This saves owners time so they don't have to visit multiple dealerships for individual quotes.”

Smith emphasizes that the company’s new business model has built-in safeguards to ensure reliability. Employees visit or contact dealerships by phone to make sure they have the appropriate credentials, such as bonding, and validate their sales licenses. “We know who we are doing business with,” he says.

If anything goes wrong, the company knows how to investigate and rectify the situation. “We have a whole line of defenses on our side to protect our customers,” Smith continues. “When you are selling a $15,000 vehicle, you need a licensed professional who knows how to handle the transaction. You don’t want to worry about the buyer not transferring the title to his own name, for example.”

On accepting an offer, the seller delivers the car to the purchasing dealership for inspection. If it is not as described, the parties have the opportunity to renegotiate the price. “Nine times out of 10, when we get the buyer and seller together, they agree to something that satisfies both,” Smith remarks, adding, “All this happens without any extra costs to the seller.”

A total of 15 employees are on duty at the Hacienda office seven days a week, “always on the phone trying to put deals together.” Right now the company operates in northern and southern California, but, facing a very receptive market, expansion into other states is imminent. Smith, who has spent more than a decade in call center sales, is building a team to grow with the company. “This is a new product,” he says. “It takes a certain type of person to mediate a deal. We think Hacienda is a good location to help us achieve our goals.”
 

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