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Want to bid on cars and make a consistent profit? Follow these car auction tips and win deals like an old pro.
Knowing the ins-and-outs of working a car auction is vital for new dealers. If you’re not sure how to savvy your way into a profit, these auctions will chew you up and spit you out faster than you can say, “out of business.”
Granted, if you’re a franchised dealership, bidding on program cars will make a life a little easier. But for the independent dealer, public auctions are your bread and butter. Or lifeline.
New at this process? Well, you’re in need of some practical car auction tips. Our advice will put you on the right path to selling your used car inventory at a profit.
5 Car auction tips to help you find the right deals every time
1. Do all of the upfront research and find the right cars
Put in the time to research the auction’s inventory. There is usually an online or print catalog available for buyers. Going to the auction without a plan is a recipe for disaster. Be prepared!
Things the experienced auction attendee looks for:
- What is the history of this particular vehicle? Get to know the previous owner’s reputation. Look for any major repairs, car accidents, etc.
- Is there a complete trail of ownership? Cars with a clear, traceable history are the most reliable.
2. Go with a professional and experienced bidder
Find a professional bidder than knows how to work with the lightning fast speed of these auctions. He’ll give you car auction tips that only an experienced, first-person view can give.
Attend auctions without intent to buy anything at first. Get a feel for how the process goes and try to build a relationship with the auctioneer and current owners of the vehicles. Go with someone who can introduce you, give commentary and feedback, and an insider’s opinion.
3. Don’t be afraid to walk away without a car
Never dig yourself into a hole where you feel pressure to spend money. Don’t kid yourself: auctions can be very hectic and emotionally draining. The last thing you want is to tie yourself into a bad deal.
Give yourself options. Keep a schedule of open auctions in the surrounding area and regularly attend. There may be a smarter opportunity at a different auction. If the price isn’t right, or the profit margin on the inventory is a stretch, don’t feel pressured to bid. Stay grounded and choose wisely.
4. Show up with a strict budget plan
It’s surprisingly easy to get carried away at an open auction. It’s like going shopping for groceries – if you don’t show up with a list, you’ll start talking yourself into buying products you don’t need. Out of all the car auction tips in this post, having a budget is the one that will save you from making emotional purchases.
Establish a budget for your business every time you attend. Don’t exceed it. There will always be more opportunities down the road. Figure out what inventory you need at the dealership and the exact amount that you can afford to spend (without “projected” sales as a factor).
5. Register early and be the first one to walk in
Early risers get the best deals. It’s one of the oldest car auction tips we can throw your way, but it works. As you a newcomer, you want to set yourself up for success with smart time management.
Get a list of the order in which the cars will cross the auction block. If you show up late, you might wind up facing a long line and missing the inventory you’re interested in bidding on.