Selling to a car-buying site: why you must shop around

Not all car buying websites are the same ‒ shopping around can help you secure a far higher price for your old motor.

Car-buying sites have become hugely popular in recent years.

For those who don't fancy going through the effort of selling their car themselves, sites like Motorway and Webuyanycar offer motorists the chance to offload their vehicle quickly for a slightly reduced fee. 

However, with so many to choose from, how do you go about working out which car-buying website is right for you?

Getting different prices for my car

A study by car-selling guide site Sell My Car Guide highlights just how important it is to shop around when determining the best car-buying site to use.

The website picked out six of the most popular car models in the UK: the Tesla Model 3, the Ford Fiesta, the Ford Focus, the Mini, the Nissan Qashqai and the Volkswagen Golf.

It then took five examples of each of those motors ‒ basically versions of different ages and mileages ‒ and compared the average price they could get for each model from six of the best-known car-buying firms: Motorway, Cazoo*, Money4yourmotors, Arnold Clark, WeWantAnyCar and WeBuyAnyCar.

Before you compare the prices in the table below, we felt it important to point out that this information was gathered before Cazoo collapsed into administration.

At present (June 2024), any quote you get is no longer powered by Cazoo itself but by a rival service. As a result, quoted prices will likely be lower now than when the below information was gathered.

 

Tesla Model 3

Ford Fiesta

Ford Focus

Mini

Nissan Qashqai

VW Golf

Motorway

£41,697

£4,629

£6,083

£15,884

£15,879

£12,315

Cazoo*

£39,988

£4,433

£6,231

£14,742

£15,409

£11,885

Money4yourmotors

£39,768

£4,509

£5,933

£14,764

£13,621

£11,591.60

Arnold Clark

£39,635

£3,921

£5,625

£14,844

£14,433

£11,739.40

WeWantAnyCar

£39,343

£4,509

£5,933

£14,837

£13,625

£11,734.00

WeBuyAnyCar

£38,196

£4,103

£5,899

£14,734

£14,039

£11,883

*Prices gathered before Cazoo went into administration
 
There are a few striking results from this study which are worth pointing out, in my view. 

Firstly, no single car-buying website came out top for every single model.

What’s more, it’s incredible just how wide a variance in price you can be offered.

With the five Tesla models quote, Sell My Car Guide found that WeBuyAnyCar offered a staggering £3,500 less on average than Motorway.

That’s certainly not an irrelevant sum of money, and could make a huge difference to your financial health.

The importance of shopping around

The clear lesson I would take from this study is that it’s absolutely crucial to shop around, to compare your options so that you are fully informed on how much you can get for your motor from a variety of sources.

The study wasn’t hugely comprehensive ‒ pick out some other car models and you may find that Arnold Clark and Cazoo, for example, are the best options.

That’s why putting in the work and comparing quotes for your own car will put you in the most informed position over what is the best option for you.

As Sell My Car Guide points out: "It genuinely only takes a couple of minutes to get a quote.

"This will help you quickly weed out the sites that haven’t made a serious offer.

"If you get one that's miles better than any of its rivals, you can be pretty confident you’re on to a winner as the quotes you get on sites are fairly accurate these days.

"If there is no clear winner, you can just proceed with an offer that’s marginally better but be willing to go through the process all over again if they try to offer less at the point of sale."

It’s a useful reminder that shopping around isn’t simply something that you do when you want to buy something ‒ it’s just as important when you want to sell, as well.

Getting the best price for my car

Of course, when utilising one of these car-buying sites, you need to look beyond the headline quote, since there are other important factors which will influence the best option for you.

For example, is the price set in stone?

While some sites are happy to guarantee the online quote you receive is the price that you’ll get, others will want one of their team to check the car’s condition over before agreeing on a final price.

If there are any extra scratches or dents, that will lead to a lower price.

It’s also important to establish if there are additional fees that will eat into that price. Many sites charge a fee for selling through them, or if you want them to pick the vehicle up from your home rather than dropping it off at one of their branches.

You want to have the full picture before deciding which site to use.

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