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Car Buying Services: 4 Ways to Avoid the Dealers

Michael Jones

Auto Loan Expert

If you have ever thought about skipping the car dealership and purchasing a car somewhere else, you're not alone. Thankfully, a car buying service can help you avoid everything related to a dealership and can get you the car you have dreamed of for a wonderful price.

Once you have decided what kind of car you want, buying a car through this sort of service is as simple as inputting your information on their website and letting them do the haggling for you.

However, before you get excited about the process, understand there are a few car buying options you should know about.


1. Car Concierge Services

A car concierge will be ideal for those who don't know what kind of car they want yet. These professionals will learn about your needs and preferences, and with this information, they will be able to search local inventory, haggle the price and deliver your new vehicle to your home where you can sign the purchasing contract. All of this can be done without ever stepping foot in a dealership.

How do they charge? These types of services will often charge either a flat fee or a percentage of they amount they were able to save you. Before you start working with one, a reputable company will be able to disclose exactly what you're going to pay in fees.

2. Club Car Buying Programs

Popular club buying programs, such as Costco and American Express, have their own buying programs that you can use online.

Unlike a car concierge, you will have to know what kind of car you want ahead of time to be able to get an estimated price, and unfortunately, you will have to visit the dealership in person to take advantage of their pricing. While the car price will be locked in, they will still try to push the premium add-ons such as an extended warranty and paint protection when you finalize the deal.

Typically, all club car-buying services will work the same: You simply go to the website, input some information about the car you want and the club will then match you with local certified dealerships. Once you find a price and a dealership you like, you simply contact a representative at the dealership, show up, test drive and sign the purchasing agreement if everything works out.

How do they charge? A car buying program is often free since the company will get a kickback from the dealership they referred you to.

3. Car Brokers

Car brokers, unlike the concierge or club, will work on their own or with a smaller company. Often former professionals from a dealership, this person will know how the buying process works, being able to search local lots and haggle a price that works for you. Some may even be able to help you haggle on a car you may already have your eyes on. Before you consider this option, however, make sure you pay close attention to their reputation on review websites, such as Yelp and Google, to be sure you're working with someone who has your interests in mind.

How do they charge? Car brokers may charge a small fee, but some may charge nothing if they purchase from a dealership that offers a small commission. Most ethical car brokers will tell you ahead of time what they will charge you to avoid any confusion.

4. Online Car Buying Websites

As of late, there has been an emerging market of peer-to-peer car buying websites such as Carvana. These websites work a lot like any other e-commerce website: You simply find the car in their virtual inventory, add the item to your cart and work out the financing with the website. Once the purchase is complete, the company simply delivers the car to your front door.

If considering this option, just make sure the car you're looking to purchase is competitively priced. This can be done by either checking the Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds.

How do they charge? With a peer-to-peer car buying website, the prices are pretty straight forward. When the car is added to your cart, the price after all the taxes and fees will be added, presenting you with a final price.

Should You Choose a Car Buying Service?

As you can see, you will have a few options if you want to bypass the dealership 100 percent; however, going to the dealership may have its advantages if you know how to work the system. Going to the dealership allows you to test drive the vehicle, compare models and sometimes even receive a lower interest rate loan.

On the flipside, these professional services, if used correctly, can help you bypass the stress, time and potentially thousands of dollars of savings when conventionally shopping for a new vehicle.