Before reading this, read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
I’ve always fancied myself as a car dealer. The idea of having a number of cars on my forecourt that I could legally take out and drive home at my leisure is blissful. It’s almost a shortcut to having that millionaire’s garage that I had always dreamed about. I’d also enjoy the fulfilment of matching a customer with their perfect car.
Everyone loves driving off in a new car, and to be the middle man who manages the transaction, secures a fair deal and hands over the keys would be a really pleasant workplace experience. ‘What a satisfying and endearing career path’ I’ve always thought.
After this brief spell as a private seller, I honestly couldn’t think of anything worse. I’d sooner walk the streets of the city centre scraping up chewing gum using only a blunt toothpick.
Gumtree has proved pretty useless, the stats tell me that my Z4 appeared in 14,408 people's searches, and 508 people viewed the advert, but only 2 people messaged me. Those 2 messages were both insultingly low offers. That’s a very poor conversion rate.
My eBay advert, on the other hand, costs the same (£10) and had generated around 15 replies, 10 of which were insulting, 2 weren’t keen to view the car for one reason or another and 3 people arranged to view my car then just didn’t show up.
I had to edit my advert to include ‘no negotiating before viewing - no time-wasters - only contact if genuinely interested’ to the bottom of my advert.
I always saw these taglines on car adverts and thought: “well, obviously - what kind of idiot starts making offers on cars they haven’t seen? And what sort of idiot registers an interest in a car, then arranges a time, date and location to view it and never shows up?”
There are more of these idiots than I had imagined. Someone pass me a toothpick.
In the meantime, I haven’t managed to settle on a car I actually want to buy yet, nevermind find a good example at a dealer. Trading the Z4 in at part-exchange wasn’t looking likely.
So, with my tail between my legs, I started looking at car buying services.
There are hundreds to choose from, which is good news for us motorists, as they’re all battling to offer the best deals with one another, while also competing to provide the most seamless and stress-free service.
Like James Corden, I also cannot stand that opera singer who has been singing the same song in every ad break for about 6 years now. You know the one. I won’t bother asking them for a quote as I would be tacitly justifying their refusal to vary their marketing techniques year after year.
It didn’t take me long to get a quote I was happy with.
Ok, I say ‘happy’, I wasn’t happy with it at all. I wasn’t particularly happy about any of the quotes, but this one was alright. £2,100. A massive £700 below my initial starting price of the private sale, but I’d said from the start that I’d settle for £2,500. So it’s ‘only’ £400 less than that. *clutches some more straws*.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say that I can frivolously abandon £400’s worth of value in an asset like a car, I absolutely can’t. I’m just sick of this torturous process already. I’ll take the money and run.
I won’t name the company that bought my car off me, as this series of blog-style content isn’t intended to be an advert. However, it’s worth mentioning the nameless organisation (who are endorsed by neither James Corden ‘nor a moustached opera singer) were honest to the quote they’d given me over the interwebs and transferred me the money upon collection.
After about 3 or 4 hours of crying into my pillow over the fact my beloved car had finally gone, I remembered I would be walking into the office the next day and having to tell the rest of the staff that I’d sold it to a car buying service, after I’d been adamant this would never happen.
Then I opened my mobile banking app. Needless to say, I had the last laugh…