Right now, the entire buying and selling experience of car purchases is changing. We live in a lightning-paced world with online auto auctions and internet payment services. Today’s technology propels sales and transactions much faster and as a result, we want to move at a faster pace when it comes to finding and purchasing the vehicle we really want. This goes for classic and collectibles, too.
What Bring A Trailer Is All About
Classic Auto friend and colleague Brian Henry gives us an inside look at one of the fastest-growing digital auction platforms and enthusiast communities to buy and sell classic, collector and enthusiast vehicles, BringATrailer.com (BAT). “Bring A Trailer is addicting! Once logged on, your screen time will go up considerably,” Brian says. “You’re going to find many vehicles with collector genes on BAT.” Since its inception in 2007, BAT’s knowledgeable community of more than 350,000 users and over 140,000 registered bidders vets each listing so potential buyers can bid with confidence.
Some Vehicles Increase In Value Over Time
Most automotive purchases involve vehicles that are depreciating assets. Most consumers don’t weigh opportunity costs or how such an asset may increase in value over time. When considering collector-type auctions, however – you’ll often find vehicles that can rise in value and you’ll find many vehicles with collector genes at Bring A Trailer. This online auction site has now been making waves for over a decade and continues to compete well with auction houses around the world using a low-cost buying and selling format. Most auctions last seven days, although lately BAT has increased the length of auctions for much higher value collector cars that would not have been listed with such a company in the past. The transactions are clear with little misunderstanding or confusion. Plus, site users and commenters usually provide a wealth of information to both buyers and sellers. BAT has forged its path within the online auction site arena and sets itself apart from most others.
Automotive Enthusiasts Love BAT
Whether you’re looking to buy or sell on Bring A Trailer, you’re more than likely an automotive enthusiast who knows the difference between a depreciating asset and a vehicle that may increase in value over time. Most come to the site to review an auction for a friend or colleague. After getting acquainted with the site, you’ll soon realize the wealth of knowledge provided by BAT commenters. You sometimes sense those who are providing specific measurements or how something should be angled during particular years are automotive historians or were once head of operations at an automotive company and engineered the parts themselves, they paint such vivid pictures.
Seeing A Car In Person Still A Good Idea
Once this honeymoon phase is over and you find your stride on BAT, it’s time to start bidding on a vehicle. Like any other auction -or purchase, for that matter- details are always important. Nothing competes with laying eyes on a vehicle, touching the leather, hearing the exhaust note and discussing the vehicle with the current owner. I always recommend hopping in the car or taking a flight to see the vehicle in person. What’s $500 when you’re considering a vehicle that could potentially be a depreciating asset upon winning the auction? Many vehicles do sell for far higher than market value, but that’s what makes BAT such a great site.
Comments Where Your Find The Pot of Gold
Bring A Trailer does a great job removing many of the worries from the purchase as they require many details from sellers. More importantly, most answers to all of your questions are found within the discussion. I can’t stress this enough – read all the comments. You’ll find a few that won’t add any value to the auction, although other commenters will reminisce about their childhood or when they were in college and their father or uncle has such-and-such a car -you know, those stories so many classic car enthusiasts love to hear.
Mostly, though – the comments are where you’ll find the pot of gold. So many commenters are incredibly knowledgeable when discussing a vehicle and it’s generally well worth the read. Make sure to note the number of likes they have as you can gauge their worth. You can also click on their names to review their history on the site, such as the auctions they’ve commented on and auctions they’ve bid on or vehicles they’ve sold. You can always ask the seller questions along the way, and if you’re keen on buying, don’t wait until the last day to ask questions.
What Happens During An Auction
Most BAT auctions last for seven days. People typically bid within the first three or four days then sit laden until the remaining hour. When you bid on a vehicle, your linked credit card is charged a 5% hold up to $5k of the current bid price. BAT utilizes a two-minute add-on to each bid under two minutes, which removes sniper-style bidding. Most comments made towards the end of the auction may not add value; however, I recommend taking any concerns brought up with the last few minutes as a means to stray a bidder from taking the cake.
Winning The Auction
If you win the auction, BAT immediately sends you an email with the seller’s information. The credit card charge of 5% or up to $5k of the sale price is also realized. You can then discuss with the seller how you wish to pay and arrange transportation to collect your new vehicle. Make sure you gather all the information of what comes with a vehicle and prepare a checklist. You don’t want to drive 400 miles home before you realize you left a spare wheel or previous service records that the owner may end up tossing in a bin.
Selling a Vehicle on BAT
When it comes to selling a vehicle on BAT, you send your vehicle information, service history, photos and videos. During the application process, you can request a reserve or list with no reserve. Current wait time for a response is about seven to 10 days as BAT receives many submissions. The response will include one of three items: 1) BAT thanking you for your submission but they’re not interested; 2) a request to lower the reserve to start price discussions or 3) notice that your vehicle has been accepted. If you receive an acceptance, you pay $99 to list your vehicle for seven days. Before an auction goes live, BAT will send you a draft to review. You can request changes at that time and can also submit additional information at any time during the auction. I always recommend you ensure all information is provided up-front. Once you approve your auction information, the current wait time to a live posting is about two weeks.
The Importance Of The Presentation
Once you’ve sorted through a few auctions, you’ll realize the importance of the presentation. It’s all in the details. Make sure you’ve gone through your vehicle with a fine tooth comb. Take detailed photos. I recommend 100 photos as a minimum -120 to 150 is a better number. Take detailed undercarriage photos. If you’re handy with a camera and video software, take walk-around videos. Submitting driving videos is encouraged. Allow the buyer to imagine being in the driver’s seat. Make them feel as if they are there in person walking around the car. Create a video walking around the vehicle with a paint meter to show readouts. Bend down to look under all the trouble spots. Touch the leather to show its true condition. Video the exhaust note. Accelerate from a stop sign. Idle in the driveway. Drive on the highway cruising at the posted speed limit. Down shift and rev the engine (only do so once the vehicle is warm, so potential bidders are able to relate and say to themselves, ‘That’s what I’d do.’).
Show Them What’s Wrong
I also recommend sharing any negative flaws or service needs to ensure you’re properly representing the vehicle. You’ll find you can quickly win over the commenters by sharing such flaws. If you don’t, you’ll quickly find the gurus will chime in to discuss the flaws. Once a question is asked that needs an explanation, this can harm the value of the auction or the trend it could have potentially taken.
Avoid That Overwhelmed Feeling
Without the proper insight, you can quickly become overwhelmed with selling. I find many sellers who don’t think before they speak can quickly turn their own auction into the depths of despair. Once an auction takes a negative tone with the commenters, it’s usually difficult to bring it back to the positive. Be prepared to answer questions that may have been asked 10 times over -and sometimes make sure you count to 10 before responding, lol. You only have one chance to respond as the words can only be edited within five minutes of posting.
Thanks Goes A Long Way
As the auction winds down, make sure you block off time to stay glued to a device where you can respond to questions. Thank the commenters and bidders along the way. If you have a reserve, don’t mention it unless it’s been met and you want to let others know. Do this only within the last hour or once the bidding starts to take off. If you wait too long you may not get those potential bidders to jump on the bidding wagon.
Once the auction ends, thank the bidders and commenters. BAT is like many other online destinations – more likes generate more credibility. You’ll quickly receive an email with the buyer’s information and I encourage picking up the phone and congratulating them, then working out the details of your sale. Then … start looking at the current auctions and figure out how you can quickly fill another empty garage stall. Enjoy!
Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less
Once you buy the car you’ve always wanted on Bring A Trailer, we’re here to help you protect your new investment. Let Classic Auto Insurance customize a policy to fit your needs. We offer affordable, Agreed Value coverage for a variety of collector, classic and custom vehicles. Let us customize a policy to fit your needs. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff can answer your questions and give you a quote on the spot. Call 888-901-1338 or get an instant quote online and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.