The world of car going is changing, and it means good news for car buyers. The traditional way of buying a car from a dealer’s showroom has been doing forever, and it’s a game where the playing field is tilted heavily in the dealer’s like. The dealer knows all of the numbers bmw for sale involved much better than the individual, and so knows exactly where margins can be increased and reduced to maximise their profits while still appearing to provide a good deal.
It’s a bit like a casino; the punters at the tables may have a few individual wins here and there, but overall the house always wins. Buying a car from a dealer is similar, in that you might get them to drop the car’s price slightly or throw in some extras, but they get it all back again on the finance package or the other extras you hadn’t knew you even needed (but were convinced by the salesman that they were absolutely essential).
The internet moved some way to helping buyers, in that you can easily check prices from many different dealers whole. But that’s still a starting point; a dealer may also be happy to cut the price on a car if they causes it to be up elsewhere, and it becomes very difficult to stay on top of the talks when you have a new car, your part-exchange (trade-in), finance, insurance, options and accessories all making up the final numbers. The dealer is expert at keeping up with all these tennis balls at once, and they know exactly how much they are making from each area of the overall deal. The customer, usually, is very in the dark as to how much of a deal they are really getting.
More and more car buyers are now turning to a car buying agent or car broker to help them manage their car purchasing. Here the individual gets to play on a level field with the dealer, as the car buying agent or car broker usually has the same knowledge and expertise as the dealer to be able to negotiate on all facets of the deal to the main advantage of the individual.
The other benefit for using a car broker or car buying agent is that it saves you an enormous amount of time. Researching cars and walking all over town to visit dealers, getting quotes from different dealers on the latest models of and comparing all the information is a tremendously lengthy exercise. A car buying agent or car broker can take car of all the running around and allow you to concentrate on your job or enjoy your recreational time.
So what exactly does a car buying agent or a car broker do?
Let’s explain the difference between a car buying agent and a car broker.
With a car broker, you provide as much detail as you can about the car you are looking for, and the broker sources a vehicle which matches your desired specification as closely as possible.
A car buying agent offers a more comprehensive overall service, usually involving specific advice and recommendations on choosing a car and its specification to suit your needs, as well as the sourcing of the chosen vehicle. If you are undecided on the best sort of car for your needs, a car buying agent’s advice can be far more valuable than the savings he or she may be able to get from the dealer. Choosing a considerably better car can be worth some considerable saving over your entire ownership period, even if the deal on the car’s price is not as significant. Many people have obtained a car completely not fit for their needs, and using a car broker won’t prevent that. A good car buying agent, however, will help you ensure that you opting for a car which will do everything you should for as long as you possess it.
Brokers and agents make their money from either a fee charged to the client for their service, and/or a payment or commission from the dealer. This is an important point for you as a buyer; if your broker is being paid by a dealer, they are ultimately doing work for the dealer rather than for you, meaning they may not be acting in your desires to secure the best car available at the best price possible.
To ensure that your agent is acting in your desires and not the dealer’s, you should always look for a car buying agent or car broker who has a clear fee structure and does not take payments or commissions from the selling dealer. The fees should be clearly explained, easily understandable, and relate to the service provided. If a broker advertises their services as being free, then it almost certainly means they are being paid a commission or ‘finder’s fee’ by the dealership. If a dealer or broker offers their advice as free, it is unlikely to be a properly detailed and analytical report which covers all facets of your driving needs.
A car broker will normally charge a fee based on the value of the car they are sourcing. If this is the case, you should be clearly aware of their fee structure before you commence : for example, if the relevant price threshold on their fee structure is £30, 000, then the car costing £30, 001 may mean a much bigger fee for the broker when compared to a car costing £29, 999.
Some agents or brokers will charge a flat fee for their services, and some may charge a fee based on the level of discount they achieve from the advertised price. This means that the more money you save, the more they will make and provides you some reassurance that they are acting in your desires.
With a car buying agent, there will normally be a fee for their advice and expertise, and a separate fee for sourcing a vehicle. Again, you ought to know of how their pricing works, but don’t be put off by the idea of paying for expert advice as it may save you thousands long term. You may even use a car buying agent for advice on choosing a car but handle the purchase yourself. This is often the case with company car drivers, who have procurment arrangements in place at their workplace but don’t know which car to hire.
In conclusion, a car broker or car buying agent can make the process of shopping for a car much more appealing and advantageous to the average consumer, saving a long time and potentially a lot of money.
Stuart Masson is founder and owner of the Car Expert, a London-based independent and unprejudiced car buying agency for anyone looking to buy a new or used car.