Startup business drives used car to consumerês door for test drive
In a San Francisco variation on car brokers, a year-old startup buys and sells used cars without the dealership or the customer paperwork. The company, Shift Technologies, can also offer financing through its partners. The service, now in San Francisco and Los Angeles, plans to expand to DC and several other cities by 2017. The company is currently the second largest used-car seller in San Francisco, above three franchised dealerships, a spokeswoman says.
Hereês how it works: Potential sellers fill out an online form or call Shift to describe their car. Independent contractors called car enthusiasts go to the customerês home to offer a quote, pick up the car and bring it back to a central warehouse for inspection and detailing. Shift handles the Department of Motor Vehicles paperwork and sells the car for the customer.
The cars are sold through listings on AutoTrader.com, Cars.com, CarGurus.com and Shiftês website, Driveshift.com. Shift boasts to sellers that their quotes can be as much as 30 percent higher than they would get from a dealer trade-in.
Buyers can browse inventory on Shiftês website. A contractor will bring the car the buyer is interested in for a test drive in as little as 45 minutes, Shift says. Prices are nonnegotiable, but the company says buyers typically pay about 15 percent less than they would at a new or used-car dealership. Neither buyer nor seller pays a fee. Shift takes a portion of the profit.
Goldman Sachs recently backed the venture with $50 million in funding from its venture capital division.Download Bulletin PDF