Are Car-Buying Services Worth It?

The pros and cons of using a car-buying service to buy your next vehicle.

Are car buying services worth it?

Car buying can be an overwhelming and time-consuming process. From researching different models to negotiating prices and dealing with paperwork, it’s no wonder many people find it daunting.

In recent years, car-buying services have emerged as a popular alternative for those seeking a more streamlined and hassle-free experience. But are these services worth it?

Discover the pros and cons of car-buying services, weigh the cost vs. savings, and make an informed choice. Is it worth it? Find out in this article.

Introduction: The Challenges of Car Buying

Buying a car is a significant financial decision that requires careful consideration.

It involves researching various models, comparing prices, negotiating with dealers, and completing extensive paperwork.

For many people, this process can be time-consuming and stressful.

What Are Car Buying Services?

Car-buying services are third-party companies or platforms that assist consumers in purchasing vehicles.

These services typically offer a range of benefits, such as providing access to a network of dealerships, negotiation support, and helping with paperwork.

The best car-buying and car shopping tools available online.

Types of Car Buying Services

Regarding car-buying services, various types are available to cater to different needs and preferences.

Here are a few of the most popular types of car-buying services:

Online Car Buying Platforms

Online car-buying platforms have revolutionized how people purchase vehicles and are free for consumer use.

These platforms provide a digital marketplace where users can browse, compare, and buy cars online.

Online platforms such as RydeShopper, Edmunds, MotorTrend, and Cars Direct will allow you to request free dealer price quotes to compare prices and find the lowest price in your area.

Customers can often access a wide selection of new and used vehicles, and the entire buying process can be completed from the comfort of their homes or mobile devices.


  • Convenient and time-saving, as customers can browse and purchase cars online.
  • Offers a wide selection of vehicles, including both new and used options.
  • Deal with internet departments and not frontline salespeople.
  • Provides transparent pricing information and comparisons.
  • Some platforms offer additional services like vehicle history reports and financing options.


  • Lack of physical inspection can be a disadvantage for some buyers.
  • Limited ability to negotiate prices compared to traditional car dealerships.
  • The potential risk of fraudulent listings or misrepresented vehicles.
  • There is limited personalized assistance and guidance compared to in-person services.
Find the dealer near you with the lowest new car price.

Personal Concierge Car Buying Services

Personal concierge car buying services, provide a personalized experience for customers who prefer hands-on assistance throughout the car buying process.

These services typically assign a dedicated car-buying specialist who helps you find the right vehicle, negotiates prices, and handles all paperwork on your behalf.


  • Offers personalized assistance and expertise throughout the buying process.
  • Car buying specialists can negotiate prices and obtain the best deals.
  • It helps save time and reduces the stress associated with car buying.
  • Provides guidance and advice on vehicle selection, financing, and trade-ins.


  • This may involve additional fees or commission charges for the concierge service.
  • You are limited to the expertise and network of the assigned car-buying specialist.
  • Requires clear communication and trust between the customer and the specialist.
  • They may have limited availability or service coverage in specific locations.

Auto Brokerage Services

Auto brokerage services act as intermediaries between customers and car dealerships, leveraging their industry knowledge and network to find the best deals for their clients.

These services locate desired vehicles, handle the negotiation, and assist with paperwork.


  • Utilizes the expertise and network of auto brokers to find the best deals.
  • Saves time and effort by handling negotiations and paperwork.
  • Offers access to a broader range of vehicles through dealer networks.
  • Can provide guidance and advice based on market trends and vehicle specifications.


  • They may charge a fee or commission for their brokerage service.
  • It is limited to the availability and inventory of partnered dealerships.
  • Communication and trust are essential for effective collaboration.
  • Some customers may prefer a more hands-on involvement in the buying process.

Manufacturer Car Buying Programs

Many car manufacturers have car buying programs to streamline their brand-specific vehicle purchasing process.

These programs often provide exclusive discounts, incentives, and benefits for customers who buy directly from the manufacturer.


  • Offers exclusive discounts, incentives, and benefits for brand-specific vehicles.
  • Streamlines the buying process by eliminating the need to negotiate with dealerships.
  • Provides access to manufacturer-backed warranties and after-sales support.
  • It may include additional perks such as maintenance plans or unique financing options.


  • Limited to the specific brand or manufacturer.
  • It may not always offer the best prices compared to other car buying options.
  • The availability of specific models or trims can vary.
  • Customers may still need to visit a dealership for test drives or vehicle delivery.

Car Buying Clubs and Discount Programs

Car-buying clubs are organizations that leverage the collective purchasing power of their members to negotiate discounted prices with car dealerships.

These clubs typically charge a membership fee and offer various services and benefits to their members, including access to pre-negotiated pricing, dedicated representatives, and assistance throughout the car-buying process.


  • Exclusive access to discounted pricing and special offers.
  • Negotiated deals can result in significant savings.
  • Dedicated representatives provide personalized assistance and guidance.
  • Additional services like vehicle inspections, financing options, and extended warranties may be available.


  • Membership fees can add to the overall cost of purchasing a vehicle.
  • You are limited to the dealerships and brands affiliated with the car-buying club.
  • Some clubs may require specific eligibility criteria or affiliation with certain organizations.
  • Potential for limited geographical coverage and availability in certain areas.
Car prices are high but you can still find a great deal by using an online car buying service to get a free quote.

Pros of Using Car Buying Services

These services offer numerous benefits, such as saving time, leveraging expert negotiation skills, expanding vehicle options, and assisting with financing and paperwork.

Let’s explore these advantages in more detail.

Time-Saving Convenience

One of the primary advantages of using a car-buying service is its time-saving convenience.

Instead of spending hours researching and visiting multiple dealerships, a car-buying service can streamline the process by doing the legwork for you.

They have access to extensive databases and can quickly find the right vehicle that meets your preferences and budget.

Expertise and Negotiation Skills

Car buying services often employ experts with in-depth knowledge of the automotive industry.

These professionals can provide valuable guidance and advice throughout the buying process.

They are skilled negotiators who can help you secure a better deal than you might have.

Access to a Wider Range of Vehicles

You can access a broader selection of vehicles by utilizing a car-buying service.

These services typically have connections with multiple dealerships, increasing your chances of finding the perfect car with the desired features and specifications.

Assistance with Financing and Paperwork

Financing and paperwork can be complex aspects of car buying.

Car buying services often have partnerships with lenders and can assist you in securing favorable financing options.

They can also handle the paperwork involved in the purchase, ensuring that all necessary documents are correctly completed.

See what your vehicle is worth before contacting a car dealership.

Cons of Using Car Buying Services

While these services offer convenience, there are specific considerations to consider.

From costs and limited control to potential biases and the lack of hands-on vehicle inspection, understanding these cons will help you make an informed decision about utilizing car-buying services.

Let’s explore these challenges further.

Cost and Fees

While car-buying services offer convenience, they often come with a cost.

These services may charge a fee or receive a commission from the dealerships they work with.

Considering these expenses and evaluating whether the benefits outweigh the additional costs is essential.

Limited Control and Personalized Experience

Using a car-buying service means entrusting someone else with the responsibility of finding your ideal car.

While their expertise can be valuable, it also means relinquishing some control over the process.

Additionally, the personalized experience of visiting dealerships and test-driving cars may be diminished when using a car-buying service.

Potential Bias Towards Certain Dealerships or Brands

Car-buying services often establish partnerships or contracts with specific dealerships or brands.

This arrangement could introduce a potential bias toward recommending vehicles from those particular dealerships or brands.

Researching and ensuring that the service you choose maintains impartiality and prioritizes your best interests is essential.

Lack of Hands-On Vehicle Inspection

When purchasing a car through a car-buying service, you may not have the opportunity to inspect the vehicle in person before making a decision.

While these services often provide vehicle history reports and extensive descriptions, some people prefer the assurance of a physical inspection.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Car Buying Service

When evaluating car buying services, several factors should be taken into account:

  • Reputation and reviews from previous customers
  • Transparency regarding fees and potential conflicts of interest
  • Range of services offered, including financing assistance and post-purchase support
  • Level of personalization and communication provided

Consider these factors carefully to ensure the car-buying service meets your needs and preferences.

The best car-buying and car shopping tools available online.

FAQs: Answering Your Questions

Car buying services cater to both new and used car purchases. They can help you find the right vehicle regardless of its age.

While car-buying services can negotiate on your behalf, they cannot guarantee the lowest price. However, their expertise can often lead to significant savings.

Yes, many car-buying services offer assistance with trade-ins. They can help you evaluate the value of your current vehicle and handle the necessary paperwork.

The duration of the car buying process can vary depending on factors such as your preferences, the availability of the desired vehicle, and the specific service you choose. However, using a car-buying service generally speeds up the process compared to traditional methods.

While negotiation is a core aspect of car-buying services, the extent you can negotiate may vary. Discussing this with the service provider and understanding their negotiation approach is essential.

Final Thoughts on Car-Buying Services

In conclusion, car buying services can provide significant benefits, such as time-saving convenience, negotiation expertise, and access to a broader range of vehicles.

However, it’s essential to consider the associated costs, limitations, and personal preferences before deciding to utilize a car-buying service.

I recommend exploring online car-buying platforms for those seeking a more streamlined and efficient experience.

These platforms allow you to compare multiple dealer quotes, enabling you to secure the best price for a new car in your local area.

By leveraging the power of online platforms, you can conveniently access a vast selection of vehicles and make an informed decision based on competitive pricing.

Remember to thoroughly research and evaluate different car buying services, considering their reputation, customer reviews, and level of transparency.

Tailor your choice to align with your specific needs and preferences to ensure a satisfactory car buying experience.

Ultimately, whether you choose to use a car-buying service or prefer the traditional dealership route, the key is to make a well-informed decision that meets your requirements, budget, and desired level of involvement.

NOTE: If you decide to use a third-party car-buying service, I would also highly recommend you take the time to get a few free quotes through an online service such as Rydeshopper below to ensure the service you choose provides you with the best possible price.

Happy car shopping!

About the author
Carlton Wolf is the author and founder of Auto Cheat Sheet.My name is Carlton Wolf, and I’ve been in the car business since 1994, both retail and wholesale. I created the Auto Cheat Sheet to better educate buyers about the deceptive sales practices many dealerships use nationwide. Please understand that not all car dealers are dishonest. However, you never know who you’ll be dealing with, though. I’m willing to share my knowledge and experience with anyone who listens. Keep in mind that I’m a car guy, not a writer.