The Insider's Guide to Car Buying ☰ 

How Online Car Price Quote Sites Work

Cars sitting on the lot ready to be sold.

Some people are still weary to use an online new car price quote service because they don't understand how they work. Even though it's the best way to get the lowest price and avoid the back and forth with frontline car salespeople, they're still unsure on how the process works and what happens to their information when they give it to one of these companies.

The use of these companies is increasing more and more as car buyers understand how valuable the information is that they provide.

Smart car buyers have been requesting new car price quotes through these companies for well over a decade to receive large internet volume discounts. The entire process can be done from your Smartphone, tablet, or iPad in the privacy of your own home.

The use of these companies is increasing more and more as car buyers understand how easy it is to find dealer holdback amounts and new car factory invoice prices. valuable the information is they provide.

This section will answer some of the most common questions I receive about price quote companies and will give you a better understanding on how they work.

How Online New Car Price Quote Services Work

I receive a lot of questions regarding online new car price quote services like Car Clearance Deals, CarsDirect, CarsDirect and MotorTrend.

The most common questions directed to me are:

  • Are these online companies trustworthy?
  • Is my information safe and secure?
  • How do these companies make money if their new car quotes are free?
  • How do these new car price quote companies work?
  • Where do they get their new car price information?
  • What happens to my information once submitted?

I've decided to answer these questions so car buyers, like yourself, understand and see the true value of these free online services and the powerful information they provide.

Understanding how these companies work will allow you to take advantage of one of the best ways to get the lowest price on your next new car, truck, minivan, or SUV. Starting an online new car price bidding war between car dealers is the best way to pay the best price before ever stepping foot inside a car dealership.

How Did Price Quote Services Originate?

The most popular services started out as automotive research and review websites well over a decade ago. These online companies emerged to help consumers make good car buying decisions before purchasing a new car.

These online companies started popping up on the internet as early as 1995. Today, some of these websites get well over 6 million visitors a month. As these companies evolved over time, they started offering consumers free new car price quotes to the visitors doing research on their websites.

CAUTION - There are several scammers sending out mass emails with the promise of providing you with free new car quotes. These tricksters have set up very professional looking websites and will sell your private information, including your email address and you will not receive anything. So, please use caution when interacting with these types of emails. has referred thousands of readers to trusted online companies such as Car Clearance Deals, Edmunds, MotorTrend and CarsDirect. After researching many price quote companies online, these are the best of the best when it comes to providing you with the correct information and lowest new car price quotes online.

Read my car buying website reviews of the best online new car price quote services to see why recommends these services over others to provide you with the best information when researching, and buying your next new car, truck, minivan, or SUV.

How Free Quote Services Make Money?

When these companies first started offering free new car price quotes to car buyers online. They would sell the lead to a dealership close to where the lead originated from. Leads were commonly sold individually and the dealer would have to pay upfront. Some leads were good and some bad, it was the dealer's responsibility to close the deal.

Personally, I remember when these online companies first started approaching dealers to sell their leads. Some of these companies sold their leads for as high as $24.95/lead or more. We would buy a hundred at a time and only sell maybe four cars at the most (it more than paid for the cost of the leads). Some closed minded dealers didn't believe these "internet companies" would last long and avoided them like the plague.

Today, after years of streamlining, most car dealerships sign up with these companies on a contract. Usually a flat fee anywhere from $500 to $2,000 paid on a monthly basis. The internet has changed the way people shop for cars and dealer's understand this. There are very few new car dealerships in the Nation not signed up with at least a couple of these online companies at any given time.

Is Your Information Safe and Secure?

You do not have to worry about your personal information with the online price quote services we recommend. These companies, as do I, take your trust and privacy very serious and have the latest industry standard encryption. They will also never sell your personal information to outside third parties or send you unsolicited emails.

When you visit a website such as Car Clearance Deals, Edmunds, MotorTrend and CarsDirect. Your asked to select the year, make, and model of the car you're interested in. You are then asked to select the color and options. You will now be asked to enter some basic information about yourself, some will ask for your preferred contact method.

Once you've entered the above information, your request will be sent to the trusted dealer members in the company's network that carries the specific vehicle you're inquiring about. By dealing directly with the internet department, you'll not have to worry about the pushy frontline car salesman waiting to pounce on you when you turn into a dealer's lot.

Use this handy Car Payment Calculator to estimate the payment on any vehicle.

When your request is received by the internet department, an internet manager will review your request and determine a price to quote you on the vehicle you've inquired about. The internet manager is very well educated on how people research, shop, and buy cars over the internet. He also knows you're most likely going to receive several free quotes from other dealers in the area and he must discount his new car to be competitive.

After determining the price, someone in the department will send you the new car price quote. This process can be immediate or take up to 72 hours depending on how busy the car dealership is, and when you sent in the request.

Other Facts About New Car Price Quote Services

  • These services provide an absolutely 100% free, no-obligation service to you.
  • Your private information is safe and the services I recommend will never sell or send you unsolicited emails.
  • Price quotes do not come from the online automotive service itself. They come from local dealerships in their dealer member network.
  • These sites use industry standard encryption to keep your private information secure.
  • You're absolutely under no-obligation to purchase anything at anytime.
  • Dealers sending the free quotes have paid the online automotive service for the opportunity to receive local area leads.
  • On certain cars you may get only a minimal discount or no discount at all depending on the vehicle's demand and popularity.
  • You can only get one price quote at a time. You must fill out a separate quote to get more than one car's price.
  • Always confirm the price quote you receive is on the specific car you requested.
  • The lowest price quote you receive may not be the cheapest price the dealer will sell the car for.
  • A dealer may attempt to contact you by phone. Politely tell them at this time you prefer to do business by email.
  • Online price quote services have huge networks of car dealerships across the Nation.
  • A dealer may try and up-sell you products when arriving at the dealership to make up for lost profit on the quote.
  • You may receive only one or two quotes from a single online automotive quote service or you may receive several.
  • The more quotes you request, the more discounts you'll receive. Remember - You're in control!

How to Use Online Price Quotes to Your Advantage

Compare the quotes you receive to the fair profit new car offer you calculated to make sure your getting a good deal.

There is no rule that you have to buy the car from the dealer that sent you the lowest quote or even at the price they offered you. You can go for a bigger discount by using your best quote to negotiate a better deal with a different dealer.

To learn about different techniques on how to get an even deeper discount when buying your next new car or truck, read my section on how to negotiate with car dealerships online.

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Did You Know?

Ten years ago, a person would visit an average of 5 different dealerships before buying a new car. That number is down to about 1.5 visits today with most people doing their research online.

Using the power of the internet, 95% of the entire car buying process can be done online saving yourself valuable time and money.

By using free online price referral companies to your advantage, you can make dealers compete in a new car price bidding war to guarantee you pay the lowest price.

How to Get the Best Price

Have local car dealers compete for your business. Start an online bidding war between dealers from the comfort of your computer.

Get local dealers to compete for your business by requesting free, no-obligation price quotes from the following online companies.

Best Car Pricing
Car Clearance Deals

Competition between dealers is the best way to ensure you get the best price. You win when dealers compete!