Trading in your car isn’t really a straightforward process. Take it to one dealer and you’ll get one quote, but another dealer can offer you 50 percent more. That’s not just due to shady used car salesmen though — there are practical reasons for the discrepancy, too.
For example, let’s say you’re upgrading to a Lexus. That Lexus dealer doesn’t want your old Carolla sitting on their lot, so they have to sell it to another dealer, creating more work. But if you can cut out the middleman, you can stand to make a lot more.
Swap Motors is a Chicago startup helping you do just that, for both the car seller and the dealer. When Sellers sign up, a Swap inspector comes out to asses the vehicle and take pictures, and then dealers can bid on the cars knowing that the details on Swap are vetted and accurate.
“Why not link the consumer to hundreds of these dealers so the consumer gets a better price and the small- to midsized dealers get a better price too?” said Alex Johnson, founder and CEO of Swap. “Everybody wins.”
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The company first launched in November, but was quickly overwhelmed with interest. After resetting and preparing for a larger volume of sales, Swap Motors relaunched in early 2017.
For now, the company is only offering sales in the Chicago area, since they need to have trained inspectors to send out to each car, but Johnson hopes to expand to other markets after working out the kinks in its home market.
“I’m excited to launch in this city,” Johnson said. “It’s a great place to launch some of the biggest tech industries coming up.”
Another potential area of expansion is outside of the car market. Boats, recreational vehicles and even construction equipment often suffer from the same pricing fluctuations that Swap Motors aims to solve. And Johnson, who is bootstrapping the company, would know, since he previously ran a commercial construction company that often dealt with struggles in getting good equipment prices.
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