Today’s informed car-buying consumers know exactly what vehicle they want, and they use multiple online resources to find that vehicle on a lot near them. As a dealer, you need to have the right inventory on your lot. But how do you know what inventory is the inventory your customers want, and what if those vehicles aren’t available at your local auction?

Most dealerships use inventory management systems (IMS) like DealerSocket’s Inventory+, vAuto’s Stockwave or one of the many other newcomers to the space. These software products use data to not only tell you what vehicles you need to stock, but also where to get them. Whether upstream online or at the physical auction, these systems help direct you to the cars and trucks you need to stock.

The thing is, a lot of the vehicles you need are not always going to be at your local auction. They may be 50, 80, 100 or more miles away. This is when buying online becomes a tool for volume and profitability! Although buying through online wholesale auctions is much more the norm these days, it still has its challenges for many buyers.

Transportation with Online Wholesale Auctions

One of the biggest issues I hear about when discussing buying online is transportation. But don’t let that stop you. Help is available to minimize the hassle and effort of setting up, tracking and paying for transportation when buying online!

When buying through ADESA LiveBlock, DealerBlock or DealerBlock Prime, take advantage of your local ADESA auction’s transportation department. Get to know the transport manager. It’s their job to find you the fastest, most economical way to get your vehicles home. Sure, you have a couple of contacts that you like to use, but they have many more.

More sources mean you have a better chance at faster delivery and lower costs. Take transportation off your plate and put it on theirs!

Buying outside your local market can make a real difference in your sourcing strategy. The wider the search area, the more matches you will be able to find. But even with the assistance of your local ADESA auction transportation manager, how far is too far away to buy?

I know dealers that only buy online, and most vehicles are purchased out of market. In fact, I know one dealer who averages over 200 online vehicle purchases per month! And his stores are very successful.

Online Wholesale Auction Best Practices

Since these examples are a proven record of success, let’s look at a partial list of best practices you can apply to buy vehicles out of market and keep your transportation costs and headaches at a minimum.

  • Start by setting the parameters of your IMS to search vehicles in a 500-mile radius of your local market. You can adjust the radius up or down after you get a better feel for transportation costs and options.
  • Search for matches through your IMS and look at the vehicles with a “buy now” price. Add the transportation cost (on ADESA.com there is a CarsArrive Network transport quote on the vehicle detail page) to that price and compare those totals to your system’s suggested acquisition cost.
  • Select the vehicles that work based on price, and drill down to the condition report, description and photos to confirm condition.
  • During checkout process, pick CarsArrive Network for transportation and let them do the work of getting your vehicles delivered in a timely, cost-effective manner.
    Note: You can set up and save transportation, payment options, post-sale inspections, ADESA Assurance and other options in the site preferences tab, which makes checkout much quicker. Do it once and never deal with it again!
  • Set up alerts with CarsArrive so you receive pickup conformation as well as other alerts you will find helpful.

This is only a small sample of the best transportation practices used by some of the most successful dealers in the country.

If you haven’t been able to stock your lot from your local auction, use these tips to start buying out of market to get the vehicles you need with low transport costs!