Outdoor businesses will be some of the first to open once the Coronavirus pandemic has passed.
Preliminary laboratory evidence suggests that the spread of COVID-19 may ebb during the warmer months. Although nothing is guaranteed, these initial test results are hopeful. This could result in the country going back to normal sooner than later once summer arrives. Since most auto auctions take place outside, it can be a win for buyers looking for a really good deal.
When will auto auctions return?
Some states have already started lifting stay at home restrictions. Many of these businesses must adapt to new health guidelines, such as masks for employees and social distancing. Many places, such as golf courses and public parks and beaches are operating under restricted hours. The good news is that outdoor businesses, such as auto auctions, that allow for social distancing will be back on line sooner than other businesses.
Are auto auctions essential businesses?
Exactly what is an essential business is a matter of debate. The Trump administration has deemed automotive service essential, but whether or not vehicle sales are essential might differ by state or community. Obviously, personal automobiles are needed to get Americans to work, healthcare and food supplies. Social distancing on public transportation is not an option, so having access to a vehicle is one of the only ways to insure that an individual gets the essentials they need.
Are auto auctions safe during a pandemic?
Some auto auctions are doing online only sales until the stay at home restrictions are lifted. However, it is not recommended to buy a car sight unseen. Once they open, auction houses will still need to follow CDC’s guidelines and social distancing protocols. You may be required to wear a mask and keep six feet away from other bidders. The good news is that these auctions are likely to be lightly attended when they first open up, as people will be cautious. This could be your opportunity to get the best possible deals while remaining safe.
What opportunities do auto auctions present for dealers and flippers?
Car auctions are often organized by insurance companies to sell used cars that have been repossessed or were slightly damaged in an accident. Often, dealers will sell cars at auction that run perfectly but have been sitting on the lot for a particular length of time. If you know what you are looking for you can usually get a really good car at a great price. Plus, if you can fix the car on your own, you can save a lot of money on any repairs that might need to get done.
How to get into the game
If you have never purchased a car at auction before, this could be the perfect time. Keep in mind, many car auctions are only open to car dealers and require a dealer license to participate. Getting a license is a complicated process and differs from state to state, so if you are just getting started, it might be better to find an auction that does not require a license. A quick Google search will show auto auctions in your state and all over the country that are open to the public.
The biggest key when you are a newcomer is doing your homework! Get there early and register. You will need to provide proof that you have the money to buy a car. You’ll need a bank statement or a credit card, and expect to sign a contract. Remember that you will be paying an auction fee on top of the winning bid price. It will be your responsibility to get the vehicle off the lot once you win so make sure you have a secondary driver or tow truck available, depending on if the car runs or not.
Make sure you examine each car personally before bidding. Test drive the car if you are allowed. Bring someone with you with car knowledge, and knows how much repairs will cost. Remember, most of the cars will be in need of repairs or cosmetic work and that is an additional cost if you plan to flip the car. Check with Kelly Blue Book to help determine the value of the car. Also, make sure you get a Carfax on the vehicle, if possible, so you know the car’s history. Don’t forget to bring your paint meter to make sure it hasn’t been in an undisclosed accident!
Don’t get caught up in the excitement and pay more than the car is worth! It might be better to go to an auction or two to just watch, so you can learn how the process works. It can be fun, exciting, and lucrative if you know what you are doing. Good luck!