CarGurus vs PrivateAuto—Battle of the Marketplaces
What Is CarGurus?
What Is PrivateAuto?
Buyer / Transaction Fee
Mobile app (IOS and Android)
Vehicle History Report Included
Window Brochure w/ QR code
Chat w/out sharing contact information
Driver's License Verification
Verified Buyer Funds
Test Drive Scheduler
Bill of Sale - eSign (In App)
Proprietary Transaction Technology
Available In All States (U.S.A.)
Available Nights, Weekends, Holidays
Split Payment: PA Pay, Crypto, Cash
Buyer Financing (Direct Integration)
Up to 25K
Money Transfer Time
CarGurus vs PrivateAuto
On CarGurus, vehicle owners can get an instant offer on a used car, but that offer is via a third-party that aims to buy the car wholesale (pay as little as possible) and sell it to dealerships. Sellers who decline the “instant offer” feature can list their car on the CarGurus marketplace.
CarGurus has a low seller fee of just $4.95 but lacks some of the much-needed functionality PrivateAuto offers. For example: the ability to counteroffer, accept, or reject buyer offers; the ability to message with buyers without exchanging contact info; the ability to receive funds instantly, anytime, with no limits on amount; verified buyer funds—to name a few.
CarGurus for Buyers
Buyers are met with a lot of inventory on CarGurus, but that inventory is a mix of dealer and private-party cars, with dealer offerings making the lion’s share of cars for sale. On the left column of a listings page, users can scroll down to a filter feature for “Dealer,” “Authorized Dealer,” “CarGurus Partners,” and “Private.” All of these are initially enabled by default.
Private sellers often offer better value than dealers (who need to make their spread), but the private sales are diluted in a deluge of dealer and partner offerings.
On CarGurus, buyers lack the ability to interact directly with sellers, and lack the ability to send funds instantly, including on nights and weekends.
CarGurus for Both Buyers and Sellers
The CarGurus payment gateway, CarGurus Pay, offers a transaction medium for buyers to pay sellers. However, the service is only available in select states and has a transaction limit of $25,000.00. Where PrivateAuto Pay is instantaneous, CarGuru Pay funds take anywhere from one to three days to clear.
As a marketplace, CarGurus connects a seller to potential buyers, but doesn’t offer a lot of support for getting a transaction done. Buyer and seller need to exchange contact info—potentially making them vulnerable to scams—because the CarGurus platform lacks a native messaging feature.
CarGurus does not allow buyers to make offers and sellers to accept, reject, or make counteroffers; the platform also does not offer a feature for buyer and seller to schedule a test drive.
Sellers can easily create a listing for their vehicle, and can manage incoming offers via their listing dashboard, with the option to accept, reject, or make a counteroffer. They can chat with potential buyers via the in-app messaging feature without ever giving out their personal contact info.
With PrivateAuto’s ability to verify funds, sellers can stop dealing with buyers who can’t afford their car.
When they accept an offer, the PrivateAuto scheduler allows sellers to arrange a test drive with the buyer. At the time of the meeting, buyer and seller can conclude the entire transaction via the PrivateAuto mobile app, which allows for the following to occur:
PrivateAuto for Buyers
Buyers on PrivateAuto can place offers on vehicle listings and communicate with sellers. They can schedule with sellers for a test drive and can complete the entire transaction at the time of meeting—including sending unlimited funds instantaneously.
PrivateAuto also allows buyers to apply for vehicle financing within the app. If approved, the buyer’s status appears as “verified funds” to sellers.
PrivateAuto for Both Buyers and Sellers
Buyers and sellers alike benefit from the security of identity verification, in-app messaging, and instantaneous payments.
CarGurus vs PrivateAuto: Pricing
CarGurus vs PrivateAuto: Advertising
Vehicle history reports make it easier for buyers to trust that the state of your vehicle is as advertised. Therefore, if you’re looking to sell your vehicle quickly, you’re much more likely to find a buyer if you include a detailed vehicle history report in your car listing.
PrivateAuto also offers a window brochure with QR code so that sellers can drive offline traffic to their listing; CarGurus does not offer anything similar.
PrivateAuto vs CarGurus: Getting to the Deal
PrivateAuto also has a buyer financing option, but buyers don’t have to apply for a car loan before they find a vehicle they want to purchase. Rather, PrivateAuto allows a buyer to apply for financing at any point, including after making an offer on a vehicle.
CarGurus vs PrivateAuto: Payment Features
CarGurus Pay, the CarGurus banking integration, has a transaction limit of $25,000, so you won’t be able to sell or purchase a more expensive vehicle through this integration. Additionally, their transaction time is 1-3 days. This means that either the seller will need to trust the buyer to take the vehicle, trusting that the funds will come through—or the buyer will need to send the money to the seller and return for the vehicle after funds have cleared. All in all, terribly inconvenient for both parties.
With the speed and security of PrivateAuto Pay, PrivateAuto is the only private vehicle transaction platform that allows a seller and buyer to conclude the entire deal in a few minutes when they meet for a test drive.
CarGurus vs PrivateAuto: Fraud Prevention
PrivateAuto wins out in terms of fraud prevention, offering thorough identity verification via selfie, as well as driver’s license verification. You can choose to only sell to and buy from verified accounts.
Plus, PrivateAuto offers an in-app chatting option, so you don’t have to share personal information to communicate with buyers and sellers.
Choosing the Best Online Car Selling Platform
Best Platform for Sellers
Best Platform for Buyers
To maintain their safety, buyers can choose to only contact verified sellers and those with a detailed car history report (including repairs, maintenance, and accident history) on PrivateAuto.
With split payment options, instantaneous payments, and in-app financing, PrivateAuto’s payment options have no direct competition in the world of private car sales.
As neither company has buyer fees and PrivateAuto offers many more benefits than CarGurus, PrivateAuto wins on the buy side.
Selling Your Car Privately with PrivateAuto
1. Gather necessary documentation
You’ll need your vehicle title and other documentation. Have all the paperwork you need to sell your car privately handy, so you’re not scrambling to find it at the moment of completing a sale.
2. Register on PrivateAuto and get verified
To make PrivateAuto a safe place for everyone, we require email, phone, and driver’s license verification, including facial recognition. Get started here.
3. List your car
Easily create your PrivateAuto listing with our step-by-step guide. Bonus: we include a window brochure with a QR code scannable to your listing.
4. Set your terms
It’s your car, so you drive the deal! You can control where, when, and who you meet. Decide whether to accept only ID-verified buyers, or buyers with verified funds. Don’t waste your time with buyers who aren’t verified to your preference.
5. Vet incoming offers
Manage offers in one place with the ability to accept, reject, or counter offers within the app. Listing on multiple sites? Filter all communications through PrivateAuto by sharing your listing link on all platforms. Your personal info is protected: no more giving out your phone number or email address. All communication happens in our app.
6. Choose a buyer
When you find an offer you like, accept it and proceed to the next step with that buyer.
7. Schedule a meeting
The buyer will want to look at your car. No more back and forth texts. You never have to give out your phone number. Rather, use our handy scheduling feature to schedule test driving and coordinate a time and place for meeting. (Oh, and you’ll be able to finalize the transaction instantly at the first meeting, FYI.)
8. E-sign documents
After the buyer is satisfied with your car and the two of you have agreed on a purchase price, you can easily e-sign the Bill of Sale within our app, from your phone. With our shared documents feature, you can easily locate the paperwork needed after the sale.
9. Get paid, instantly
Before PrivateAuto, receiving funds was the most stressful part of the entire selling process, especially for any used car sale over $5,000. There just aren’t a lot of good ways to move large amounts of money quickly and conveniently. Those days are over! Verify and receive funds instantaneously with PrivateAuto Pay, our innovative banking integration. Guaranteed funds for transactions large and small.
10. Transfer title
When you sell your vehicle, fill out the necessary information on the back of the title transfer form and sign the vehicle title in order to transfer ownership of the vehicle to the new owner.