Cars and Bids vs PrivateAuto for Car Auctions
Here’s how PrivateAuto and Cars and Bids compare for private-party car auctions.
Cars and Bids
4.5% (buyers only).
$325 (buyer and seller combined)
No innovation. Connects buyer and seller and leaves them to navigate the transaction on their own.
A complete technology stack to facilitate every phase of the deal.
Slow. Takes several days to get your listing live.
Fast. Your listing can be live almost immediately.
Difficult to navigate.
Intuitive to navigate
Communication with buyers
Clunky, exposes contact info.
Securely handled via the PrivateAuto app; keeps your personal info private.
Yes. You can choose to deal with verified buyers only.
Yes. Weed out tire-kickers by dealing with buyers whose funds are verified.
Is the auction binding?
No. The winning bidder has right of first refusal.
Seller can enforce immediate follow-through or the winning bid is negated.
No support. Buyer and seller handle payment off-platform; all options are inconvenient, risky, slow, or expensive.
PrivateAuto Pay allows you to receive any amount of money, instantly, with no transfer fees. Like Venmo—for high-dollar transactions.
Encourage you to use a third-party escrow service (inconvenient and expensive).
Self-administered escrow-like safeguards baked into the workflow.
Electronically sign the bill of sale in the PrivateAuto app.
Book car shipping by contacting them during limited work hours or by e-mail.
Book car shipping within the PrivateAuto app.
Schedule an inspection from a mechanic for $199.
Schedule an inspection from a qualified mechanic within the PrivateAuto app.
None: buyer must coordinate between multiple parties.
Get insurance, car shipping, a warranty, an inspection, or financing within the PrivateAuto app.
What is a Self-Serve Auction?
PrivateAuto is a technology stack that empowers you to conduct your own auction. Our transactional tools take you through the entire process, from creating a listing to getting paid for your car by the winning bidder.
Is Cars and Bids a Self-Serve Auction?
When listing a vehicle on Cars and Bids, the seller creates the listing, then waits for approval from Cars and Bids. Humans will vet the listing and help the seller establish a reserve (if applicable). This takes several days.
Cars and Bids is not a fully self-serve auction format, whereas PrivateAuto is.
Which Auction Site is Cheaper?
Cars and Bids
Costs to seller
$25 listing fee, $150 closing fee (due only when the car sells).
Costs to buyer
4.5% of the winning bid amount ($225 minimum; $4,500 maximum).
$150 closing fee.
Why should a seller account for buyer costs when comparing prices for the two platforms? To answer that, put yourself in the winning bidder’s shoes.
As the buyer, you are willing to spend $70,000 total to buy that classic car, buyer’s fee included. On Cars and Bids, you know you’ll end up paying a 4.5% buyer’s fee, which means your highest bid is in the ballpark of $66K.
On PrivateAuto, you’ll only pay $150, so you can afford to bid almost up to your $70K budget.
In either scenario, the buyer is out of pocket $70K. With PrivateAuto, the seller takes home nearly $70K. With Cars and Bids, the seller takes home around four thousand dollars less.
That’s how buyer’s fees cost the seller money. And that’s why PrivateAuto is a better deal for buyers and sellers alike.
Which Auction Site Is Easier to Navigate?
Cars and Bids, like all our competitors, run on a combination of legacy technology and human intervention. This means that it has little in the way of transactionality. Listings are glorified blog posts—web pages with text and images—and don’t offer any functionality beyond allowing a buyer and a seller to find each other.
PrivateAuto, in contrast, enables every stage of the deal.
On Cars and Bids, the buyer and seller are left to their own devices to communicate, meet up, handle documentation, and figure out how to transfer funds (spoiler alert: outside of PrivateAuto Pay, all options are bad).
Which Platform is More Secure?
Which Website Is Safer For Payments?
Cars and Bids does not support payments. The buyer and seller need to navigate the transfer of funds on their own. Here are their options:
Outside of PrivateAuto Pay, payment options are slow, risky, inconvenient, expensive—or all of the above.
Which Site Has Integrated Services?
We’ve partnered with reputable providers for the following services, all of which can be accessed through your PrivateAuto dashboard:
The integration of these services allows you to avoid awkward coordination between multiple parties. Just order an inspection, car shipping, or other services, and watch it seamlessly happen as part of your PrivateAuto dealflow.
Do I Need an Escrow Service to Auction My Car?
When you use PrivateAuto, we give you escrow-like control and protection. Unlike an escrow service, PrivateAuto Pay is free and instantaneous.
With PrivateAuto Pay, you act as your own escrow agent. Here’s how PrivateAuto Pay protects you in a PrivateAuto auction:
1. Buyer and seller each link their banking institution to their PrivateAuto Pay account. The buyer funds their PrivateAuto Pay account and the funds are verified to the seller.
2. The buyer wins the auction and the PrivateAuto app takes the buyer and seller through a series of confirmations and asks each to electronically sign the official bill of sale.
3. The PrivateAuto app confirms to each party that the other party has signed the bill of sale. At this point, the buyer is safe to transfer the money since the seller is bound by a legal agreement to deliver the vehicle.
4. The app prompts the buyer to release funds and the buyer initiates payment.
5. The seller instantly gets confirmation that funds have appeared in their PrivateAuto Pay account. This works on nights, weekends, holidays, or anytime.
6. The seller signs over the title and delivers the keys to the buyer.
No cost, no hassle, no wasting time. It’s the ultimate way to handle a private-party car sale. Using PrivateAuto Pay, a buyer can even buy a car remotely and have it shipped to their doorstep!
Which Vehicles Are Good For An Auction?
Here are some car categories that may do better via an auction than a standard listing:
If your car is unique in any way, consider auctioning it on PrivateAuto. If your car is a mass-produced car, you may be better off listing it in a standard sale.