Chris Schellenberger is looking to shake up the auto resale industry.
The Blackfalds resident is poised to launch Reverse Dealer — a business that will offer buyers and sellers of used vehicles a hybrid between dealerships and private sales. The result will be extra money in the pockets of both parties, he said.
“If you go to a dealership, you are losing $4,000 to $5,000 every single time you trade in a vehicle,” said Schellenberger, who spent eight years working in the auto sales industry, including as director of pre-owned operations for a local dealership group.
That’s because commission-based dealerships have an incentive to buy low and sell high, he said. Reverse Dealer charges $500 per sale for vehicles consigned to it, regardless of their selling price.
The business is also shunning traditional sales lots in favour of a canopy tent, which will be set up at local car washes. Prospective sellers can bring their vehicles in for a free car wash and market-based appraisal, with Schellenberger then able to take photos and post these with a professional ad on the Reverse Dealer website.
“I’m not going to post anyone’s car if they’re asking too much money, because my program tells me what a fair price would be and I make sure I’m in the top five (comparable) vehicles.”
Potential buyers will be able to view the website listings, including market information. Schellenberger will deliver vehicles for test drives, and otherwise act as the go-between.
“I will show, sell, finance, offer extended warranty — do everything for the public.”
Reverse Dealer’s $500 fee is tacked onto the purchase price, with the seller’s only cost the approximately $130 required for a mandatory MVIC (Motor Vehicle Inspection Certificate) check.
“You can get an extended warranty, just like at a dealership,” he said, adding that life and disability insurance will also be available.
Schellenberger has arranged to set up shop at Big Dogs Truck & Car Wash at 6670 71st St., and expects to begin operating there by the middle of next week. He’s also looking at other car wash locations, with hopes of quickly expanding his vehicle database.
“My goal is to get every single vehicle out there on my site and just have the biggest online dealership that you can have.”
Twenty-five dollars from every sale will go into a fund for a charity chosen by customers. Ultimately, Schellenberger would like to set up separate Reverse Dealer operations in other cities in Canada and the United States. He’s not aware of a similar concept being used elsewhere, except in connection with existing dealerships.
“No one has changed the concept of the actual dealership.”
Reverse Dealer’s location and hours of operation will be posted on Twitter and Facebook. The business’s website is at www.reversedealer.com.