The Getaround guide to buying and selling cars

Sep 1, 2022 8 min read

Whether you’re starting a single-car side hustle or you have visions of managing a full fleet on Getaround, one of your goals should be to maximize the return on your investment. Car ownership, of course, is the largest overhead cost associated with any carsharing business. Buying vehicles at the right price ⁠— and getting the most of out them upon resale ⁠— is a crucial way to maximize profit on your carsharing journey.

Just starting out? Learn more about starting your own carsharing business on Getaround – no experience necessary!

There are a few keys to keep in mind when you begin exploring the market for potential cars. After you’ve settled on a budget cap (which should incorporate the cost of insurance), you may want to include vehicles marked slightly above that number in your search, with the expectation of negotiating the price down to your range.

For those planning to share your new ride on Getaround, you’ll want to ensure the car is eligible. Familiarize yourself with our criteria, and keep in mind a few basic requirements when filtering listings online:

Getaround cars must have a model year from within the last 15 years, though vehicles from the last five model years are the highest performers on the platform and are more often eligible for our best incentives.

  • If a car is 10 years or older, it will need an inspection done at on-boarding as well as yearly to maintain eligibility.
  • Cars shared full-time on Getaround last about 3-5 years on the platform, after which owners typically sell them to invest in newer, more lightly used vehicles to share. With this in mind, it is best to search for cars from the previous 5-10 model years, as older vehicles aren’t booked as often.

All vehicles must have less than 200,000 miles on the odometer. If 125k-200k miles, an inspection is needed at onboarding as well as yearly to maintain eligibility.

Cars must have power door locks installed in the front driver’s side and front passenger-side doors.

Refining your search based on brand reliability could also save you money over the long term. The latest J.D. Power vehicle dependability study was released in February 2022, and some of the results may surprise you! Download the full report here.

Finally, keep an eye toward vehicles that are appropriate for the region and your market. For example, cars with all wheel drive and lots of cargo room may be more useful for guests in Denver who want to day trip to the mountains, while convertibles will have more year-round demand in Miami than in Pittsburgh.

Browse the best

In addition to shopping around your local sale lots and newspaper ads, consider the following respected online car buying and selling marketplaces:

  • Autotrader and Sellers on these sites pay to list their vehicles, which more effectively keeps out scammers. Two of the largest online marketplaces, Autotrader and have huge selections and impressive search filtering functionality.
  • Vroom and Carvana: If you want to avoid the hassle of negotiation, Vroom and Carvana are for you. In addition to offering no-hassle pricing, these online marketplaces have frequently updated inventory, gap insurance on financing, and can deliver cars quickly and directly to you.
  • Craigslist: On Craigslist, you’re likely to find a selection of cars that skew toward the mid- and low-end, so there is potential for value finds. However, because it is free to list on Craigslist, the likelihood of scammers is higher than other sites.

Pinpoint the true value

Understanding a car’s worth on the open market is crucial to finding good deals in your search. Use trusted sites such as Kelley Blue Book, TrueCar, and Edmunds Appraisals to get a feel for the actual value of cars you're considering based on recent sales.

Get a vehicle history report

A vehicle history report can provide illuminating details about a car’s condition that may not be included in the listing. Before contacting the seller with questions, write down the vehicle identification number (VIN) for the car you’re considering and download a history report online. Both CARFAX and AutoCheck are reliable resources for this.

Contact the seller

When buying a used car from a third party, it’s important to contact the seller and respectfully verify the information from the listing is correct. With the car’s history report on-hand, you may also want to confirm a few things with them:

  • The car’s ownership history and if they have records of service on-hand.
  • Ask if the seller will allow you to have the car inspected by a mechanic prior to purchase.

Double-check the seller has the car’s title and determine its distinction:

  • Cars with clear title have no financial liens or levies from creditors that could prevent the car from being sold.
  • Often confused with a clear title, a car with a clean title is one that has not had significant or major damage and has never been deemed a total loss. Note this does not mean the vehicle has never been involved in an accident.
  • A branded title means that the car was once declared a total loss or comes with some other major problem. Title branding is assigned by state agencies (not private companies), are tied to an individual Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and they do last for the car’s lifetime. So, even if the car is repaired to perfection, and all evidence of the previous accident is “undone,” the branded title distinction will never be removed. (Getaround note: Rebranded, rebuilt, or salvage titles are not accepted on our platform.)

The beauty of carsharing: Occasionally a person selling a car remains a frequent user of the same vehicle after becoming a Getaround guest!

Test drive and inspect the car for yourself

At a minimum, all shared vehicles on Getaround must meet the standards outlined in our Safety Inspection checklist, so have that on hand when you’re on site with the vehicle. Beyond that, there are other quality and safety-related factors to consider:

  • Are the brakes effective and predictable?
  • Is the steering comfortable and accurate?
  • How is the visibility above the dash? Where are the blind spots around the vehicle, if any?
  • Does anything sound odd? You might not be a mechanic, but sometimes drivers can tell if something’s not right just by listening, i.e suspension issues or brake wear.
  • Are the seats comfortable? Will drivers and passengers have access to everything they need?

Knowing your car inside and out will make it easier for you to communicate with guests who have questions about the car.

Have the car professionally inspected

Finding a trustworthy local mechanic is helpful not only for the initial bumper-to-bumper inspection, it will also give you peace of mind during regular maintenance and when repairs come up down the line.

Tip: Pep Boys offers 120-point inspections for $129.99 plus a free CARFAX history report.

You can also complete a 19-point inspection on the spot using your smartphone camera. Rideshare Mechanic offers professional inspections via video chat, and the average inspection time is less than 15 minutes!

Choose how you’ll pay

If you have the cash on hand to complete the transaction, feel free to jump to the next section. For most buyers, financing is the best option, and there are a few ways to go about obtaining it for your purchase.

  • Some dealerships and online marketplaces offer financing directly to buyers. Vroom and Carvana, for example, each have financing options available.
  • Personal loans are available through banks and credit unions, including online lending sites such as LightStream and Bluevine. Be sure to shop around these institutions for the best interest rates and loan terms available!
  • If you plan to share the car on Getaround and have a business entity organized for that purpose, you may be able to obtain a small business loan from a bank or credit union.

Negotiate a fair price

The research you performed during your search will prepare you to confidently negotiate a fair price with the seller, priming you for profit month after month.

More tips when searching for a car to share on Getaround

Getaround ConnectⓇ compatibility: Most cars available for purchase in the United States are compatible with our proprietary Getaround ConnectⓇ hardware, though some luxury and foreign brands are not. If you're purchasing a car specifically to use for Getaround, check to ensure the make, model and year is compatible with ConnectⓇ.

Drive with Uber: If you plan to make your car available for our Drive with Uber program, we currently make the cars available through UberX and UberEats. At the moment, Getaround does not support any other Uber product such as Black, Comfort or XL.

While subcompact models are great for traditional carsharing, they are less desirable for those who want to drive for UberX and UberEats. Consider full-size four-door sedans, hatchbacks, and crossovers with ample cabin space if you plan to make your car available to Drive with Uber users.

High-mileage maintenance: While high-mileage cars can be great cars for sharing on Getaround, they often require more skill (and resources) to maintain. Keep this cost variability in mind when considering cars with more than 75,000 miles on the odometer.

Cost of insurance: When defining your budget cap, be sure to consider the monthly cost of insurance. Getaround hosts not only need to insure vehicles to comply with state laws and registration requirements, but also to ensure they are covered for off-platform trips.

Personal vehicle inspections: Once you own your car, budget some time weekly to inspect and maintain the vehicle yourself. Consistent check-ups not only help provide quality experiences for your guests, but this practice could save you big money over the long term.

Ready to sell? Here’s how to list and market your car

Car owners who share their vehicles full-time on Getaround typically sell their vehicles after 3-5 years, with the intention of reinvesting in a newer car to share on the platform. Whatever your reasons for deciding to sell your car, it’s never been easier to list and sell your car quickly.

Selling your car online: If you browsed our links above, you may have noticed sites like Vroom and Carvana offer smooth options for sellers to list their vehicles for sale. A few sites make the process as seamless as possible, with at-home pick-ups and instant purchases.

If you decide to list your car on one of these marketplaces, remember the following:

  • Take good photos of the exterior and interior of the vehicle, including any cosmetic flaws in the description. For high-dollar cars, it may be worth hiring a professional photographer.
  • Document the car’s history and condition, including the aforementioned cosmetic issues as well as parts replacements or major damages over the years.
  • Include the VIN number, make, model, mileage on the odometer, color etc. Provide prospective buyers as much information about the vehicle as you can.

If you think like a buyer, your listing will include all the information you sought during your own car search.

After selling your car online: Once your car has moved to its new owner, there are still a few loose ends to tie up with the process. Contact your insurance provider and have the car removed from your plan, cancel any third-party or extended warranties you have covering the vehicle, and alert your state’s motor vehicle registry of the sale.

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