If you haven’t already heard, Shift is an online dealership that’s willing to buy and sell used Teslas. Not only are they willing, but they want to assure you that selling a used Tesla with Shift is easy and fast.
Thinking about selling your Tesla online and wondering how Shift.com compares to other instant offer dealerships out there? We’re here to demystify Shift’s process and show you why you should probably stay away from this Carvana competitor when selling a used Tesla (and what you can do instead!).
Selling a Tesla to Shift: How Does it Work?
Much like its other online siblings (CarMax, Carvana, and Vroom), Shift tries to focus on an online sales pitch to get you interested in selling your used Tesla in a hurry.
They’ve developed a basic algorithm that feeds on “thousands of data points” to help make a determination on the value of your Tesla. Given a VIN and some details like mileage and color, the algorithm spits out an estimate.
Congrats, you have a starting value for your Tesla! Well, what it’s worth to Shift, anyway.
Next, Shift has you set up an appointment with their employees to look at your Tesla more closely. Typically, this allows them to deduct value from their estimate for items that may need repair. After all is said and done, you’d get a final offer and sign over your Tesla. However, after you send off your car and title to Shift, they still have one more inspection to do before actually finalizing your amount and sending you a check or deposit.
Is Shift a good deal for Tesla owners? While we’re sure you can already see a few of the issues Shift’s convenience factor has (especially that nail-biting moment where you hand over your title before getting assurance of a final sale amount), there are some extended problems with the process that affect used Tesla owners which may not be as obvious.
Ready for the list of reasons why Shift doesn’t make sense when it comes to selling your Tesla? Here we go!
Reason #1: Shift has Limited Experience with Tesla Costs and Tech
We’d like to think that a company with its beginnings in the same state as Tesla would be more knowledgeable about these amazing vehicles. But is Shift a good deal when you’re selling a used Tesla? Unfortunately, Shift’s shortcomings are the same as many other online dealerships where it counts: poor knowledge of Tesla technology and options.
While we have seen a few hints that somebody at Shift has been studying Tesla features (or at least wrote down what a private seller told them about their Tesla’s options; we found a mention of Obeche Wood in a 2013 Model S, wow!), there’s a lot to be desired in their process. Shift seems confused about whether or not a Tesla sunroof is actually a Panoramic Sunroof or an All Glass Roof, and they certainly aren’t clear on transferable Free Unlimited Supercharging or Full Self-Driving.
When it comes to Teslas, knowledge is key. And if Shift can’t tell the difference between AP Hardware 2.0 and 3.0, they haven’t studied hard enough to get you a fair price for your used Tesla.
Reason #2: They Don’t like Older Used Teslas or Aftermarket Mods
Does shift buy Tesla Roadsters? Sorry, Roadster owners, Shift thinks you’re out of date (and probably just too awesome for them to sell).
Even though Tesla is relatively new on the car manufacturing scene, some of Tesla’s early vehicles are past the ten year mark. Others are just out of their original manufacturing warranty. Shift doesn’t make the age acceptance policy for Teslas clear until after you try to submit your info for a quote, but they don’t seem to be interested past 2013.
What about aftermarket mods? Got a full set of Volsteiner Aero mods on your Tesla Model 3? Unfortunately, Shift doesn’t share your taste. If your used Tesla has aftermarket modifications, these aren’t a plus in Shift’s eyes. They’ll even go so far as to refuse you a quote based on how little their algorithm regards all your extra time and money.
Age (too old or too new), “luxury car” status, and extensive aftermarket modifications are all reasons that Shift will give in order to refuse a quote for your car, and it’s pretty clear that they are mostly interested in stock condition, “middle aged” cars with a fast turnover rate.
Reason #3: Shift’s Hassle Factor
Despite the “no haggling” and “fast quote” approach that Shift advertises, there are some big hoops to jump through. The first is the in-person interview, which Shift claims will take about an hour. That doesn’t take into account time spent setting up the physical appointment and reviewing paperwork beforehand, as well as any extra communications you will have with an “Advisor” before you meet the “Concierge”.
The next hassle we’d like to point out is a common one for the other online dealerships we’ve reviewed: the offer they give is non-negotiable—but only on your end. Shift can dock any amount from their original estimate during the Concierge inspection, and can go even lower during the in-house final inspection. You don’t get to argue.
Reason #4: They Have a Limited Area of Operation
Shift has barely made it out into the real world marketplace, and they only serve a select number of cities, most currently in the western half of the US. Selling to Shift requires that you live really close to one of their physical locations for their claimed full customer service convenience factor to pan out.
Otherwise, you’re in for a drive, but only if Shift wants to deal with you at all. Shift’s details for a possible out-of-service-area sale are limited; for one thing, the online quote estimator often won’t generate a quote for your Tesla and you’ll have to call to see what they’ll offer (or if a sale is even possible).
Bonus Reason to Avoid Shift:
This point comes mostly from the buyer’s side of using Shift, but Shift’s online interface is headache-inducing and difficult to navigate. We’re biased, of course, but we think that intuitive site navigation, well-presented vehicle info, and useful filtering is just good business practice.
Plus, when we want to look at Teslas, we filter for Teslas. We don’t want to see them next to an F-150 or a Prius. Shift wants you to look at as many potential cars as possible, regardless of what filters you apply. It’s a bit insulting to be offered a gas guzzler when you want to focus on the best electric vehicles on the market.
The Best Alternative to Shift: Get an Instant Offer on Find My Electric!
While we can say with confidence that listing your Tesla for private sale gets you the highest return possible, we know that meeting strangers from the internet and figuring out all the ownership transfer paperwork yourself can be intimidating. That’s why we want to offer you what Shift and others like them can’t: a fast connection to a dealership network that really does know what your Tesla is worth!
At Find My Electric, we have the utmost respect for Tesla’s tech and vision. That’s why we have vetted and verified each of our dealership partners before asking them to join our Instant Cash Offer network.
Here are three reasons why we know our dealership network can out-perform Shift:
1) Deep Knowledge of Tesla Tech, Options, and Popular Aftermarket Modifications
Our dealership partners check the knowledge boxes in all the right places; in fact, some are even former Tesla employees! They value your AP hardware, software, and special options (like that sweet Signature Red paint) as much as we Tesla enthusiasts do. These dealerships are also well informed on the value of popular aftermarket mods from Tesla-centric businesses like EVANNEX and TSportline.
2) Low-Hassle, with Virtual Inspections
While Shift still wants you to chat things up in person with their Concierge, our network of dealers does as much of the process online as possible. Even an inspection can be virtual, without the need for someone to walk into your driveway or for you to travel.
3) Available Across the US
Unlike Shift, we have connected with dealerships operating across the United States. No need to roadtrip all the way to Phoenix or Dallas from the other side of the country. Our dealers are often ready to arrange a pickup straight from your driveway.