Ready to sell your Tesla but dreading the process? Online dealerships like Carvana are just a click away. Sell your Tesla to Carvana, and you won’t have to deal with people! Sort of, anyway.
But selling your Tesla to an online dealership has a hidden cost to you. Like most online dealerships, Carvana doesn’t specialize in Teslas. While Carvana’s business model can be incredibly beneficial to buyers looking for low-hassle alternatives to traditional car dealerships, Teslas aren’t traditional dealership cars. Your Tesla is full of features, software, and hardware that Carvana either won’t or can’t value.
Let’s take a look at five reasons why selling your Tesla to Carvana won’t give you the best return on your investment and what you can do instead.
Reason #1: They’re Probably Going to Low-Ball You
Online car dealerships have never been non-profit organizations. The “easy as 1-2-3” sale that Carvana promises comes at a cost.
How does Carvana make money selling your used Tesla? Currently, the used Tesla market is so strong that most Teslas are sold far above their KBB value. Carvana makes a fat profit margin on that sale when you accept their two minute, no-hassle offer online.
And why shouldn’t Carvana make a profit? They provide a valuable service. Carvana says they take care of the paperwork, pick up your Tesla, cut you a check, pay off your lien or lease, and so on.
In order to do all of this convenient work for you, Carvana is going to give you the bare minimum price you should expect for your Tesla. They base their offers on your Tesla’s KBB value with little consideration for how well (or poorly) KBB is reflecting the current used Tesla market.
Are you really willing to pay thousands of dollars to let someone else make a profit on your car? You could be getting that same extra cash in your wallet in a private sale. Carvana’s offer may look like a good deal, but in reality the sales value of a used Tesla is likely several thousand more than KBB or your quote from Carvana would suggest.
Need another reason that selling your Tesla to Carvana doesn’t make sense? Read on:
Reason #2: They Might Not Give You Credit for Tesla Software Like FSD or EAP
Here’s the deal: Carvana looks at your Tesla through a pair of lenses that filters out any software purchases you may have made for your Tesla. They don’t see Full Self Driving (FSD) or Enhanced Autopilot (EAP), and they certainly don’t place any value on which AP hardware configuration you’ve got.
Why wouldn’t Carvana look at your software? It has real-world value that you paid for!
Because they can’t sell it. Not guaranteed, anyway.
Tesla has reportedly stripped FSD, EAP, and other software and options from their vehicles when sold through a dealership. Based on what we’ve seen them do in the past, Tesla will likely continue to do so in the future.
Bottom line: Carvana won’t buy what they can’t sell, so they don’t factor in your Tesla’s software features when they calculate your quote.
Reason #3: They Probably Don’t Know What Rare Options on Your Tesla Are Worth
Similar to their blindness to software value, Carvana is often uninformed about rare Tesla options, features, and perks. While some of these are related to Carvana’s inability to pass on some perk or feature in their sales, most are features that have value to the Tesla community but go unnoticed by Carvana, such as:
- Rare or Discontinued Paint Colors: Tesla has gone through several paint color offerings through the years, and some of the rare and discontinued Tesla paints have extra value to Tesla enthusiasts.
- Founder’s and Signature Edition Vehicles: These Teslas are limited edition and command a higher price from collectors.
- Model S with Coil Suspension: While Tesla’s Smart Air and Adaptive Suspensions’ advanced features are worth every penny, the discontinued standard coil suspension shouldn’t be undervalued in the Model S. To the right buyer, a coil suspension is a plus thanks to its easier servicing and familiar handling than the current high-tech options on the Model S.
- Free Unlimited Supercharging: While only transferable in a private sale and only for certain years/models, Free Unlimited Supercharging provides real monetary value to the next owner of your Tesla.
If Carvana’s lack of familiarity with Tesla isn’t enough to convince you not to sell, you will want to consider the hassle factor in Carvana’s hassle-free approach:
Reason #4: There Are Quite a Few Steps Involved in Carvana’s Process
Carvana’s advertising jargon includes ‘Touchless’, ‘Hassle-free’, and ‘100% Online’, which are all great ideas but not always true in practice. You won’t be able to click buttons on the computer to sell or trade your Tesla to Carvana, though you will be able to get your non-negotiable offer that way.
What you will have to do looks more like this:
- Lots of time on the phone: You will be talking to Carvana representatives on the phone in order to sell your Tesla to them. Honestly, if you don’t have the most straightforward sales situation in car selling history, you’ll likely spend a significant amount of time talking to Carvana reps.
The worst part? If you have to call back or have a problem, you will be talking to a different representative each time you call, reiterating your problem or situation every time.
- Paperwork: Most of the paperwork from a private sale will still be necessary to sell a used Tesla to Carvana. You will need to get several documents ready and talk to your bank about processing any liens before Carvana will cut you a check
- Appointments: Carvana’s website might be ready to give you a quote in two minutes, but their sales team isn’t ready to buy your car on the spot. It takes more coordination and sometimes weeks to make an appointment depending on how busy they are.
- Scheduled pickup time: If you are lucky enough to be located in one of Carvana’s local market areas, they will come out to your home and pick up your Tesla when you set up an appointment to sell. However, if you aren’t in one of these areas, you are stuck having to take your car to an in-market area to finalize your sale. The meeting has to be coordinated with a Carvana representative, which means more talking.
Instead of waiting on an online dealership like Carvana to get around to making and keeping an appointment to pick up your Tesla, why not let an eager buyer do the logistics in a private sale?
Speaking of eager buyers, let’s take a look at the last reason you shouldn’t sell your Tesla to Carvana:
Reason #5: Selling to Carvana Hurts the Tesla Community
One of the largest factors driving used Tesla sales is the number of people still waiting to enter the Tesla community. Eager EV buyers are out there, and deals on a used Tesla are snapped up almost as quickly as they are listed. For Carvana, Tesla is currently a goldmine to be exploited, especially with newer Teslas like the Model 3 and Model Y.
Until Tesla is able to produce a more moderately-priced EV for the mass market, the entry point of the Tesla community remains high. When online dealerships like Carvana ensure that prices on used Teslas remain inflated, the community suffers.
The good news is that you can take advantage of market demand for Teslas while still helping the community and getting a better return on your investment. Best of all, you can still do all of it online.
The Best Alternative to Carvana for Selling Your Tesla: Find My Electric
Leverage the power of Tesla’s online market presence by listing your used Tesla for sale with Find My Electric! Unlike Carvana, we aren’t here to make you an offer on your Tesla. We just want to help you with the process. Here’s how:
- We Don’t Set Your Price; You Do: With our free or featured online listings, you command your own asking price and negotiate with your buyer as you see fit. On our end, we work to filter out bad actors and listing errors, letting you spend more time with the right prospective buyers.
- We Know Tesla Features: Since we only list used Teslas, we built our entire online marketplace around Tesla options and features. If you need some assistance in valuing your Tesla, we’re happy to help you figure out how to include your software and features into your asking price. Feel free to reach out!
- We Put Your Listing In Front Of the Right People: Our team works behind the scenes to get your listing in front of the same buyers who are searching for Tesla deals on Carvana. Even better, we have our roots in the Tesla community, sharing our marketplace with people who understand the value of Tesla features like EAP or Free Unlimited Supercharging.
Ready to cut out the middleman and get more for your Tesla? Click here to get your Tesla live in front of thousands of eager buyers in minutes!