Australians are only a short wait away from being able to order a luscious, cheese-crusted pizza online and have it hover to their doorstep via drone, so it is no surprise that a service has now emerged allowing consumers to buy cars online and have them delivered directly to our front door, bow on the bonnet and all.
While the Australian auto market is thriving with popular car sales websites such as CarSales and CarsGuide, it is difficult to find a truly end-to-end service. Looking to provide consumers with the full package is ApprovalBuddy.
Launched by Anthony Simons, the Queensland-based platform twists the current used-car sales model by streamlining the entire process. Buyers are able to search for cars, apply for and obtain a loan, buy, and have the vehicle delivered, while sellers are able to advertise, sell, and send off their car without ever leaving the house.
Having worked in the industry for almost two decades, Simons said the process of buying and financing a car was still too sluggish; despite other online used-car sales websites mixing things up, Simons felt the process hadn’t changed all that much in 80 years.
“Everything from TVs, clothes and shoes can be purchased online and delivered to your home, so I questioned why we couldn’t do this with cars yet,” Simons said.
With that idea in mind, Simons developed ApprovalBuddy with a holistic view, wanting to ensure the whole process could be conducted online.
Upon loading the website on their mobile, tablet or computer, users are able to select a car they’re interested in from a list of private sellers and trusted dealers. Users are then able to apply for a loan based on the vehicle’s set price.
The startup doesn’t have a defined lending partner, but rather states it works with a variety of banks and lending institutions and has ‘Broker Buddies’ that help process applications and find consumers the best loan product for them.
The finance period extends from 24-84 months, although the terms aren’t fixed so buyers are able to pay the loan off earlier if they choose. Expectedly, loan applicants undergo a credit check before their finance is approved, with ApprovalBuddy completing this process for free.
“It’s a two minute online application either on our website or app, where you can easily attach your drivers licence, payslips and the car ad. Most applications are approved on the same day,” Simons explained.
Approved loans are financed through the banks and can be topped up with car insurance if the buyer needs.
Having bootstrapped the development of the business thus far, Simons said he is now in talks with investors for Series A funding. Currently the central form of monetisation is referral payments received from banks on approved loans, but Simons said the startup has the capability to finance its own cars to resell.
The key to moving in this direction is trust and excellent service, a point in the industry which Simons said is somewhat lacking.
“After a house, buying a car is the most expensive item most people buy so I feel strongly about people feeling that they’re working with a trustworthy company that legitimately cares about them.”
To tackle the stereotype attached to used car salespeople and achieve consumers trust, ApprovalBuddy has been structured around an entirely seamless experience. After the user has their loan approved, the service handles all the other pesky attachments involved in buying or selling a used car.
The service sends out a mechanic to conduct a 144 point inspection and history check on vehicles prior to the sale being confirmed to ensure that the buyer isn’t getting a lemon. It also organises any transfer papers required, meaning neither buyer nor seller has to worry about the time consuming paperwork involved in acquiring or removing registration.
Once the seller’s been paid, the buyer can pick up the car or choose the more luxurious option – home delivery. Both options are free and come with a complimentary bow on the bonnet, although delivery is currently limited from the Gold Coast to North Brisbane.
As well as CarSales and CarsGuide, there are a couple of other new players in the market looking to fix the way cars are bought and sold. Another Queensland startup working in the space is Autoreviewa, which acts as the go-between for buyers so they don’t have to negotiate with dealers. A user simply goes online, starts searching by either make, model, or price, with Autoreviewa then doing the rest to find them the best price by handling the haggling.
ApprovalBuddy’s model however has been based on the likes of US platforms Beepi and Vroom, which offer similar end-to-end services.
Looking forward, Simons said he will be looking to expand the service into Sydney and growing its network of trusted dealers to grow its inventory.
Image: Anthony Simons. Source: Supplied.