Bring a Trailer Guide: How to Buy & Sell Cars on Bring a Trailer

Posted on
7 min to read

Vintage, classic and rare auto enthusiasts know it can be hard to find the right vehicles to add to their collections or the right buyer when ready to let one go.  

Online car auctions have been picking up steam over the last several years. While there are dozens of sites that host competitive sales both regionally and nationally, Bring a Trailer is one of the biggest names in car auctions. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell a classic car, get all the information you need right here about how Bring a Trailer auctions work, the latest Bring a Trailer reviews and how to get started at bringatrailer.com

What is Bring a Trailer?

Bring a Trailer (BaT) is an online car auction specializing in vintage and classic cars. Aimed at both up-and-coming and seasoned collectors, BaT auctions are an opportunity for owners to sell their vehicles and enthusiasts to bid on and purchase cars they’re interested in adding to their collections.

Keep reading to learn exactly how to buy or sell a car on BaT, the pros and cons of this website and much more. 

How to buy a car on Bring a Trailer 

Buying a car on Bring a Trailer is pretty simple. 

1. Register to bid on bringatrailer.com

Create a login and password to use any time you bid on a car. You’ll also be required to provide credit card information to ensure commitment and verify your account.

2. Browse listings and find the car you want.

Vehicles will be listed with as much detailed information as possible, including a full description, photo gallery and a comment section where you can find answers to questions others have asked the seller. If you still have questions, you can submit them in the comments yourself and engage with the seller.

3.  Place your bid.

Determine how much you want to spend and submit your bid. You can include the maximum amount you’re willing to pay, and your bid will be automatically adjusted as needed. Sign up for alerts to stay updated on what’s happening with the auction.

In the final moments of the auction, the clock extends by two minutes each time a bid is placed. The auction ends when two full minutes have elapsed without a bid. 

4. Find out if the vehicle is yours.

If you have the highest bid at the end of the auction, the vehicle is yours and the credit card on file will be charged an immediate fee of 5% of the bid price that is paid to Bring a Trailer. Once the vehicle has been deemed as yours, you cannot back out of the sale. However, you can arrange a vehicle inspection.

5. Complete the sale.

All further communication, as well as the final transaction, will be handled between the buyer and seller.

6. Arrange shipment with the seller.

Unless you and the seller live in the same area, you’ll need to figure out how to get the vehicle to your location. Auto transport is a convenient and affordable way to have the vehicle shipped to you hassle-free. You and the seller can work together to determine how to cover costs and other shipping details.

How to sell a car on Bring a Trailer 

For those looking to sell a vintage or classic vehicle, follow these steps.

1. Submit your vehicle.

Visit the vehicle submission page, select a listing category (Classic, Plus or White Glove), answer some questions and upload photos of the vehicle you’re looking to sell.

Bring a Trailer has three listing categories:

  • Classic: Basic custom auction for your vehicle.
  • Plus: Custom auction with professional photography for a higher-quality listing.
  • White Glove: Concierge service that handles all details for the seller, typically used for significant or extremely rare cars and collections.

2. Bring a Trailer auction team evaluates your submission.

After reviewing your submission and supporting pictures, the team at Bring a Trailer will determine whether your vehicle meets their criteria. If they deem it a good fit, you will be requested to send additional information as well as your seller’s fee, depending on the BaT categories you choose:

  • Classic: $99
  • Plus: $349
  • White Glove: Must call for pricing

3. Work with Bring a Trailer as needed.

BaT will need maintenance records, service documents and other details to create a quality listing for auction. 

4. Monitor the auction.

Answer questions and address concerns discussed in the comments section of your listing. The more details you can provide, the more bids you’ll get and the more likely you’ll be able to sell the vehicle. Once the auction time is up, the car belongs to the highest bidder.

5. Complete the sale.

All further communication, as well as the final transaction, will be handled between the buyer and seller.

6. Arrange shipment with the buyer.

Unless you and the buyer live in the same area, you’ll need to figure out how to get the vehicle to them. Use an auto transport service to have the vehicle shipped without the cost and time investment of driving it yourself. You and the buyer can work together to determine how to cover costs and other shipping details.

Pros and cons of Bring a Trailer

Pros:

  • Listings are written in-house
  • A professional team reviews vehicle details before approving and listing
  • Both buyers and sellers are working with a legitimate third party that prioritizes quality service
  • Buyers don’t have to spend more than they are comfortable with

Cons:

  • Buyers can’t see a vehicle in person prior to placing a bid and purchasing
  • A seller’s vehicle may not be approved to list at auction
  • Both buyers and sellers must pay a fee
  • No guarantees

Bring a Trailer reviews

Marco M.

☆☆☆☆☆

“I am a repeat seller and stumbled upon this site in search of something else… Bring A Trailer and their staff is nothing but professional and to allude towards anything else is ridiculous. I have sold many cars but also have had others turned down, as recently as a few days ago. It’s their company, and their right… This is a site where you get a lot of exposure and a lot of comments. Some of the comments are experts, others not so much. There is no better site to sell.”

John

☆☆

“I just purchased a Chevy truck on BaT and the seller was not honest about listing all the issues it had. It arrived with an inoperable gas and temp gauge, as well as an oil leak and a gas leak from the gas cap that it came with. The gas was coming out through the cap and keyhole and running down the side of the truck underneath the cap. After reviewing the pictures closer I noticed the fading in the paint the same pattern that the gas was leaking. This leads me to believe that this issue has been ongoing. Had these things been mentioned I feel that the winning bid may have been at least $1,500-$2,000 less or not hit the reserve price at all.”

Paul F.

☆☆☆☆☆

“I had a good experience with BaT. Bought a car, worked great. Fun bidding. Very straightforward. Plus a lot of really cool vehicles for the more common enthusiasts. Keep it up BaT!”

Greg

☆☆☆☆☆

“BaT’s process for auction is straightforward and easy. They do pick and choose which vehicles they allow to pass into auction, not everything will make the cut – but this is why I choose to use them. The time from submission (approval process) to auction posting took about 2 months, which was expected due to high demand. I highly recommend them, as long as your vehicle fits within their normal wheelhouse. Again, not every vehicle can or will make the cut. One thing to note is BaT does not handle the paperwork or monies, so you will need to work with the buyer/seller to facilitate the last steps.”

Frequently asked questions about Bring a Trailer

Is Bring a Trailer legit?

Bring a Trailer is a legitimate business that aims to be as transparent as possible to both buyers and sellers. It requires sellers to submit documents, maintenance records, photos and videos of a vehicle before it’s accepted and listed at auction. Buyers and sellers also have the opportunity to communicate throughout the auction, so buyers can get their questions and concerns answered and addressed before making a bid. 

However, once the auction is finished, the remaining correspondence and transaction are handled between the buyer and seller and Bring a Trailer is no longer involved. For this reason, the company cannot guarantee the authenticity or condition of the vehicles featured on its site.

Is Bring a Trailer legally binding?

As long as your bid on a certain vehicle remains the highest, you will win the auction and cannot cancel through BaT. If you back out of a bid with the seller and they report you, it’s possible you may be banned for life from using the platform.

What percentage does Bring a Trailer charge?

In addition to the final sale price, buyers will pay a 5% fee to Bring a Trailer. This fee must be at a minimum of $250 and cannot exceed $5,000.

Is it safe to buy on Bring a Trailer?

Again, safety is a priority for Bring a Trailer, but as correspondence after the auction is handled between the buyer and seller, safety is not guaranteed.

How does Bring a Trailer make money?

BaT makes money from seller and buyer fees. Sellers will pay a fee of at least $99 if their vehicle is approved to list and the highest bidder on a vehicle will pay a fee of 5% of the sales price.

How long do you have to pay on Bring a Trailer?

Typical auctions on Bring a Trailer last seven days.

Is Bring a Trailer worth it?

Whether participating in a BaT auction is worth the time and fees is up to buyers and sellers to decide. It has been a helpful resource for collectors to find unique classic and vintage vehicles they may not be able to find elsewhere.

Does Bring a Trailer have an app?

No, Bring a Trailer doesn’t have an app.

How many cars does Bring a Trailer sell?

In 2021, approximately 16,000 vehicles were sold via Bring a Trailer auction, an increase of over 80% from 2020. 

Who owns Bring a Trailer?

While the current owners are unknown, BaT was co-founded by Randy Nonnenberg and Gentry Underwood in 2007.

Found a car on Bring a Trailer and need to have it shipped?

If you found the perfect vintage vehicle on BaT, don’t let distance discourage you from making that purchase. Even if the seller is hundreds of miles away or on the other side of the country, there’s a way to get the car transported to you safely and efficiently. Montway Auto Transport is the country’s top-rated classic car shipping company with reliable, nationwide coverage.
Montway arranges enclosed shipping for all kinds of cars, including classic, vintage, exotic, luxury and brand new vehicles. Speak with an expert vehicle shipping advisor at 888-666-8929 to learn more or get started with a free online quote. For careful, insured classic car transport, select Montway.

Get an instant quote

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