As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I was invited to the premises of We Buy Any Bike in Oldham. They have opened their doors to me, so I can find out more about the company and the people who work there. In my last post I spoke to the Managing Director, Gary Cheetham to find out the company’s history, values, and how it all works. This time, I spoke to their Purchasing Team.
The Purchasing Team at WeBuyAnyBike.co.uk are the customer facing folks who will get in touch to work out the best possible price for a bike that a customer wishes to sell. WeBuyAnyBike don’t give instant online valuations. They are a bit ‘old school’ in that respect. It’s certainly not a bad thing, an online valuation is often based on lots of assumptions and can be vague at best. By actually speaking to the potential seller of a bike, the purchasing team can ask all the right questions to give an accurate price. They’ve had years of experience buying bikes, so know all the salient things to check out.
This also means, that if a customer accepts their offer, when someone from the collections team arrives – there’s no haggling on the doorstep. So long as everything checks out, the price they’ve been offered is the price that’s paid!
To find out a bit more about how it all works, I sat down with Dawn on the Purchasing Team. She is talking to customers all day long about motorbikes and has a real passion for them. It certainly shows!
What would you say is the biggest thing that can impact the price on a bike – or are there lots of variables?
The biggest thing is definitely accuracy of information. Something is only worth what somebody else is willing to give for it, and to get an accurate price for a bike, we need as much information about it as we can get. This is the reason we always ring our customers to give them a chance to tell us more about the bike. We ask them all kinds of things, almost as if we were preparing an advert for the bike, including its condition, extras and mileage, service history, and so on. We then pass this on to the buying team, the accuracy of the information can make a big difference to the price we offer – we have to price it without seeing it in person, after all.
What advice would you give to someone considering selling their bike to you?
The biggest thing is to stay within reach of the phone so that when you’re called, we can make sure they have the right information at all stages, especially before the driver turns up. An online valuation is different to an actual offer to buy the bike – that’s why we like to double check before we make our offer, unlike other valuation companies. If we can get in touch whenever we need to, the process will be a lot smoother, and the customer can sell their bike efficiently and without stress.
How do you ensure that your prices that you first offer are the prices that you pay? Do you have to ask lots of questions?
We build the decision about prices on trust between the customer and the valuations advisor. Which is why it is so important to discuss the bike properly over the phone, which is the next best thing to face to face. On some occasions, usually on bikes that have been in storage or have not been used for some time, some information with regards to the condition does get missed until our driver points it out. That’s the sort of situation where we have to reevaluate the price, and we have valuations experts on call for this, but it rarely happens.
When you make an offer on a bike, how long is that offer good for?
We always reserve the exact funds for a minimum of 48 hours. In this time, if the customer updates us with an offer they’ve received elsewhere, or lets us know they need more time to consider, we will look to discuss this offer again. This is because the value of vehicles does change on a daily basis. For this reason, if the customer makes a decision after 48 hours, we will check if the offer is still accurate and fair according to market changes.
Do you find that people are honest about the condition of their bike?
Yes, bikers definitely are an honest bunch, and they’re the kind of people we like to do business with. We always like to walk people through the valuations process over the phone, and those people who are trying to to a bit tricky come out in the wash.
The first call we make is to take detailed notes on the bike, from the customer, before it goes to the buying team. Then, once the offer is given to the customer and they accept, we go over that information again. The third step is that before the driver sets off, he re-checks the information so he knows what to expect when he arrives.
We also specify to the customer that if they notices anything other than what they’ve told us after they’ve accepted the price, they need to contact us so we can update our records to make sure we have up to date information.
Do you ever check prices offered by your competitors to ensure you’re competitive?
No. We don’t feel a need to do that – the only time we ever hear about a competitor’s price is when a customer is telling us they wants more than they offered him. Other than that, there’s no point knowing competitor’s prices. We always like to keep people happy and give what we think is fair to offer for a vehicle the customer has loved but has to let go.
I’d imagine your role is very public facing – would you say that’s the most enjoyable part of your job? Or is it something else?
I do get to speak to lots of people all day and learn more about bikes. I love that when they do accept the offer, I can be confident that they’re dealing with a genuine, honest, reputable company, which is hard to find these days. Too many bikers have had bad experiences with cowboys in the industry, and as I do this all day I know what it is people want when it comes to selling their bike.
What do you find challenging about your job?
The customers that have had an instant, online quote are sometimes challenging to work with because, in some cases, they’ve been given a quote that’s not a real or accurate offer to buy their bike. Websites like motorbikevaluation.com can give good ballpark figures, but we stopped the instant online bike valuations some time ago, as we felt that the online quote does not take into account the full range of information regarding the bike. Extras like, service history, and overall condition. All these things can affect the final offer the customer receives.
Other companies turn up and make their real offer on the doorstep – usually a lower price than they were offered online – but we make our real judgement on the phone when we check the bike with the customer before sending our driver. It is also a challenge that, on some level, customers have come to expect to be deceived in this industry because of how some of our competitors work. I like to think that we stand out from these disreputable companies because of our level of honesty, professionalism, and attention to the customer.
Thanks so much for your time Dawn!
It was great hearing what Dawn had to say. I must admit that I do like online things to be instant, and there for you immediately. However, I think when it comes to something like this – WeBuyAnyBike.co.uk certainly can give the most accurate pricing by asking all the right questions. Some things need the human touch, rather than a complex algorithm!
My next interview is with the collections team. These are the folks that drive up and down the country putting cash into the hands of buyers, and safely transport the bikes back to the WeBuyAnyBike HQ!
This post has been written in partnership with WeBuyAnyBike.co.uk