Many people are now familiar with Caravan Depot as Europe’s leading caravan brokerage. But what is a broker, what do they do and what does it mean to buy a caravan through a broker? In this short guide we aim to tell you a bit more about us and explain exactly what caravan brokerage is.
What Brokerage Means
The Oxford English Dictionary defines a broker as “A person who buys and sells goods or assets for others”. In the case of Caravan Depot, it is the “Selling goods or assets for others” part of the definition that is relevant. Caravan Depot does not own the motorhomes listed on this website. They are owned by individuals and our brokers sell them on their behalf.
A good analogy for what we do as a business is to think of us as the estate agents for caravans. Our brokers visit the owners, take details of the caravan for sale, produce a detailed description with images and list it across a number of websites. If you see a caravan for sale that you like, when you enquire about it your enquiry is dealt with by the broker. They will arrange a viewing, handle all offers and act as the go between for buyer and seller. The broker manages the sale process and ensures a secure transaction. Just like an estate agent.
Caravan Depot also operates as a franchise. That is to say that each broker is a franchisee. We operate a standard franchise format where each franchisee is an independent business that we license to use our brand and business operating system. We chose to develop our business as a franchise because we believe it is the means by which we can deliver the highest standards of service to our customers, both buyers and sellers.
The nature of our business means that we need to have a large number of brokers spread across a wide geographical area. Having brokers that are franchisees means that they are motivated to provide great service. They own their own business and the long term well-being of their business is dependent on having happy customers, receiving good reviews and gaining referral business.
This model has worked well for us as a business, but more importantly, we believe works well for our customers.
The Benefits of Buying Through a Broker
When you buy a caravan through a broker, you are effectively buying the motorhome privately – not through a dealer. There are many benefits to this, but there are some differences that you should be aware of, more of which later.
Buying a caravan through Caravan Depot is a happy middle ground where you gain some of the benefits of buying privately as well as some of the benefits of buying from a dealer.
The first of these is price. One of the great advantages of buying “Privately” through Caravan Depot is that in most cases the price of the caravan will be considerably less than you would pay if you bought it from a dealer.
Next, is the huge benefit that we do the leg work for you. Our brokers are trained to provide detailed and impartial descriptions of every caravan they are selling. They will tell you all about a caravan before you travel to see it. This saves you from wasting a great deal of time and effort driving around the country looking at caravans that aren’t suitable.
At any time, Caravan Depot has many caravans for sale. This simply means that we provide you with the widest choice anywhere of private caravans for sale with accurate descriptions and impartial advice.
If you are looking for a very specific make and model of caravan to buy, it may well be the case that at any given time there are very few, if any, suitable ones available for sale. With Caravan Depot you can set an alert on our website that matches your requirements. You will then be notified and receive details as soon as one comes on the market.
One of the things that people are quite rightly getting increasingly nervous about these days when buying anything privately, is how secure the transaction is. This is particularly so of large ticket items like caravans. When buying through Caravan Depot your payment goes through a secure clients' account that is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme up to £85,000.
Finally, although you are buying privately when you buy a caravan through Caravan Depot, we are still able to provide you with some of the additional services that a main dealer would provide. This includes finance to assist your purchase, a part-exchange facility and favourable insurance deals.
The Difference Between a Viewing and an Inspection
One of the differences between buying privately through Caravan Depot and buying through a dealer is just that – you are buying privately. This means you do not have the same level of comeback if there is a problem with your purchase, that you do when buying from a dealer. However, there are some easy ways to mitigate this.
One of the things that we like to make clear is that our brokers do not carry out inspections on the condition of the caravan or the mechanics of the chassis. When our brokers “View” a caravan it is purely for the purposes of providing a detailed description for would-be buyers. It is not an inspection and report on condition. If you buy a motorhome privately, whether it is through Caravan Depot or anywhere else, including a dealer, our strong recommendation is that you get a professional pre-purchase inspection carried out prior to purchasing it.
There are a number of businesses that provide pre-purchase inspections. One of these is Caravan Depot’s sister company Habcheck. You can find out more by going to caravan pre-purchase inspection.
In addition, there are a number of companies that provide warranties for used caravans. Some of the warranties available for used caravans are really quite comprehensive and provide great peace of mind. A comparison of the products on offer should provide you with one that best suits your circumstances and the caravan you are buying. Take a look at our warranty page here to get started.
Hopefully that has provided you with a bit of insight into our business and some useful information about buying a caravan through a broker. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us speak to the local broker who is dealing with the caravan you are interested in.