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Shift vs Carvana: Which is Better? [2024]

Shift vs Carvana: Which is Better? [2024]

Shift vs Carvana: Do you want to know whether Shift or Carvana is better? Well, it might be really difficult for you to choose between Shift and Carvana, but this article will make it easier by discussing Shift vs Carvana’s comparison to differentiate and choose between these two car dealership companies.

Buying or selling a car can be a boring and tedious experience. And that cars are expensive, & most buyers are searching for ways to reduce costs in any way they can.

Yet, one of the most popular ways to get a car that is still in good condition but won’t let you go bankrupt is to visit a used car dealership.

A car dealership or local vehicle distribution is a business that sells new or used cars at the seller level, depending on a dealership contract with the carmaker or its sales subsidiary.

With several people searching for reasonable vehicles, there are many car dealerships around the United States. Among them, Shift and Carvana are such car dealership companies that sell or buy used cars.

In this post, we will talk about Shift vs Carvana comparison regarding different aspects like how they work, how selling & buying works, fees, and many more!

Shift vs Carvana: What Are They?

What is Shift?

Shift vs Carvana

Shift is a digitally driven company that buys and sells cars directly to and from customers via its e-commerce service. It is a San Francisco-based company that offers hassle-free car selling and buying experience.

And it facilitates financing options, test drivers, Department of Motor Vehicles interactions, inspections, pricing, retailing and merchandising.

After Shift gets a car, it examines and repairs it through its regional cleaning centers. From there, it lists cars on its website where you can buy the car online and even book a test drive appointment in your local area.

It regularly thinks of ways to improve your experience and easier. Every registered customer can place a bid to Shift car rental on its available stock that refreshes on a weekly basis.

What is Carvana?

carvana vs shift

Carvana is a leading e-commerce company that sells used cars through an easy-to-use technology platform. One of the popular daily newspapers ‘Houston Chronicle’ called Carvana the “Amazon of Auto.”

You can easily buy a used car from home, trade or sell your old car and sign the required paperwork online. It is the fastest growing online used car dealer across the United States and is widely known for its multi-store car vending machines.

Carvana is the first end-to-end online vehicle retailer that has over 20,000 accurately inspected and photographed vehicles in their inventory.  

As of 2021, Carvana stated it has over 20,000 vehicles to select from. Also, it offers a seven-day money-back guarantee on every vehicle it sells.

Must Try these 24 Sites like Carvana, If you want to Buy/Sell a Car!

Shift vs Carvana: How Do They Work?

Several financial experts will tell you that purchasing a cheap used car and keeping it for many years is one of the best things you can do to reduce the cost of car ownership.

However, if you choose the wrong vehicle or choose to buy that inexpensive car might cost you thousands for repairs or finance costs. Thus, you’ll have to make sure that you pick up a reputable dealer.

But then again, finding the best car retailers need some research. So, use this guide as a quick reference to one of the best car retailer companies’ comparisons, i.e., Shift vs Carvana.

How Does Shift Work?

Firstly, Shift inspects all vehicles that it sells and reviews the vehicle’s history reports, service records, and ownership data. And then they use a ‘Rigorous 150+ point’ inspection.

If they discover any required repairs during the inspection, they repair or replace the part. This 150+ point inspection checks electrical components, engine, cooling, transmission, suspension, cooling and brakes. 

It is necessary that all vehicles should pass this inspection. 

Secondly, Shift’s ‘Concierges’ provides free test drives to customers for several vehicles on its website. All you need to do is to schedule the drive at your home or the nearest Shift location.

It mainly applies three driving principles to its business – Value, Convenience & Trust. Because its primary goal is to bring trust and simplicity to the peer-to-peer used car market.

The Shift Concierge works with you throughout the test drive to answer any questions and discuss financing. You can immediately buy the vehicle after the test drive with the help of the Concierge. Nonetheless, it’s not their job to sell you a car, it’s only to assist you to purchase one!

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How Does Carvana Work?

Typically, Carvana does all of its business online instead of a physical dealership. Therefore, it is different from its competitors like Shift, CarMax and other car dealership businesses. Yet, it still offers almost all the same services!

It promises to offer lower prices on well-maintained used cars and handles trade-ins, buying, selling, as well as financing of the vehicle purchases. 

Usually, it locates its cars from private sellers, auctions, trade-ins, and dealer partners that generally range from $7,000 to $100,000. 

So, purchasing a car from Carvana is really simple, all you have to do is visit the Carvana website and tap ‘search cars.’ You can search by model, year, make, body type, mileage, price and other features. By selecting a certain search result, you’ll get complete details of the vehicle. 

These details comprise a 360-degree view of the vehicle as well as a photo gallery. And also, it clearly states any imperfections like dings or dents that the vehicle might have. 

Every listing of Carvana consists of a free CarFax history report that offers helpful information like maintenance records, accident history, odometer readings, and whether it was used for commercial or personal purposes.

Cars that are listed as ‘purchase pending’ have already been purchased and they sometimes even become available once they are returned. 

Moreover, if you are interested in one of these cars, you can simply sign up for email alerts to find out if the vehicle returned vehicle is available again.

Shift vs Carvana: Comparison

Buying a Car

Purchasing a car looks like it should be a fun experience as you get to take a new thing to home, which makes several aspects of your life easy. 

Nevertheless, for the desire for profit, dealerships are putting more pressure on the customer than ever. Therefore, if you’re looking to buy or finance a vehicle, you should look for good dealerships.

Well, you don’t have to worry anymore! Both Shift and Carvana will make it easier for you by delivering cars for on-demand test drives and helping finance loans directly from your phone. 

Buying a Car From Shift

Shift’s main aim is to create a fair, fun, and accessible car purchasing process. You can directly shop for cars and book test drives on its website. 

If you wish to complete the car buying process in one day, you can use filters to search for vehicle types and other preferences or requirements. 

Then you can book a test drive from your home or nearest Shift location. 

If you want to test drive, you’ll meet a Shift Concierge with whom you can drive the vehicle, ask your doubts, and learn about financing options.

If you want to buy the car instantly after the test drive, the Concierge will help you with the necessary paperwork and leave the vehicle with you after the purchase. 

However, the test drive is optional, so you can directly place an online deposit for the vehicle and schedule delivery. But, remember that if you choose this option, the purchase advisor will help you with the purchasing, handling financing and delivery.

Buying a Car From Carvana

To start purchasing a car through Carvana, click on ‘get started’ after creating a Carvana account. Narrow down your search by applying search filters like body type, mileage, price, year, fuel type, color, drive type, and more.

Once you narrow down your choices and choose a vehicle, you’ll be taken to the car’s profile page where you can view an interactive 360-degree view of the real vehicle in stock with several photos of the interior. 

While purchasing the vehicle, it will provide a pay cash option, trade-in and financing option to verified buyers, and also sells gap insurance and an extended warranty. Currently, it has 261 local markets and is located in 31 states along with Washington DC.

After you select the delivery option, you can make your Carvana car delivered at a scheduled time and even look for vehicles that don’t have shipping charges. 

If you choose the pickup option, you’ll have to find out the local the nearest Carvana Vending Machine. If you see that it is some distance, Carvana offers a ‘Fly & Drive’ option where a representative will drive the buyer to pick up the vehicle. 

Carvana offers a seven-day money-back guarantee which usually starts when the car is delivered. The vehicle can only be returned if it is not damaged or altered. Also, note that there aren’t any extra charges for returns. 

Selling a Car

Selling a Car to Shift 

Selling a car on Shift is quite easy, all you need to do is provide your vehicle information like year, make, model, license plate, or VIN and provide vehicle history by answering a few questions. 

You can then use its price estimator to find out how much your car is worth, or Shift will contact you with an estimated price offer. 

If you are okay with the estimate, you can easily schedule an evaluation with a Shift representative or Concierge to determine the final offer depending on your car condition. 

At the evaluation appointment, the Shift Concierge will evaluate the vehicle and compare it with the information you’ve provided. Shift will usually check Brakes & wheels, Suspension, under the hood, and perform a stationary road test & driving road test.  

If needed, they’ll make adjustments to the initial offer depending on the condition. After the inspection, you’ll get a final offer which will be valid for 7 days. 

And lastly, when you sell the vehicle at the appointment, the Shift Concierge will help you with the paperwork and leave with your car. He’ll then set up a direct transfer to your bank account, which typically deposits the funds within 3-7 business days. 

Selling a Car to Carvana

Selling a car to Carvana takes less than an hour and filling out the online form is quick and as easy as providing your vehicle’s information, scheduling an appointment and having a Carvana representative review it at your home. 

You just have to enter your license plate or VIN for your vehicle and then select ‘Get My Offer’ then you’ll have to provide you’re a few basic details like Zip code, color, loan status, mileage, premium features, accident history, exterior damage, and the general condition.  

If Carvana likes your car, it’ll make an offer that will remain valid for the next seven days. And when you accept the offer, you’ll make an appointment for Carvana to come and review your vehicle.

Once you complete the sale, the Carvana representative will confirm that the car is as expected. Unfortunately, you’ll need to take the car to a local market if you live outside the local market.

If you are willing to sell the car as a trade-in part of a new purchase, Carvana will hang onto the old car until the end of the new car’s seven-day trial. Carvana’s method of buying or selling a car directly from home is an amazing option for several people.



To trade in a car through Shift, you’ll have to find a car that you would like to purchase on Shift. And then work with a Shift advisor to acquire an online estimate for your trade-in vehicle.

Then you can schedule one appointment with Shift to review your car and test drive the car you would like to purchase. You’ll have to take all the documents to sell the vehicle along with your driver’s license and choose your payment method to pay for your new vehicle.

As soon as the inspection is over, you’ll get a final offer immediately. So, you can then choose to take that offer and apply the value to the new vehicle.

How Does the Shift’s Trade-in Value is Calculated?

Shift considered many data points to analyze the estimate for the trade-in value. They evaluate the condition, features, mileage, demand, location, and many more.


Like any other car dealership, Carvana also accepts trade-ins and adds that value to the final price. Still, you can sell your car to Carvana, although you are not purchasing a vehicle. 

All you have to do is click on ‘Get My Offer’ and provide some basic information regarding the car, such as VIN, features, condition, mileage, color, accident history, etc. 

It will immediately make you a cash offer which will be valid for seven days. You can then schedule an appointment for a Carvana representative to inspect your vehicle, and if your vehicle passes the inspection, it’ll give you a check instantly and will pick up the car. 

Furthermore, it doesn’t let you negotiate the trade-in price. And the only catch is that you should live within a local delivery zone otherwise, you won be eligible to trade in your car. 

How Does the Carvana’s Trade-in Value is Calculated?

Carvana’s online trade-in value is calculated by answering a few questions that its online appraisal tool will ask to determine the value of your vehicle. 

They also check in your vehicle’s history on Autocheck and Carfax, the local market value, and the KBB value. Yet, in several states, you’ll only pay sales tax on the price of your new car without the value of your trade. 

How Does Financing Work?


First, you’ll have to get pre-qualified for seamless financing and check what you can afford without affecting your credit score. 

Second, you can discover cars in your budget and view what your monthly payment and terms will be for every car. 

Lastly, finance your favorite car by applying for financing online to receive an official loan from their network of trusted lenders. Your interest rate will depend on various factors like your monthly income, down payment amount, credit score, and loan amount. 

And your loan amount, the length of the loan, and the interest rate analyze your monthly payments. Also, your first loan payment is usually due one month from the day you bought your Shift car. 


To get started with Carvana finance, get pre-qualified for an auto loan within two minutes. After you are pre-qualified, you can view the terms and monthly payments for every vehicle. 

Your rates will not change until your information changes or your terms expire after 45 days. And remember that getting pre-qualified with Carvana will not affect your credit score, as they only perform a soft credit check. 

You can then select a car and move forward with financing by providing them the proof of income documents, such as your two most recent paychecks or your last three months of bank statements showing direct deposits. 

Lastly, review your contracts, sign them electronically, and then submit your down payment data and choose a delivery or pick-up time. You can have the funds withdrawn from your bank account through an ACH transaction for your down payment. 



Shift charges a service fee for those who sell to Shift, like the Concierge service. However, Shift claims that the fee is a better deal than most dealership fees. 

It also charges a delivery fee for most purchases. However, the delivery fee varies and will be visible on your vehicle detail page. 

And the car buyers can place a deposit on a vehicle they schedule a test drive for. This $250 deposit is non-refundable but will go into the price of the vehicle if you move forward with the purchase.


Although Carvana promotes itself as a free online dealership, it charges a fee for some deliveries. It charges around $190 and $599 for delivery. Yet, these prices differ based on where you live. 

Usually, local deliveries are free and, sometimes, the shipping cost is completely refundable. Its out of market delivery cost $599, which is non-refundable. 

You can also take advantage of a ‘Fly and Drive’ where Carvana itself will pay up to $200 towards one-way airfare to one of its locations. 

And if you decide to return the vehicle within your seven-day money-back guarantee, you’ll only be responsible for the transport of the vehicle you keep. In simple words, if you choose to exchange the vehicle, you won’t be responsible for the delivery charge for more than one vehicle. 


Shift offers a 30-day warranty, and if you want protection for beyond 30-days, you can purchase a Protection Plan. 

The Protection plan offers coverage for engine, cooling, air conditioning, suspension, towing, electrical, drive axle, power steering, key lockout, emergency fuel, and more. 

On the other hand, Carvana car purchases offer a 7-day money-back guarantee, which is a 4,189-mile limited or 100-day warranty. 

Also, it offers an option to buy the additional warranty – CarvanaCare, for 36 months/60,000 miles or 60 months/90,000 miles.

Return Policy

Shift offers a free 7-day return policy. That means if you change your mind and wish to return the vehicle for any reason, you can return it within 7-days or 200 miles. But you’ll not get the shipping cost of the initial purchase. 

Likewise, Carvana’s return policy also lasts for one week. And during that time, you can drive up to 400 miles and return the car for any reason. 

In case if you drive the car over 400 miles, you’ll be charged $1 for every additional mile. Carvana states that it might take 7-10 days for the money to get into your bank account.

Can You Negotiate?

Shift claims that they carefully view all parameters before estimating a price. Therefore, the prices are non-negotiable, and they don’t accept negotiations from both sellers and buyers. You can either get to accept or decline Shift’s price during buying, selling or trading-in.

Similarly, you cannot negotiate the car prices with Carvana. They determine current market information of vehicles similar to yours and give you their single best offer.

Shift vs Carvana: Difference

InspectionRigorous 150+ point inspection150+ point inspection
Test DriveYesYes
Pick up ServiceYesYes
Service FeeYesNo
Delivery FeeYesDepending on the location
Selling FeeNoNo
Shipping Charges RefundNot RefundableNot Refundable
Money Back Guarantee7-day money-back guarantee7-day money-back guarantee
Warranty30-day warranty100-day warranty with 4,189-miles limited
Customer, +1 (855) 744-1445Visit here to contact their customer service

Wrapping up: Which is The Best?

Both Shift and Carvana are the best places for those who wish to sell, buy or trade-in their car. Because they both offer a quick and easy process that can be completed directly from home.

However, Shift only gives an estimate through the online platform, making it much different from Carvana. Since Carvana offer both in-person and online service. 

Carvana only sells vehicles that have only one owner and have never been in an accident. Similarly, they check the Carfax reports to verify that information.

And every Shifts and Carvana’s vehicle undergo a 150-point inspection. According to us, Carvana can be the best option because they don’t charge any service fees, and every vehicle is backed by a good 100-day, 4,189-mile limited warranty. Whereas Shift has only a 30-days warranty. 

Hopefully, the above article on Shift vs Carvana has helped you to choose the best option according to your preferences. So, consider all the aspects and choose wisely!

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