How to Bid on Copart

Tue Dec 11


10 min read



Copart is one of the leading online auctions for salvaged cars with a two-phase bidding process.


  • Firs one is preliminary bidding where buyers can preset their maximum bid – pretty basic process that might be familiar to you from eBay or other big auction sites.
  • The second phase is live bidding which is very different from preliminary bidding or other “Normal” auction site processes. Let us explain it briefly:

As the preliminary bidding ends, the car isn’t sold yet. It’s in one of the ongoing live auctions waiting for its turn to “go live”. In each auction, there are around 150-350 cars and each one is sold using a live bidding process. In live bidding, there’s a timer with 15 seconds on it. If nobody bids during given 15 seconds live bidding on the car is finished and it’s either sold (if bid amount is more than preset minimal price seller requested) or is relisted for another round of preliminary and live bidding. If there’s a bid during given 15 seconds timer restarts and other participants have a chance to increase the bid during the next 15 seconds. Live bidding goes on until everybody besides the current highest bidder gives up and nobody bids for 15 seconds after the last bid.





One can say that preliminary bidding is totally unnecessary because almost all of the cars are sold during live bidding phase but sometimes if preliminary bid is enough for the seller they can sell the car before live bidding phase but as we mentioned that rarely ever happens because there’s no advantage for seller to sell the car before live bidding – the price might increase during the live phase and if not seller can always settle for the preliminary bidding price.




There are a couple of problems you might be thinking of. The biggest one is how to know when the lot will go live. Well, to be honest, you can’t. Copart tries to estimate in how many minutes the car will go live but sometimes it’s late or even worse – sometimes it starts early and you might miss the whole live bidding phase and lose the car to lower bidder.



Second problems concerns car resellers mostly – what to do if two cars are in different auctions (there are around 10-15 every evening during workdays) and go live at the same time – how can you bid for both of them. Well, you can try to split screen or do it on two devices but it’s certainly an extra hustle.


Another problem is time. A car can go live at a really inconvenient time for you. Either late at night or during your working hours and you can’t always be online when the car goes live.


What we do at iSnipe is solving all the inconvenience and offering additional features.


Imagine: to bid on a car you only have to link the auction to us and tell us what’s the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for it – that’s all. We’ll take care of preliminary and live bidding and the best part is it’s all automated which means there’s much less chance of missing anything. You just have to register using one of our multiple options, attach your Copart account and start winning.


If you are a car reseller or just have a lot of options and want to buy only one car there’s a great free feature called group bidding. You just create a group in your iSnipe profile, name it and set maximum amount of won items within a group. After the group is created you can add as many items to the group as you want and we will only buy a predetermined amount of items for this group. For example, imagine you want to buy a range rover sport and you’ve found three lots on Copart that you like. You’re willing to spend $12,000 for the first one, $10,500 for the second one and $11,000 for the third one. You just need to create a group – let’s name it “range rover sport” and set a maximal amount of won items to 1. Then you just add your three cars to that group with different maximal bids and that’s it. You can forget about them and check what’s happened after the end of the auction. We’ll win one of the cars you’ve listed if your maximal amount is sufficient and forget about other cars as soon as one of them is won. And the best part is – you only pay for our service if you actually win a cart with 5 free attempts waiting for you if you’re a new user.



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