Shift is going public this year

Shift to go public later this year by agreeing to combine with INSU today

We are very excited to announce that Shift has entered into an agreement to combine with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) called Insurance Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: INSU).

As part of the business combination, INSU has raised $185MM in commitments from investors to purchase INSU equity capital, which cash would be available to the combined company following the completion of the business combination, in addition to potential proceeds from the SPAC trust, which currently stands at >$150MM.

We last wrote on our blog in late March when we had to announce some very painful decisions that affected our team and business stemming from the COVID pandemic and economic uncertainty. Facing some of the most challenging headwinds we could have ever imagined, our team nonetheless persevered, continuing to service our customers as they searched for alternative means of transportation. To be here now, announcing this milestone, is a testament to our incredible team that has worked so tirelessly to bring Shift to this stage.

Shift started selling cars in 2014 with a mission to simplify buying and selling of used cars. Offering consumers a complete car buying and selling relationship, it has combined a powerful technology platform with an omnichannel sales approach to redesign the car buying experience, especially through our patented test-drive-delivered-to-customer service. By combining its ability to quickly and accurately evaluate, price, recondition and sell cars across the entire value spectrum with its unique white glove service, Shift has seen meaningful market penetration in its core markets as customers appreciate the breadth of selections and convenience.

This transaction represents a tremendous opportunity for our company. Once completed, we expect it to significantly enhance our ability to scale our technology and operations, accelerate our growth, and continue on our mission to make car buying simple, fair and accessible to all. We are targeting to finalize the combination toward the end of Q3’2020, following the SEC review process and the completion of various conditions to closing, including among other things certain regulatory and stockholder approvals.

We want to close out with a huge shout-out to the many people who’ve helped us along the way. We’ve known each other for nearly 25 years, and each of our journeys in life and business reflect the incredible promise and opportunity of our wonderful country, in which entrepreneurship is able to flourish unlike anywhere else. None of this would be possible without the support of so many who have been with us along the way, both at Shift and in life. From our teachers and mentors, to our investors, to the hundreds of team members who have worked at Shift over the years, to our families and friends who have put up with us working non-stop hours, we owe a huge thank you.

Of course, today’s announcement is a big deal for Shift, but the hard work does not stop now. We are excited about what lies ahead. Onward!

George & Toby

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Finance First Credit

Finance First Credit – Terms & Eligibility

Shift customers may be eligible for a $400 finance credit if they meet all of the following requirements in this order:

      1. Apply and be approved for a loan through Shift before your scheduled appointment.
      2. Buy the car during their first test drive appointment.
      3. Obtain Shift financing during the first test drive appointment.

Promotion begins 6/18/20. Cannot be combined with another promotion. Cars purchased online are not eligible. Prequalification does not apply. Customers who do not get approved for financing, do not obtain financing through Shift or who do not apply for financing prior to a test drive are not eligible. Customers must purchase the vehicle at the time of their first appointment to be eligible for this promotion. Promotion credit subject to change without notice.

Buy a Car Online: How Shift’s Online Purchasing Works

Looking to buy a car online? With Shift’s online purchase process, you can purchase any car through our website and have it shipped to your door. So if you’re ready to take the leap and streamline your car buying process, we’ll work with you to make the process super easy. 

What is online purchasing?

Glad you asked! All Shift cars are eligible to be purchased without a test drive, sight-unseen, just like you’d order anything else online. Each car comes with our risk-free 7-day/200 mile return policy, plus we’re currently offering up to $350 off on shipping. We made this quick demo video to show you how it works on our website.

How do I actually buy a car online?

First, pick out the car you’d like to buy and click through the steps to buy the car. Once you place a deposit on it, we’ll give you a call to confirm the purchase and arrange delivery to have the car dropped off at your house. Then all you’ll have to do is wait for your new wheels to arrive! 

After the car has been delivered, you’ll have seven days or 200 miles, whichever comes first, to return it.

What Shift is doing during Coronavirus

Can I still do a return if a buy a car online? 

Yes – all cars, including our cars sold directly online, are eligible for our seven day/200 mile return for any reason. Simply call us at 855.744.3801 or email us at sales@shift.com and we’ll help to arrange a return for you.

buy a car online

What is the shipping fee? 

The shipping fee is applicable for cars purchased directly online, just as you’d pay a similar fee for other online purchases sent to your home. Please note that the shipping fee is different from other costs associated with Shift’s standard service fee, and only applies to the actual shipping cost of the vehicle itself. 

Shift Help Center

Can I still get financing if I buy a car online?

You sure can! You’ll have the option to get prequalified for a loan during your shopping process to be able to view cars based on your likely monthly payments. Or, you can apply for and choose an auto loan during the checkout process. You can also add vehicle protection plans and gap insurance at that time.

Please keep in mind that if you live outside of California, Oregon or Washington, there may be additional steps or complications – but our Purchase Advisors will help you through the process.

Do I have to pay anything upfront?

Yes – as with any of our cars that you plan to purchase, you’ll be asked to put a $100 deposit on the vehicle. Our sales team will then follow up with you to confirm the details of the purchase.  

Buying a used car safely: We’re giving all our cars antimicrobial treatment

In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a lot of people might be thinking about buying a used car safely. That’s why Shift is providing all our cars with an antimicrobial treatment that kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses without harsh chemicals. And for a limited time, we’re offering it for free. 

The treatment we use is a professional-grade treatment normally costs around $350. But while the crisis is ongoing, we’re temporarily providing it as a complimentary offering on every one of our cars in inventory.

Working through a car’s air vents, the solution is EPA-approved, nontoxic, pet- and child-safe solution. It’s also highly effective, killing over 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, mold, mildew and allergens. Plus, it keeps working continuously for years. 

We’ll apply this treatment as part of our standard cleaning and conditioning services before a car leaves our hub. So whether you buy a car online or book a test drive, any Shift car we bring you will have already been given this antimicrobial treatment. 

How Shift is doing its part during the COVID-19 crisis

What It Is

The treatment we use is a safe and effective antimicrobial solution for cars that kills bacteria, viruses, mold, mildew and allergens. It acts as a sealant, creating a coating on all surfaces of the car that can last for years. 

  • EPA approved
  • Non-toxic, kid- and pet-safe
  • Used in hospitals and medical facilities
  • Kills up to 99.9% of harmful microorganisms
  • Works continuously to last for years

How It Works

It works just like a car air freshener – the solution is applied through the car’s air vents. During the treatment, the nontoxic disinfectant is blown through the vents, coating all the surfaces of the car’s interior. The process takes about 20 minutes. 

This one-time treatment creates a protective barrier on the interior surfaces of your car that stays intact for years. So you don’t need to worry about cold and flu season, and you don’t have to waste your precious disinfecting wipes on your steering wheel anymore.  And you can rest assured you’re buying a used car safely. 

Shop cars at Shift

Coronavirus Updates & FAQ: What Shift Is Doing During COVID-19

Like all of you, we’re keeping a close watch on the developments around coronavirus (COVID-19). As part of our effort to keep our customers and communities safe, we’ll be posting regularly with new information. Below is a list of coronavirus updates and FAQs to help you stay in the know.

Detailed Coronavirus Updates

A Message from Shift’s CEOs – how we’re adjusting to keep you safe

Essential Workers Program & Community Pricing Initiatives

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Essential Workers program work? 

This program is intended for customers who are considered essential and frontline workers during the coronavirus including grocery store staff, utilities operators, government employees and medical professionals. If you feel you fit the description, please let your Shift representative know at the time of or before your appointment and they will confirm your discount status. 

This is an honor system, and will operate on a discretionary and availability basis, so please be advised that we cannot promise you will receive a discount or for what amount until your appointment. 

It will apply to cars both for local test drive appointments and cars purchased directly online, and will continue for as long as strict public health directives are in place. (Subject to change.)  

How does the no-contact test drive work?

Your Shift Car Concierge will show up at your home for your scheduled appointment. They’ll ask you for your driver’s license so we can verify it in our system. Once that’s done, the concierge will wipe down any frequently touched surfaces (including the interior and exterior of the car, keys, iPad, and driver’s license), hand you the keys, and then you get to go take the car out for a spin by yourself while the concierge waits for you at a designated meeting spot. At the end of your test drive, if you decide to buy the car, we’ll facilitate the transaction right then and there. If not, we’ll simply drive it back. 

Can I test drive a car without being in physical contact with anyone?

Yes, in two ways – first, you can use our no-contact test drives (see our question on this), or you can request a virtual test drive via video conference. 

I’ve scheduled a test drive. How will it work given social distancing measures? 

In an effort to reduce the spread of germs, we’re now exclusively offering no-contact test drives. That means we’ll bring you the car, wipe it down, and let you take it for a test drive on your own without a Shift Concierge present. In addition, our Concierge will avoid being in close proximity during your appointment and will not be shaking hands.  

Can I still sell or trade in a car to Shift?

Absolutely! We’re always interested in buying cars. You can get a free, no-obligation quote here. Our Shift concierge will come to your house to evaluate the car and give you a final offer on the spot. If you’re trading in a car, our Shift concierge will bring you the car you want to test drive, and if you want to trade in your old car for the new one, we’ll apply the trade-in credit on the spot. And if you’re not ready to commit just yet, you can always sell us your car without buying a new one just yet. 

How does direct online purchasing work?

Glad you asked! We made this quick demo video to show you how it works on our website. In a nutshell, all certified cars are eligible to buy directly online without a test drive. Once you place a deposit on it, we’ll give you a call to confirm the purchase and arrange delivery to have the car dropped off at your house. You’ll have seven days or 200 miles, whichever comes first, to return it if it ends up not working out for whatever reason. 

Can I still return a car if I buy it directly online? 

Yes – all cars, including our cars sold directly online, are eligible for our seven day/200 mile return for any reason. Depending on where it is, we may be able to pick the car up from you. Simply call or email us and we’ll help to arrange a return for you. 

Shift will waive the shipping fee for direct online sales. What does that mean?

The shipping fee is applicable for cars purchased directly online, just as you’d pay a similar fee for any other online purchase sent to your home. Please note that the shipping fee is different from other costs associated with Shift’s standard service fee, and only applies to the actual shipping cost of the vehicle itself. Shift will waive up to $350 off the fee. 

Can I still get financing for a car I buy online?

You sure can! You’ll have the option to get prequalified for a loan during your shopping process to be able to view cars based on your likely monthly payments. Or, you can apply for and choose an auto loan during the checkout process. You can also add vehicle protection plans and gap insurance at that time. 

Is there a deposit for Buy It Now?

Yes – as with any of our cars that you plan to purchase, you’ll be asked to put a $250 deposit on the vehicle. Our sales team will then follow up with you to confirm the details of the purchase.  

I tried getting a quote for my car. Why am I getting a message that you can’t accept it? 

Due to current market volatility, we’ve had to make some temporary adjustments to our seller program. Unfortunately, this has meant we’re not able to buy cars of certain makes, models, years and locations until conditions evolve. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause, and we’re here to answer any other questions you may have. Our seller team is always available. 

 

Last updated: 4/6/20

Helping Essential Workers During the COVID-19 Crisis

We know many of you, especially essential workers, still need safe, reliable, and affordable transportation while this crisis continues. We also recognize just how many people in our community have been adversely affected by it already. And with the current restrictions in place, Shift is for many people the only way to test drive and buy a car directly online right now, and will be for the near term. 

We want to help. That’s why we’ve created the Essential Workers Program and the Community Pricing Initiatives to help you get back on the road in the meantime.  

How does the Essential Workers program work? 

This program is intended for customers who are considered essential and frontline workers during the coronavirus including grocery store staff, utilities operators, government employees and medical professionals. If you feel you fit the description, please let your Shift representative know at the time of or before your appointment and they will confirm your discount status. 

This program will apply to cars both for local test drive appointments and cars purchased online, and will continue for as long as strict public health directives are in place. (Subject to change.)  This is an honor system, and will operate on a discretionary and availability basis, so please be advised that we cannot guarantee your discount status until your appointment. 

Here’s what services Shift is offering during the coronavirus closures

What is the Community Pricing Initiative? 

While Shift is one of the only places open on the market right now to buy a car, we recognize that many people in our communities have been adversely affected by the crisis. So we created a special, temporary price adjustment to give those in need an opportunity to buy cars at a discounted price. This is a first-come, first-served offering on vehicles currently available. The temporary pricing has already gone into effect, so the list price you see on a car’s vehicle listing page has been updated with the lower price.

Please let us know how else we can help. We’re all on this road together.

 

Stay safe,

Shift

Coronavirus Impact on Business: How We’re Dealing With It As Startup Founders

The ones who survive this are the ones who act decisively

The coronavirus impact on business the world over has already been monumental. As it has for almost everyone else across the country, the ongoing pandemic has had a huge impact on Shift, our employees, and our customers. The entire auto industry — indeed many industries — is facing lower demand across the board right now.

The Shelter-In-Place orders as well as the economic crisis that has developed as a result of the outbreak has forced us to take extremely difficult steps to ensure our company’s long-term durability.

We have had no choice but to furlough or reduce hours of close to 50% of our operations teams across the business. We have been able to ensure that furloughed employees will receive Shift’s excellent health benefits, and no employee has been furloughed because of sickness.

Additionally, we’ve had furloughs on the corporate level, while all of our salaried employees will be taking a 25% reduction in salary for at least eight weeks, though the timeline of this will be assessed as this crisis continues.

Taking these measures breaks our hearts. However, we are decisively taking these serious actions now to position Shift to weather this storm and come through it stronger. We extend our deepest sympathies and gratitude to the furloughed employees, some of whom volunteered, and we hope that all will return to Shift once we’re through these difficult times. As this crisis environment continues and we assess demand, it is possible we have to go further than this, but we hope to see higher demand than we had anticipated. If this happens, we would be able to bring our team members back to work. We are hopeful Congress passes the Keep Workers Paid Act quickly, and that measures in this legislation would allow us to reassess some of the steps we have been forced to take.

The Steps Shift is taking on COVID-19

Six years ago, Shift invented the concept of allowing a customer to shop for a car online, have a test drive delivered to them at their house, and complete the purchase fully digitally. We also offer the functionality to sell their car fully online. We are confident in Shift’s resilience and fortitude to continue serving customers over the long term because of these unique features. In the current environment, we believe that the need for privately-owned transportation options will increase dramatically, while demand for used cars will jump substantially (coupled with fall in demand for new cars). As a company, we will do everything we can to service customer needs through our test drive and purchase delivery capabilities.

We are currently living through a situation that is totally unprecedented. These times have also brought out the best of who we are as a team. We are encouraged by the stories of Shift employees looking out for each other, be it through covering shifts for a coworker who has to stay home to take care of their children, or the innovative practices we are adopting to ensure the health and safety of our colleagues and customers.

We want to thank our customers for bearing with us during uncertain times. We will do whatever we can to continue giving everyone safe access to reliable transportation throughout this period.

And we want to thank our employees for their continued hard work, adaptability, and dedication to their teammates, to our customers, and to the business.

Together, we’ll get through this.

Toby Russell & George Arison

Co-CEOs, Shift

A Message from Shift Co-CEOs on COVID-19

Like many of you, we’ve been closely monitoring the developing situation around the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and have been impacted by it. We recognize that transportation needs will continue as this crisis unfolds and are as committed as ever to helping you get where you need to go. 

The health and safety of our employees and customers is a top priority, and we want to take a moment to let you know what we’re doing to help.

For the time being, we’ve made the difficult decision to close some of our physical hubs to any customer visits. However, you can still buy a car with us without leaving your driveway.

Here’s what you can do:  

  • Shop online: We’ll bring the car to your home to test drive (virtual test drives are also available). *UPDATE: In support of social distancing, we are now offering No-Contact Test Drives. Your Shift Concierge will bring the car to you, wipe down the car and keys, and then hand it off to you to take it for a spin. 
  • Purchase online: We’ll drop the car off and waive up to $350 of any shipping fees during this time.
  • Sell us your car: We’ll come to you to evaluate it.

In addition, we’ve implemented the following procedures for the safety of our customers and staff:

  • Monitoring ongoing updates on COVID-19 from public health officials.
  • Following recommendations for reducing the spread of germs, including frequent, sustained hand-washing and using hand sanitizers. Our Car Concierge team will refrain from shaking hands or other close-proximity interactions. 
  • Disinfecting all vehicles before and after each test drive and frequently touched surfaces at our gated storage facilities multiple times per day — that includes things like common use areas; all car keys and iPads; and car door handles and steering wheels. 

Finally, we want to give a special thanks to our Car Concierge team who are going above and beyond in continuing to serve those customers in need of transportation options. 

We hope these measures and services can help alleviate some of the stress and burden during this time and encourage you to reach out if there’s anything further we can do.

Thanks as always for working with us. 

Toby Russell & George Arison

Co-CEOs

Where can I sell my car?

We’ve all been in that stressful quandary: “Where can I sell my car?” (Ideally, without getting lowballed.) Normally, selling a car is a somewhat time-sensitive endeavor; most of us can’t wait weeks and weeks to have it done with. Whether you’re moving, need the extra money to use towards a new car or some other large purchase, or something else entirely, the last thing you need is a lot of hoops to jump through to make it happen. But we also want a reasonable price for it.

It all depends on what your situation is. The key thing is to first determine what you’re optimizing for: do you want the most money possible for your car and are willing to wait however long it sell it? Or is the exact price not as important as getting it out of your driveway quickly? As they say, you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. But there is a compromise solution that will let you get the best of both worlds.

Where can I sell my car for top dollar?

We hate to say it but… yes, selling your car private party (like on Craigslist) is probably the best way to get the most money possible for your car. Because you’ll have the ultimate freedom to negotiate with buyers, you can determine what you’d like to get for the car and work backward from there to set a good price. The (major) drawback, as you might be able to guess, is that there’s no guarantee it will sell at that price and how long it might take to find a buyer. If you’re determined to go this route, godspeed! (Here are our tips for making the process go as smoothly as possible.)

Where can I sell my car fast?

As the saying goes: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Sometimes it’s easiest to know you’ll walk away with cash in hand. Companies like CarMax and We Buy Any Car will reportedly send you on your way with a bank draft or check to deposit immediately. Pretty nice, huh? The only downside is you have to come to one of their locations.

Where can I do both?

Some companies will offer a nice compromise between convenience and price. Shift, for example, can complete transactions in about an hour and because it uses algorithm-based pricing, ensures you’re getting a fair market-based price for your car. Plus, you don’t ever have to leave your driveway. Not too shabby!

There you have it! The quick-and-dirty rundown of where you can sell your car and the pros and cons of each.

How to Sell a Car on Craigslist — Part II

So you’ve done the (seemingly) tough part of listing your car to sell on Craigslist. But that’s only half the battle. Here’s your guide on how to find your car a new home, quickly and easily.

Step 1: Get your affairs in Order

Make sure you have all your paperwork lined up:

  • Title (If you have a loan on the vehicle, contact your bank to notify them of the sale. You won’t be able to get the title from them if you don’t, and without the title you can’t complete a sale.)
  • Registration
  • Dealer and repair paperwork (if you have it)
  • Contract of sale (also known as Bill of Sale)

If either the title or the registration are missing, you’ll have to apply for a replacement with the DMV. Luckily, this is a common process that is inexpensive and straightforward.

Image via Alexa Mazzarello

You’ll want to have two copies of a contract of sale, which can be downloaded from the internet and printed out. Some sellers will have a printout of their car’s Carfax history report and KBB price as well to pre-empt lowballers or aggressive negotiators.

Step 2: Schedule a test drive

Privacy and safety is important for both you and the buyer. You may want pick a public and convenient place to meet buyers, like a shopping center, and arrange a time that is relatively safe (for example, a weekend morning). Some buyers and sellers also choose to ask a friend or family member to come along with them for added safety (and moral support!), so be ready for it to be a party.

PRO TIP: Make sure to remind your buyer the time, date, location, and preferred form of payment to avoid any confusion.

The Lease Buyout: Getting Out of a Car Lease

Step 3: Prep your car to sell 

A couple hours before your scheduled test drive, give your car a once-over to get rid of any bits of trash and other unsightly elements, take it for a final wash and vacuum, and then go meet your buyer.

Some sellers insist on being in the car during the test drive, but it’s probably easier and more comfortable for both you and the buyer to just take a picture of their driver’s license and let them take it for a spin themselves.

Step 4: Sell Your Car (FINALLY!) 

If you’ve done all your work, pretty soon you’ll find yourself in the closing negotiations. It’s normal for buyers to negotiate for a better price. Decide beforehand a price that you won’t go below. If a buyer does try to go lower than that number, don’t be afraid to say no. It’ll only be a matter of time before you find someone else.

Closing the sale
Once you’ve agreed on a price, it’s time for the paperwork:

  • Collect your cashier’s check (politely decline personal checks)
  • Fill out the contract of sale
  • Transfer the title to the buyer

Since every state has slightly different laws, it’s best to do a Google search for car sales in your state to check if there’s additional documentation required. And that’s it! Cash your check at the bank and pat yourself on the back.

One thing to be aware of: Getting your car listed is generally fairly quick, but the process of actually selling your car on Craigslist often takes much longer — several weekends on average. If you’re on the West Coast and want to save some time, Shift can cut it down to about an hour or less.

Whatever way you choose to go, happy selling!