CarSolve offers a new way for online car sales


While Joe Cain started his career helping people improve their golf swing, the Battle Ground High School alumnus and entrepreneur now helps people receive the best price for their cars. Cain co-founded the Vancouver-based CarSolve to make the car selling process easier for people.

Cain, CEO of CarSolve, went to Battle Ground High School from 2004 to 2008 and was a member of the golf team. His leadership experience began when he became associated student body president his senior year, he said.

After a stint in Scottsdale, Arizona, Cain came back to Battle Ground to be head golf professional at the Cedars Golf Course. After that, he became the head golf professional at Elk Ridge Golf Course at Carson Hot Springs Resort. In Carson is where Cain started his current career in the auto industry.

“The owner of the club up there had a vehicle acquisition business in the auto industry,” Cain said. “He had a background in auto auctions, … and so he asked if I wanted to pivot and dabble in that business. So I said, ‘Sure, why not?’ So that’s kind of what got me started there, and to this day he is actually my business partner in CarSolve.”

CarSolve was founded by Cain and his business partner, Norm Hardy, in March of this year.

Before CarSolve opened, Cain said he and Hardy ran a third-party, “one-stop-shop” for the public to sell their car. Cain and Hardy then would wholesale the cars they bought to auto dealers.

At CarSolve, people sell their vehicles directly to the dealerships through an online auction.

“What we wanted to do was get maximum dollar back to the private party sellers,” Cain said.

Unlike other online car selling platforms, Cain said at CarSolve, a vehicle’s selling price is not determined by an algorithm based on market trends and current marketplace supply and demands.

When using those platforms, auto dealers have to take into consideration space, detailing, transporting it from a different region of the country, and so on, Cain said.

“So that’s when we thought, ‘OK, how can we come in and connect the two? How can we come in and essentially allow the private party seller to maximize the exposure on their vehicle in a very safe and controlled environment and market it to real-time licensed, bonded and insured buyers who have a very good handle on the market,’ ” he said. “And if we can create competition in that aspect, that would drive up the sale price for those clients.”

Cain adds the idea of CarSolve is like being the real estate agent of the auto industry.

“We’ve got a group of professional vehicle listing agents … We start by going through a vehicle valuation with our clients. We’ve got access to all the instant offer tools,” Cain said. “We’ve got access to all of the guidebooks that essentially populate values on these vehicles based on the market.”

Through CarSolve, sellers can set a minimum sale price on their vehicle that bidding dealerships can’t see. Once a bid offer is accepted by the seller at the auction, they pay a $249 fee that reveals the winning dealer and their information. The auction process is confidential until an offer is accepted, Cain said.

Cain said that CarSolve has helped a lot of people who bought cars during the pandemic that would like to move on due to high car payments or other reasons.

“You got a lot of people that are like, ‘Oh man, I still owe like $3,000 to $4,000 more on my loan than what my car is now worth,’ ” Cain said. “How do we get through that scenario? We are like a support system. It’s a resource. It’s an agency, and, if anything, it’s a connector of sellers with vehicles that the dealerships want.”

Cain added that in those cases, dealers will pay off the remaining money owed to the lender as well as give the money to the seller that was earned in the sale.

For dealerships, CarSolve has been helping them out not only with an easier method of filling the used car lot, but also gaining buyers to their other vehicles, as well. 

“About 35% of our clients that are selling vehicles through CarSolve are, in turn, buying vehicles at the dealership that they sell their car at,” Cain said.    

For more information about CarSolve, visit