A guide to selling you van: how to get the best price
Looking to move your van on? Make sure you get the best deal by following our guide to selling your van.
Some vans seem like they will just run and run. We’ve all seen vans that look past their prime still trundling on, but at some point you’ll no doubt want to move your faithful friend on.
Whether you are considering selling your van to get a new model, or it’s become surplus to requirements and it would be more useful for you to have the cash, you’ll want to make sure that you get the best price for it.
There are a number of areas to consider before putting your van up for sale, so we’ve put together a list of tips to point you in the right direction.
Make a van valuation
Before you do anything you need to get an accurate idea of what price you can expect your van to fetch.
Van valuation isn’t an exact science, but there are some easy ways to get a good starting figure. To get this you’ll need to get hold of the following information:
- Make of your van
- Van model
- Year of manufacture
With these details on hand you should be able to value your van reasonably accurately.
It’s also important to be brutally honest about the van’s general condition. If it has rust on the bodywork, scuffed bumpers and paint, or dents and other issues this will obviously impact the price considerably, and give people strong bargaining positions to try and drive down the price.
You can get a van valuation by looking in various car and van magazines at the prices for vans that are a similar age and model to yours.
You’ll also find many online sites that will give you a guide price using just your registration and mileage.
Where to sell a van
When it comes to venues for selling your van your options are pretty simple.
The first (and most popular) option take out an advert in a magazine, newspaper or online. It makes sense to consider the bigger venues like Auto Trader, but don’t neglect your local paper’s ‘For Sale’ section. Online you can explore many of the vehicle selling sites, or try places like Gumtree and of course eBay.
Beyond that, you can choose to go with a van or car dealer.
You can find local dealers by looking online, and there are also national dealers as well.
Where to sell a van depends on what type of sale you want, which we’ll cover next.
Part exchange your van, private sale, or dealer sale?
There is more than one way to go about selling your van, and you have to decide whether you’ll part exchange it, sell it outright to a dealer, or sell it privately. Each route has its own benefits and drawbacks. Let’s take a look at each.
Sell your van privately
The plus points of a private sale are:
- Higher price - You’ll generally be able to command a better price when selling privately, because you’re not selling to a dealer who has one eye on their profit margins.
- You’re in control - It’s your van and you’re selling it, so you have the upper hand.
But selling your van privately also comes with downsides:
- Time-consuming - You have to write an advert, take pictures of your van, handle all the enquiries, be there to let people inspect and test drive it, deal with bargaining and all the financial and legal aspects.
- Stressful - Because you have all of the above to arrange, it can get pretty aggravating trying to sell a van. Most people really struggle with the bartering side, especially if things get heated.
Selling your van to a dealer
Going direct to a dealer has a couple of upsides:
- Convenient - You can take your van to a dealer and they will value your van for you. When sale time comes they can walk you through all the necessary details and make the payment to you.
- Quick price - Most dealers will give you a price fairly quickly, and you don’t have to do any work. Whether you’ll be happy with that price is another issue though.
On the other hand, selling to a dealer has its cons too:
- Lower price - Dealers have to make sure that they can sell your van on at a tidy profit or realise its value in other ways, such as for parts. This means their offer of a ‘buy it now’ price will be considerably lower than what you can get privately.
- Lack of control - When you sell outright to a dealer remember that they’re holding the money, and they may not desperately need another van. This means bartering with them can be more difficult than with a private buyer.
Part exchange your van
If you want to get a different van then part exchange is a sensible option for the following reasons:
- Quick sale - When you part exchange your van you can expect the deal to be done pretty quickly. The dealer will check the van over and all its documentation then give you a price for it against the vehicle of your choice.
- Off-set your van against a new one - You don’t have to shop around for a new van, the dealer just deducts the part exchange price off the new vehicle and away you go.
The only real negative aspect of part exchange is:
- Lower price - As with selling outright, the dealer needs to know they can make money when they move your van on, so the price they offer will usually be lower than a private sale.
The best way to sell a van
We’ve looked at how to get a valuation of your van, where you could try to sell it and the pros and cons of different methods of selling.
So now it’s time to go through a checklist that will give you the best way to sell a van, and make sure you get the sale you need.
1. Get your documents in order
When selling your van, no matter if it’s privately or through a dealer, people will want to know it’s yours and not a stolen vehicle, so make sure you have your registration certificate. If you’ve lost it then apply for a replacement using Form V62, which you can get from the DVLA website or at your local Post Office. Also be sure to collate the van’s MOT certificates, service history and details of any maintenance work carried out.
2. Clean it up
Make sure your van looks good inside and out. Give it a thorough clean, and if there are any minor cosmetic issues, such as some scuffs to the paintwork, then make them good as best as you’re able. Top up the oil and screenwash, check your tyre pressure and make sure there are no issues with the engine, gearbox and other parts; even something as minor as a sticky clutch could ruin a sale. If you need help then check out our tips on van maintenance.
3. Get the advert right
If you’re selling the van privately then take time writing up the advert. Include all of the relevant information: make, model, year, engine size, mileage, colour, features such as power steering, price and your contact details. Make sure you highlight things people care about, like low mileage or that you have a full service history, to entice buyers.
4. Prepare for bartering
Nobody likes to feel like they’ve lost out on a deal, so set yourself a minimum price that you want to achieve and stick to it no matter what. If people try to negotiate you lower then you just have to politely decline.
5. Manage appointments
If you’re selling your van privately then keep a log of all appointments so you don’t forget them. Make them at times that are convenient for you, and allow enough time for the potential buyer to fully inspect the van and take it for a test drive. Always accompany them as a passenger on the test drive, and never hand over the keys before you’re in the vehicle. Remember that anyone test driving your van will need to have appropriate private van insurance or commercial van insurance. To be on the safe side, additional driver cover can be added to your existing van insurance policy.
6. Decide a payment method
You can accept cash of course, but make sure you have a way to check the notes are legitimate such as note scanner or counterfeit detector pen. The alternative is to have the buyer do a transfer to your account, use a banker’s draft or a cheque. If you accept these forms of payment, never hand over the keys until funds are in your account. A genuine buyer won’t mind waiting a few days for everything to clear.
7. Notify the DVLA and your insurer
Once you have made the sale be sure to notify the DVLA in the correct manner that you are no longer the owner. Also call your van insurance company and let them know too.
Selling your van can be stressful, but it doesn’t need to be. Hopefully these tips will make your sale quick and successful. And remember if you’re buying a new van after the sale, make sure you get the van insurance you need.