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Selling a motorcycle can seem like a daunting task, especially when you’re thinking about using the internet to advertise your sale. You can fall for many scams when you advertise on the internet.
I’ve sold over twenty motorcycles, and have used every possible platform to sell them. Craigslist has helped me a lot and I’ve had great success in selling my motorcycles. These are essential tips I’ve discovered that can help you sell your motorcycle easily on this platform.
Understand How Much It’s Worth
Before selling any motorcycle, you’ll need to understand how much it’s worth. And this doesn’t mean how much you think it’s worth. You’ll need to do some actual research about the value of your motorcycle and sell it around that price.
NADA guides, an online platform that quickly gives you prices, is a good way to determine the approximate price of your motorcycle. They provide accurate information and buyers will be using this site to check the value and prices of motorcycles before buying.
You can also look on Craigslist to see similar bikes for sale in the same condition as yours and compare their prices. The Craigslist postings will say how long it’s been up which can give you a good idea of how long it takes to sell that particular bike and for how much.
You must be open to negotiations
It is important to be open to negotiations when selling any vehicle. Most buyers expect it. It’s okay to say “firm on price” in your listing, but just know that you’ll get a lot less interested buyers to come look at the motorcycle or even contact you.
But won’t you lose money if you become willing to negotiate? If you do it correctly, not necessarily. You can make the bike more expensive than you really expect to get from it. For example, if you have an 1981 Honda CB650 that’s worth about $1,200, you’ll probably want to post it for about $1,500.
The fact that you’re willing to take the price down a few hundred dollars makes the buyer feel like they’re getting a deal which in turns helps them become more willing to follow through with the sale.
Register for a Craigslist account
This section will explain how Craigslist works. In order to sell your motorcycle, you must create an account. Craigslist is completely free to use and registration is easy.
If you don’t live in a country, go to Craigslist.com. Click on US near top. A list of states and the areas within them will appear. Click on the location you are interested in. You will find the word on the left side. “Craigslist,” Click on “create a posting.” A menu with the types of postings you wish to make will appear. Click on the circle. “for sale by owner.”
Next, you’ll choose a category which will be “motorcycles/scooters – by owner.” Next, fill out the information. Craigslist will ask you what information you require. Craigslist will ask you for the information indicated in green if you want to proceed to the next step. It is important to gather as much information as you can.
The next step will ask for your address which you don’t need to do. Click here “continue.” Now is the time you’ll need to add your images (which will be discussed in the next section). Click “continue” after you’ve uploaded the pictures.
You will see a preview of how your post will look on the next page. If you’re satisfied with how it looks, click “publish” Your listing will be live shortly. It usually takes around half an hour for your listing’s to appear.
Take Good Pictures
When selling your motorcycle on Craigslist, taking good photos of it is one of the most important things you can do. And a lot of people either skip it or don’t pay much attention to this part of the process.
You can take a few pictures of your motorcycle in your backyard and call it good. But that doesn’t attract attention to your bike. You’re no different than everyone else posting their motorcycle for sale.
Get your motorcycle out of the garage or backyard, clean it up and place it in a cool background. That’s way better than seeing the wood pile or dead plants in the background of your backyard.
Photograph a lot. If you’re able, use a friend’s nice camera so it can figure out the aperture and lighting for you. If something like that isn’t accessible, it’s still okay to use your phone.
You can take pictures from all angles of your motorcycle. Pick your favorite 10 – 15 pictures and post them on your listing. Let the potential buyer feel like they’re already getting to know your motorcycle through the pictures you post. You will get more attention for your bike, I guarantee it.
Please Give a detailed description
A good description of your motorcycle is essential. People say that having a long description isn’t a good idea, but I would beg to differ. I’ve gotten way more contacts every time I had a long description of the motorcycle I was selling.
Again, let the potential buyer feel like they’re already getting attached to your motorcycle. You don’t necessarily need to tell your life story, but tell them all the specs of your bike, any customizing you’ve done, and any interesting facts you know about it. This is what people eat.
Advertise Your Contact Information
It is amazing how many people forget to include their contact information when selling motorcycles online, especially Craigslist. Craigslist makes it easy to oversee leaving your contact information which means you’ll only be getting emails from potential buyers. People don’t check their email as much as they do their phone.
Leave your number and email address. It is risky leaving this contact information out there, but if you want to sell your motorcycle using Craigslist and you want to sell it fast, you’re just going to have to take that risk. The worst that can happen is you’ll get annoying phone calls from solicitors.
And don’t forget to answer texts or phone calls from numbers you don’t recognize. I usually don’t answer my phone from a number I don’t know except when I’m selling a motorcycle. Be sure that your mailbox isn’t full so people can leave a voice mail if you’re unable to answer.
Scammers will be waiting for you
There’s really no way to sugar-coat this fact. Craigslist will send scammers to you whenever you use it. Unfortunately, this is one of the drawbacks of using this platform. Luckily, they’re pretty easy to catch and I can tell you how.
Scammers are usually found sending emails or texts; they rarely call. Their grammar is always terrible and they’ll come up with some crazy story like “I’m out of the country for a few months but want to buy your motorcycle. Let me send you the money via Paypal and have you ship it to me.”
They’ll also usually offer to pay a lot more than what your asking price is plus extra for shipping. They will send money to you via paypal or a fake cheque to make it appear sincere. The scammers trick people into sending their stuff. Once they receive it, the Paypal balance disappears and the check bounces.
You can ignore any message that contains any of these characteristics. You can keep your safety by only selling your motorcycle to someone who is able to physically transport it and can offer a legal way to pay.
It might take time
Craigslist is not a good place to sell a motorcycle unless you need quick cash. I’ve had a lot of success using Craigslist to sell my motorcycles, but sometimes it takes a little bit of time to get the right buyer.
You’ll likely get several calls from people asking questions about it and even have several people come and look at it. You’ll also probably get a few tire kickers, especially if you are selling a rare or souped-up bike. It’s often frustrating and may leave you thinking you’ll never sell it.
Even though it may take some time to sell, the right buyer will eventually find you. If you’ve had it posted for more than two weeks with no real interested buyers, consider lowering the price or changing the description.
There are no hold ups
One thing I’ve learned about selling a motorcycle on Craigslist is that while most people are decent and considerate, there are some out there that are just completely rude. Too often, someone asked me to hold their motorcycle (which I did and turned away other potential buyers) only for the first buyer to come up to me. They not only wasted my time but also lost me real sales opportunities.
Never, as a rule of thumb. “hold” The motorcycle is for everyone. This should be stated clearly in your listing as well as your interactions with others. It’s okay to say that the motorcycle will go to whoever hands you the cash first. There’s no reason to give loyalty to one person because there’s a big chance they won’t pull through with the sale.
Let the people ride it
Many people are hesitant about letting others test drive their motorcycles. They have good reasons. Letting a stranger take your motorcycle can be a scary thought because there’s the potential of them crashing it, stealing it, etc.
However, there are also positive aspects. you’re going to have a hard time selling your motorcycle if you aren’t willing to let people take it for a ride. They’re giving you a lot of money for it, so it’s only fair they know exactly what they’re getting into once they buy it.
I have always let potential buyers ride my motorcycles that I’ve sold. Only those who are serious about the purchase will be allowed to take it on a ride. If it makes you feel a little bit more at ease, have some sort of collateral against the person such as a down payment in cash or a picture of their driver’s license. To learn more about letting a buyer ride your motorcycle, see my other article.
Make sure you have the title ready
If you own your motorcycle, meaning you don’t have a lien on it, then you will need to have the title readily available to give to the buyer. It’s very attractive to mention that you have the title in front of you on your Craigslist listing.
If you own the motorcycle but have lost the title or don’t have it for whatever reason, obtain a new one. In most states, it’s actually illegal to sell a motorcycle without giving the new owner the title (unless there are loans involved). And it’s also much easier for you as the owner to get a new title than it is for the new buyer to get one. They’ll likely have to come back and bother you for signatures and such.
It’s just good practice to have the title ready. People like to know they’re not going to have trouble registering their newly purchased motorcycle, so you’ll likely sell it a lot faster. Click here to read my article about why you should have a title for selling a motorcycle.
It’s still completely possible to sell a motorcycle that still has a lien on it. Be open with potential buyers about the fact that the transaction must take place at your bank. For more information on how to sell motorcycles with liens, see my article.
Make sure you have a bill ready
Alongside having your title readily available to hand over to the new owner, you’ll also want to have a bill of sale ready, too. Usually the buyer is the one who should provide this, but a lot of people forget or aren’t even aware you need one in the first place.
I recommend you have one ready because the buyer will be coming back and bothering you for signatures later if one isn’t filled out. To register the motorcycle in your name, the buyer will need a bill to sell you. It will make things easier for you both later.
Be Picky About How You’re Paid
If there’s anything you’re going to be particularly picky on while selling your motorcycle on Craigslist, it should be how you’re paid. Cash or a check handed directly to you by a bank worker is the only type of payment that you should never accept.
These rules can save you a lot of frustration. You might be approached by people who may offer to negotiate installment plans, or even pay you with a personal cheque.
While they could really be an honest person, you don’t know that for sure. Only accepting cash or a check directly at the bank will protect against fraud and help prevent your motorcycle being stolen.
After the sale, immediately discontinue your insurance
When you sell your motorcycle, contact your insurance company immediately to inform them. You can do this while the buyer is leaving your driveway. Most bigger insurance agencies will have 24/7 contact so you shouldn’t have an issue doing this. Leave a message to your smaller insurance agency indicating the date and the time that the motorcycle was sold.
Two reasons are why I do this. The first reason is that you don’t need to insure a motorcycle that you don’t own. If I don’t do it right then, I’ll probably forget to do it until a week or two down the road which means I’ve paid for part of a premium that didn’t benefit me at all.
This is my second reason. The new buyer may use your insurance to help cover any injuries they sustain if they are involved in an accident.
After the Sale, Take Your Listing Off
Last but not least, once you have sold your motorcycle, don’t forget to take your listing off of Craigslist as soon as you get a chance. A Craigslist posting will stay active for about 30 days and will expire, but if you sell your motorcycle before then you’ll need to take it down.
This will make it easier for you to communicate with potential buyers and save you lots of frustration. It’s pretty annoying for buyers to call you asking about the motorcycle only to have you tell them that you already sold it. And it’s annoying for you to have to deal with people contacting you about a motorcycle you don’t own anymore.