How to Safely and Successfully Sell a Motorcycle During a Health Crisis
Perhaps you’d like to make a bit of cash by selling your motorcycle. Naturally, given the current health crisis, you may be unsure if it’s even possible to do so.
The good news is (despite the current health crisis) ChopperExchange has had a 72% increase in buyer inquiries this May in comparison to last May 2019.
There are many riders out there who are searching for motorcycles to buy. So much so, they are actively exploring their options and reaching out to sellers on our website.
Understandably, selling your motorcycle is not your only concern. We know that protecting your health is more important now than ever. Fortunately, if you are determined to sell your motorcycle now, there are precautions you can take to protect your health.
Make sure that you follow the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidance for stopping the spread.
*Please note, the CDC recommendations that we mention in this post will be stated as such. All other advice mentioned are mere suggestions. As always, consult a medical professional for information and advice on protecting your health and overall wellbeing.
Also, keep in mind that the CDC’s advice may change over time as more information is gathered on COVID-19. These are their guidelines as of June 9, 2020.*
In addition to maintaining your personal health, you’ll want to assure potential buyers that you will take the necessary precautions to protect their health as well. And, it’s important that you communicate exactly what those steps are.
There’s no way to know for certain if or when your particular motorcycle will sell (within or outside of a pandemic, for that matter). However, there are several steps you can take to make sure the odds are in your favor.
To find out how you can sell your bike safely and successfully, continue reading below.
Certainly, the best way to sell your motorcycle amid the current health crisis is to do so online.
In order to minimize the risk of getting sick, you should, of course, limit your contact with others. Therefore, it’s best to only meet with serious buyers to complete the transaction.
In order to sell your motorcycle successfully online, it’s important to make your listing attractive to potential buyers. To see how, continue reading below.
Since you do not intend to meet up with every single person who inquires about your motorcycle, it’s important to upload quality photos to your listing to allow prospective buyers to get a really good feel for what your bike looks like. On ChopperExchange, you can post an unlimited number of images. We recommend posting a minimum of five really good ones.
You can use some of the pictures you already have on your camera or computer, or you can take new ones. We recommend following these guidelines:
- Clear, non-blurry images
- Good lighting
- Photos from all angles (i.e.: front, sides, back, top)
- Close-ups (i.e.: odometer, entertainment center, engine, tires, damage, etc).
Providing a video isn’t a necessity, but it may tip the scale for a potential buyer.
Above anything else, buyers want to avoid buying a lemon motorcycle. They know that a motorcycle can look great on the outside but be in bad shape mechanically.
To reduce concern, you can include a video of the motorcycle being started cold and running for a few minutes. As it’s running, circle the bike to show it off from all angles. And, don’t be afraid to add some commentary!
Make sure your listing is detailed, organized and transparent. The information in your description box should be of value to potential buyers.
Just think of all the details you’d want to know before reaching out to a seller. Copying and pasting the model specs from the manufacturer’s website just won’t cut it.
Also, avoid writing a lengthy description. You should provide detailed information, but avoid wordy paragraphs. Bullet points are perfect because they’re easy to skim through.
We also recommend listing the best things about your motorcycle at the top of the description so that they are not overlooked when a buyer is browsing.
A good listing description should mention things such as:
- The things you love about the motorcycle
- The motorcycle’s best features
- New parts or recent upgrades
- The condition of the motorcycle
- Having proof of maintenance
- Having a clean title
- Health precautions you are willing to take (in regards to COVID-19)
- A brief statement on why you are selling your bike
- Aesthetic damage or mechanical issues (and state how that is reflected in the price)
An example of a good listing description:
- Rides smooth!
- Beautiful custom paint job! Always gets compliments.
- Only 800 miles!
- Milwaukee-Eight 107 V-Twin engine
- In good condition
- Only one owner
- New tires installed April 2020
- Custom Rinehart Chrome Exhaust Pipes
- I’m selling because I’m no longer able to ride for health reasons.
- The only damage is minor scratches on the gas tank.
- All maintenance has been performed by Harley-Davidson.
- Maintenance documents can be provided upon request.
- COVID-19 concerns:
- I will sanitize the bike.
- I can wear a mask during the meetup for the transaction.
- We can meet in a neutral, open area/place, where we can keep a reasonable distance apart.
- Motorcycle shipping is also an option. Many companies offer zero-contact shipping.
For more detailed advice on how to write the perfect listing description, check out our ultimate guide to selling a motorcycle. This guide also has step-by-step instructions, tips and advice on the entire motorcycle selling process!
In order to successfully sell your motorcycle, it is important to share, discuss and provide certain information to serious buyers. To see how best to communicate with buyers, continue reading below.
Respond to Inquiries in a Timely Manner
First things first. When selling a motorcycle, you should speak with buyers at their peak interest. If you wait too long, they may talk themselves out of buying your bike or simply find a different one.
In order to respond quickly to inquiries, make sure you provide buyers with contact information that you will readily respond to. If you never answer your house phone and don’t check the messages left on it, you shouldn’t list that phone number on your bike listing.
Provide Proof of Maintenance
Make sure that you offer to send serious buyers proof of your motorcycle’s maintenance history.
If you are unable to find these documents, you can always call and ask your repair shop to email the records to you.
If your motorcycle needs minor repairs, and you have motorcycle knowledge, you can do the repairs yourself. This way, you can avoid going to the shop and having any further contact with other people.
If your motorcycle is in need of a major repair, fixing it may add to its perceived value. In that case, you may decide to send it to your local repair shop.
To be safe, search for a shop that is taking the necessary precautions to stop the spread. Many companies have information on their websites.
If not you don’t see details on their website, call the repair shop and ask them about the precautions they are taking. Many motorcycle dealerships offer curbside drop-off and pick-up for service appointments.
Once you receive your motorcycle from the repair shop or dealership, it’s a good idea to sanitize it. We’re experts on buying and selling motorcycles but not on health and disease control. So, for expert advice on sanitization, check out this information from the CDC.
Furthermore, serious buyers may be interested in seeing more of your bike than what’s visible on the listing. Some buyers will also want to verify that you are actually in possession of the bike.
Since you are trying to avoid as much contact with others as possible, you can offer to video chat or Facetime them. This way, the buyer can meet the person behind the listing, see more of the bike and verify ownership before even meeting in person for the exchange.
You can even verify your identity and of ownership by showing them your ID and Title Certificate.
Just make sure you cover any sensitive information. Depending on which stage of the selling process you’re in, you might not have enough info to determine if the buyer is legitimate or a scammer.
For more information on how you can avoid fraudsters, check out our blog post on online motorcycle buying and selling scams.
As mentioned earlier, many shipping companies are currently offering zero-contact delivery services. This option may make interested buyers feel more comfortable purchasing your motorcycle.
We don’t necessarily recommend suggesting a specific shipping company to an interested buyer. It could cause them to suspect that you are a scammer.
Many popular scam tactics involve a “seller” recommending a specific shipping company to a buyer. Unbeknownst to the buyer, the shipping company is fake. It’s all a ploy to steal the seller’s motorcycle, money and/or sensitive information.
For this reason, simply inform the buyer that many shippers are offering zero-contact shipping to protect their customers from COVID-19.
Let them know that most shipping companies are still operating and most have information on their website which details their due diligence in stopping the spread.
Protect the well being of yourself and others during the exchange by considering the steps below.
Meet Outside Your Home
When selling your motorcycle, it’s best if you do not invite the buyer inside your home. You don’t want to risk exposing your household to the virus, especially if you live with people at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
You can protect both yourself and the buyer by meeting in an open space, such as your driveway, a parking lot or a public park.
Wear A Mask
There has been a lot of controversy regarding mask-wearing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But, you’d rather be safe than sorry.
As of June 3, 2020, the “CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations.” For more information, you can check out this CDC post on mask-wearing.
In addition to wearing a face mask yourself, you should also have an extra one on hand, in case the buyer shows up without a mask.
Sanitize the Bike
In addition to washing your motorcycle, it’s a good idea to sanitize it before giving it to the buyer.
You can either do so before you meet up with them. Or, you can sanitize the high-touch points at the exchange. At a minimum, doing so may ease their mind. After all, you don’t want the buyer to get cold feet at the meetup.
Keep a Safe Distance
The CDC recommends that you “stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people” to reduce the spread. Obviously, if you’re willing to sell your bike in-person during this time, then you’re willing to be in the close contact required for the exchange.
Even though you will be in close proximity with another person, you can still maintain a reasonable distance apart when going over the title, signing documents and completing the transaction.
Money is known for being filthy and covered in germs. So, cash may not be something you’re interested in touching these days.
However, requesting cash-only payment for your motorcycle helps you in two ways:
- You won’t have to worry about a bouncing check, fake money order, PayPal fraud or other scams.
- You can deposit your money via the ATM to avoid going inside your bank and having further contact with others.
Use Escrow Instead
If you are selling your motorcycle to someone outside your area or you want to play it safe regardless of where the buyer lives, we recommend that you use an escrow service.
An escrow company is a neutral party that’s job is to protect both buyer and seller. It is a third party that receives payment from the buyer and releases the money to the seller once the purchased good has been successfully shipped and is in the buyer’s possession.
Furthermore, it’s not unusual during times of economic hardship for there to be an increase in cybercrime.
We do not recommend accepting wire transfers or payment via cash transferring apps because they are hot-spots for scams. If you do use one of these services, make sure you don’t give up the bike until you have proof that the funds are in your account.
Don’t accept payment confirmation screenshots or use links and phone numbers provided by the buyer. Contact your financial institution directly and make sure the funds were deposited successfully and have completely processed.
Woo hoo! At this point, you’ve successfully sold your motorcycle. There’s only one more thing we suggest you do.
Wash Your Hands
After the exchange, you’ll want to avoid touching your face until you can clean your hands. The CDC recommends that you do the following:
- “Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.”
- “If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.”
So, If you’ll be handling the exchange at your residence, simply go inside and immediately wash your hands. If you plan to meet the buyer in a neutral place, don’t forget to bring your hand sanitizer with you.
The spread of COVID-19 has impacted the way we all go about our daily lives. Thankfully, there are steps we can take to try and maintain some sort of normalcy. And, what’s a better pandemic pick-me-up than a handful of cash?!
Would you like to sell your motorcycle, today?
If so, you can list your motorcycle for sale now! If you’re not quite sure yet, check out these motorcycle selling resources!