Selling Your Motorcycle Privately vs. Trading It In at a Dealership

When considering selling your motorcycle, one of the first decisions you must make is whether you should take it to a dealership or sell it privately. There are many factors to be considered when making this decision, but luckily, you have choices.

As the Internet continues to expand and people slowly shift away from the traditional methods of selling their vehicles, selling your bike privately isn’t nearly the challenge it used to be. On the other hand, some may find it easier to just take it to a dealership and be done with it in one fell swoop.

We are here to help you explore all avenues and help you make the selection that is most comfortable for you.

Bang for your Buck

Obviously, one of the most important things to decide is the amount of money you want to get back for parting with your ride.

You have put years of precious time on the road with your bike and emptied your pockets on routine maintenance, repairs, and upgrades. It’s important that you receive proper financial compensation for your previously invested time and money.

In short, you have a much better chance of hitting a bigger payday if you attempt to sell your motorcycle to a private consumer. Taking your bike to a dealership simply creates a middleman.

A dealership will offer you less money because they have to afford to be able to sit on the inventory they accumulate while still making a profit. If they bought your bike for what it’s worth to the average Joe, they wouldn’t make any money.

You also must take into consideration that it costs money to run a business, and they must pay their employees to turn around and sell the motorcycle that you just sold to them. Their offer may even drop lower based on other factors, such as a certain dealership already displaying rides comparable to yours.

Oftentimes, you will lose hundreds or even thousands of dollars when selling to a dealership. Fortunately, Kelley Blue Book has a neat tool that provides you with typical trade-in values and listing prices for many motorcycles on the market.

If you are interested in listing your bike with us, ChopperExchange also has a Bike Price Report tool. After plugging in your year, make and model, this report gives you the most expensive, least expensive and average listing price of that model.

It also tells you the total number of that particular model already listed on the site, as well as the number of registered buyers currently seeking that model.

Using both tools and comparing different  price points on your specific bike may help you make a better-informed decision.

Speed of Sale

Although you may receive less money back when selling your motorcycle to a dealership rather than handling it privately, you may want to consider this option if time is of the essence.

Sure, taking your bike to trade in at a dealership may take up a large chunk of your off-day afternoon. However, if you’ve already decided this is the route you’d like to take, you should have a decent idea of what they’ll be willing to offer and come prepared to negotiate.

It is virtually impossible to predict exactly when you will sell your ride when putting it on the open market yourself. This may ring especially true if it’s a bike that is not currently in high demand or if it’s a model that is more than just a few years old.

There are actually certain seasons throughout the year that the motorcycle market is affected by. It could take weeks or even months depending on other extenuating circumstances, too.

The negotiating process at a dealership can sometimes be exhausting. Nevertheless, if you need the money quickly or owning your motorcycle has simply become more of a hassle than a pleasure, this may be the best avenue for you.

Personal Effort Required

Parting with your motorcycle is going to require some sort of effort on your behalf, whether you decide to take it to a dealership or handle it yourself. You won’t just be able to snap your fingers and replace the motorcycle in your garage with cash in your hand.

As previously mentioned, you may have to spend a well-earned day off in order to negotiate a transaction at a dealership. If you’re set on getting rid of it at what both parties mutually agree is a fair deal, that’s about all it takes. Selling the motorcycle to its next rider becomes their obligation now.

Selling your motorcycle yourself will require more time and energy on your end. You’ll have to take photos of your bike and ensure you’re knowledgeable about its specifications. Some potential buyers may require that you provide documentation of its history.

On top of that, you then have to sort through text messages, emails and phone calls, and determine which inquiries are valid and which are illegitimate.

Once you figure out which ones are legitimate, you must then coordinate visits for test rides and negotiations. Finally, you must pray you don’t come across too many tire kickers.

All of this can seem pretty exhausting, but fortunately you don’t have to go at it alone. Here at ChopperExchange, our goal is to help you sell your motorcycle as quickly as possible.

You can create a listing and have your bike up and ready to be viewed by thousands of motorcycle consumers in just a few minutes.

Our team is ready and waiting to answer any questions you may have from the beginning steps of listing your bike all the way through its completed sale.

Safety of Sale

If you decide to sell your motorcycle to a dealership, you can rest assured that it will be a safe transaction. You may think some places are trying to lowball you, but no reputable dealer will completely rip you off.

Any transaction made with a dealership will be safe, no matter the form of tender they offer you.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about private consumers. Chances are that most people who inquire about your motorcycle will be real customers looking to pay real money, but there are exceptions every now and then.

There will always be spammers and scammers out there attempting to steal your time, money and personal information. It’s an inevitable part of executing transactions online.

Fortunately for ChopperExchange patrons, our team checks for spam every day. We do our best to communicate about potential fraud, but ultimately it’s up to you to make good decisions.

Never conduct business via wire transfer programs like Western Union or MoneyGram. Insist on requiring cash or involving a third party with an escrow service.

When in doubt, always trust your gut. If something seems fishy or too good to be true, it almost always is.

Passing of the Torch

Parting with a motorcycle can be a very bittersweet moment for many owners. Few, if any, people buy a motorcycle out of pure necessity. It’s not just something to get you from point A to point B like cars are mostly treated. It’s a lifestyle.

You’ve made memories to last a lifetime with these wheels on the open road. Maybe you don’t really want to part ways, but other factors in your life have governed you to make this decision. Wouldn’t you like to know who gets the opportunity to carry on the legacy of your ride?

If you sell your motorcycle to a dealership, you’ll never know what happens to it after that. Many strangers will look at it, touch it, test ride it and eventually someone will ride off into the sunset with it. Someone you never even got to speak one word with.

There is somewhat of a special kinship among riders. Think about how much time and care you have put into your machine, especially if you’re the original owner.

If not, think about who you acquired it from. If you purchased it at a dealership, don’t you think it would have been nice to have a conversation with the initial owner about it?

This bike has become your pride and joy. Something that for some period of your life helped define who you are. This certainly isn’t a requirement by any means.

However, with something as unique as a motorcycle that you’ve made such a deep connection with, it may be comforting to know who you’re passing the torch to.

The Decision

Although some of the categories we have recapped favor selling your motorcycle to a dealership overdoing it privately, this doesn’t necessarily mean this is the right fit for everyone. It’s important to realize that these factors should and will carry different weight in different sellers’ eyes.

If you need the cash quickly and want to be ensured of a safe and easy transaction, maybe you should take it to a dealership.

If you wish to maximize the return on your investment while getting to briefly know the inheritor of your prized possession, you may want to put some time and effort into selling it yourself.

There is no wrong answer to this question; we just hope that we have guided you in the right direction if you are looking to sell now or in the future. And if you do decide to sell your motorcycle yourself, we will be there to help every step of the way.

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