One truth that all motorcyclists can relate to is that, eventually you are going to want to upgrade your bike. Selling a motorcycle on Craigslist or Ebay is the best avenue for our community as you will get more money in your pocket, and more often than not, we are selling someone their first bike, welcoming them to the ranks. Unfortunately, so many people are not great at this, we aren’t salesmen, I get it but learning a few tricks of the trade will keep potential buyers away from the dealership and instead making an honest deal with you.
- Post good pictures – shouldn’t that go without saying? If you can’t be bothered to post pictures at all then expect buyers to have the same attitude about opening your ad. A good picture has good bright lighting and be sure to include close-up shots of key areas. (fenders, tank, wheels, odometer, mufflers, seat, engine, controls, etc.) You can use a cellphone if you would like but make sure your resolution is turned up and you get down at bike level. Good pictures, sell bikes, end of story.
- Be honest about your bikes condition. And when you take good pictures, include the pics of scratches and scuffs. If you have dropped the bike, you establish trust when you are open about it. If you label the bike “excellent” with a price to match-mean it. We all started somewhere don’t think a scratch is going to eliminate a buyer; it might still be their bike.
- Be descriptive. What color is it? How many miles are on it? When was the last service completed and do you have receipts? How much tread is left on the tires and how old are they? Do you have a title or will you be using escrow? How do you except payment? Can I test ride it? These answers make a world of difference in preemptively fielding stupid questions as well as making you seem like a real, trustworthy person.
- Be competitive. Look at KBB and NADA prices for a bike like yours but also take into account mileage and location. If Craigslist shows that your bike is going for $1,000 less than book value in your area, then pricing it at book will just make you look delusional. No one wants to talk with a delusional person so you just took your bike out of the running. Mileage is also important and my rule-of-thumb is to subtract $100 from the price for every 1,000 miles one bike has versus another. This means if I am looking for a 2007 Harley Davidson Softail and I find two on the market: Softail A has 10,000 miles on it and Softail B has 15,000 miles on it. All else being equal, Softail B should be $500 cheaper than A.
- Going right along with number 4 when I said, “all else being equal”, after market equipment does not raise the value of your bike unless the buyer wants that equipment. This is my largest pet peeve when it comes to online listing. If you spent $2,500 dollars on aftermarket parts do not increase your asking price by $2,500. Aftermarket parts depreciate by 75% the minute you bolt them on and time only brings that value down further. If you get three good years of use out of any modification consider it money well spent and list the bike at book value. If you absolutely have to have money for the aftermarket parts pull them off the bike and install the OEM parts before listing it.
- What you owe on the bike has nothing to do with the value of the bike. This point is going to hurt some feelings but I must have read hundreds of ads about how sellers were upside down on a loan and needed more than the bike was worth to get out. I really am sorry that finance departments give terrible rates or let you role $5,000 worth of aftermarket parts into a loan but you can’t expect to pass that burden to the next owner.
- The word ‘FIRM’ means, “I don’t actually want to sell this bike.” I realize that if you have sold anything on Craigslist you have probably had a bad experience, we all have. The interwebs are full of scammers and low-ballers who seemingly come out of nowhere to offer you 50% of the asking price. They will usually end their low offer with the word ‘cash’ as though you were also accepting credit card payments. Everything on Craigslist is negotiable so be open to a sale. Don’t let the a**hats of the world change you into a FIRM-guy. My general rule of thumb when it comes to talking price is that I will not accept an offer unless the person has physically come to look at the bike. Sending a text offer takes nothing and means even less so the people who send them are not serious. Also, once a person has come to your house and looked you in the eye they are much more likely to treat you like a real person, something that’s rare online.
- Answer your messages! If you list your email or phone online be prepared to answer phone calls and return emails sooner than later. People that make enough money to drop thousands on a motorcycles are generally busy. Being the one person that answered the phone on a Wednesday when a buyer is ready to buy could mean getting the sale.
- Use keyword references at the bottom of your ad. You can’t count on the buyer being able to spell correctly so put as many variations of a word into the bottom on an ad as you can think of. i.e. Softail, Softtail, Soft Tail, Harley Davidson, HarleyDavidson, HD, etc. This is the most overlooked aspect of online listings and one that is easy to fix.