How to sell your van online: a complete guide
If you’re selling your van and want to upgrade to something newer, or simply want to get cash for your van as soon as possible, you’ve come to the right place.
Selling your van is much like selling your car, but there a few quirks to consider.
Ready to sell your van now? Compare prices and sell it fast here or you can read on to find out more…
Depending on your circumstances, the best route to take will vary.
Selling a van explained:
- Van valuation guide
- Selling your van
- The ultimate van pre-sale checklist
- Sold your van? Here’s what to do next
- The verdict: where should you sell your van?
Van valuation guide
The first step in the process is to get a realistic van valuation. And, when you start your research, you’re going to find a lot of conflicting information.
If you’re not VAT registered, van dealers will not be able to offer you a competitive price for your van.
Whatever price you sell the van for, they’ll need to add VAT on.
Basically, you’ll be selling your van at 20% below market value. That doesn’t take into account the fact that dealers will usually discount the value by a further 20-30% which is their profit margin.
If you want a competitive valuation, avoid dealers.
Free van valuation online
The internet is at your disposal, and it’s a wonderful place to get a realistic expectation of your van’s value.
At Motorway, we offer a hassle-free way to get multiple free valuations and offers for your vehicle.
No paying for adverts.
No time spent letting people view and test driving your van.
A quick valuation and an easy transaction.
The process only takes a few minutes:
- Enter your registration and value your van here.
- Compare online van selling offers
- Select the best deal for your van
- Choose a suitable appointment
- Get cash for your van quickly and safely
If you’re looking to get the maximum for your van and are prepared to invest some time and cash into adverts, here are a few things you can do to value your van:
- Find similar vehicles on Auto Trader, eBay, Gumtree and Motors.co.uk to estimate what your van is worth
- Use Parkers to get a free online van valuation (premium services are available from £3.49)
Get figures from a range of websites mentioned above, and take an average. This will give you a realistic price expectation.
If you want to read up even more about how to value your van, then check our full guide to car valuation, all the same points apply to vans.
Van valuations and circumstance
Now you have a few figures in mind, circumstance tends to dictate the rest. The price you’ll get for your van depends on the type of van buyers you are targeting.
If you’re targeting dealers and online van buying websites, the valuation is going to be lower than a private sale. Dealers and van buying sites will offer a part exchange or “trade-in” price which accounts for the fact that they need to make a profit.
By targeting private van buyers, you’ll have a much better chance of achieving a price at the higher end of the van’s value.
Be aware: This is only the correct route to take if you are prepared to invest time and money into the sale. Selling a van privately is certainly not hassle free.
Van valuation factors
No two vans are the same. When deciding on a van’s value, consider the following factors that are going to be directly linked to the value of your van.
The older your van is, the lower the valuation. This is particularly the case when an updated design has been released, and you’re stuck with the old one.
This is a big factor and, the reduction in value is hard to place a finger on. The higher the mileage on your van, the lower the valuation.
However, there tends to be milestones such as 50k, 100k, 150k and 200k miles. Each of these milestones represent a large drop in valuation.
The two most important are 50k and 200k. Up to 50k signifies in van terms, an engine that is not heavily used and should work like new. Going above this therefore drops the value considerably.
On the flip-side, an engine with over 200k miles on it is “dead” according to most van buyers. Again, expect a significant drop in valuation.
Vans that are 4-5 years old with less than 100,000 miles, tend to be considered as low-mid mileage vehicles. This will help with the valuation and speed of sale.
Although vans are work horses, nobody wants to turn up to a job in a battered piece of rusty junk – there’s specialist scrap buyers for that.
The condition of the interior and exterior is going to impact on the valuation.
The newer the van is, the more significant the condition is in terms of maximising value.
Most van buyers will be looking at buying a van for work. They need something reliable and a detailed service history is going to give them peace of mind.
Any van without a service history is going to receive a reduced valuation.
For van buyers, it’s always suspect when they see a vehicle with only a few months of MOT. Why wouldn’t the owner put a full MOT on the vehicle and get top money for it?
Van buyers want to know the vehicle is in good condition, and when buyers see a full MOT, they assume that this is the case.
V5C – the V5 form/ logbook
On occasion, van sellers sell without a V5, but explain it can be easily be obtained. If you’ve lost the V5C for your van, don’t sell it until you get the V5.
Any vehicle that is missing a V5 is going to set off alarm bells for most potential purchasers.
Selling your van
Now for the business end of the deal.
First, make sure your van has a deep clean before advertising it for sale, or showing it to any potential buyers.
Once you’ve done this, it’s time to look at the best places to sell your van.
Selling your van online
Classified ad websites are the perfect places to list a van for sale.
The price you achieve for your van will depend on the quality of the advert you create, and where you list it.
The more details you can list, the better. The more pictures to can add, the better.
Include details such as mileage, condition, service history, upgrades, current MOT, insurance group, and why you are selling.
TIP: Don’t be afraid to mention some of the bad points associated with your van. If a prospective van buyer sees you are honest about a few minor flaws, they’ll have much more confidence when it comes to making a purchase.
Where to list your van, and how much it costs
We’ve already explained selling privately costs time and money. Costs associated with adverts can be anything from free up to £60. And, even after paying the fees, you’ll have no guarantee that your van is going to sell.
If you’d prefer a hassle free way to sell your van online, click here to get started and get instant offers now.
Auto Trader is usually the first on the list for van sellers. Their website gets nearly 8m visitors a month, and a large group of those visitors are van buyers.
Your first-stop to reach van buyers online is going to be Auto Trader.
eBay gets a ton more buyers than Auto Trader, but they aren’t necessarily buying vans.
Unfortunately, their prices are high too. There’s a £14.99 insertion fee, but also a 1% final transaction fee when your van sells. You can check out their fees here.
eBay’s operation in the UK might serve over 19m people, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best place the list a vehicle.
Gumtree is a great site to list locally. Importantly, there are no fees here for private van sellers.
Exchange and Mart
We’re getting to the lower end of sites now, in terms of visitors. Exchange and Mart costs £5 for 2 weeks. Personally, I wouldn’t take the risk.
Facebook might not be motoring specific, but the audience is huge. And, there are a few ways to get some coverage for your van:
- Post on your own Facebook wall
- List in groups related to van and vehicle sales
- Create an advert for the Facebook Marketplace
Selling your van online – hassle free
Now, we all want to get the best price possible when selling any vehicle. But let’s face it, selling a van is hassle.
After investing time and money, there’s no guarantee when or if your van will sell. It all comes down this; are buyers looking for a van exactly like yours?
Listing fees, creating adverts, time-wasters, allocating time to allow people to view the vehicle and the dreaded hagglers; who needs it?
Van buying websites have been around since 2006, and it’s the hassle-free way to sell a van fast.
And, the industry just got better.
When we look at a broadband package, mobile phone deal, or car insurance premium, we use comparison websites.
They allow us to quickly figure out which is the best deal. Better still, we can use the same sites to click through to the deal and get it straight away.
That’s exactly what we have done at Motorway, for the van industry.
You can see the simple 5 step process here. Enter your registration and we’ll forward your van details to all the biggest van buying websites. They know they are competing on price, so offers are likely to be higher than if you entered your registration on each site individually.
Better still, you fill out one quick form and it’s done. Offers will start flooding in and you pick the best.
Look out for these things when using other van buying websites
As you can see from our how it works page, Motorway are 100% transparent about each website we work with. That’s not to say other sites are. Here are some things to consider when using other van buying websites.
After getting offers on Motorway, you’ll see each website shows their fees next to their offer.
These fees could relate to collection, but many times this is an admin fee.
Either way, they are there for everyone to see.
Many van buying websites leave the details of fees in the small print. So, sellers get a nasty shock when they suddenly realise that £50-100 has been taken from their cash lump sum.
Confirm all fees before agreeing a deal.
Fact; you won’t get a higher price from a van buying website compared with selling privately. Most sellers have realised that after considering the time and financial investment selling privately, the small drop in price is worth the sacrifice.
That said, some van buying websites have been caught purposely devaluing customers vans on appointment; even when there’s not a good reason.
If you want to get the price you were offered online, cover yourself by ensuring you’ve filled out all the relevant information, and stick to your guns if they suddenly offer less.
They are in their rights to offer less if there are obvious mechanical defaults that were not mentioned, service history was implied but missing, or even if a spare key isn’t present.
Selling a van privately
We get it. Some people just don’t like doing business on the internet. If that sounds like you, there are some options to sell your van privately (seller to buyer) or via a van dealer.
Everyone likes to have a dig through the “buy & sell” section of newspapers. Unfortunately, they aren’t as busy as they used to be. That means there’s less people selling, but for you, that means the amount of van buyers looking in papers is relatively small too.
We’d only recommend spending time creating an advert if it’s free.
I think it’s in our nature; a lot of people don’t like van dealers, sometimes for good reason.
Here’s what you need to consider before transacting with dealers…
If you are looking to purchase a new van, there’s a good chance the dealer will offer a part-exchange. Typically, this is about the worst deal you’ll get.
The dealer has no interest in your van. All they have interest in is making their commissions for the month; that means selling you a new van.
Van dealerships have nifty ways to make a deal sound much better than it is.
Most new vans will come with extras, or be discounted from the RRP.
So, when a dealer starts throwing some big numbers for your part-ex, there’s a good reason; you’ll be paying full RRP, or will not be given the extras another van buyer might get.
It may seem like the easy option, but part-exchange is rarely the most feasible one.
A direct sale to a van dealer can yield a fair price. Van dealers will literally buy any van, if the price means they can turn it for a profit. For that reason, you’ll need to be savvy about which dealers you approach.
Most dealers will have their own niche. Some will sell small vans, pick-ups, Fords, box vans or even vans over 3.5T. What you need to find is a van dealer that specialises in the van you own.
Finding these dealers isn’t particularly hard. For instance, if you have a Mercedes Luton, simply plug that into Google + your local area. This might be “Mercedes Luton in Warwickshire”.
A dealer that specialises in Luton vans will be able to get a much better price for your vehicle than one specialising in small vans.
So, what does that mean for you? The dealer knows they can sell the van quickly, and make a profit, so they are much more likely to offer you a competitive price for your vehicle.
Things to consider before visiting a van dealer
We’ve already talked about a few great ways to value your van. If you have a figure in mind, expect a van dealer to be offering 15-30% below this figure. At the end of the day, they must make a profit.
Unique selling points (USPs)
Dealers are typically the hardest van buyers to deal with; they will haggle. They’ll go through their spiel of how XYZ needs replacing, or how they have tonnes of these vans already that they can’t shift them. They try and switch the emphasis from them wanting to buy, to you being desperate to sell.
Have a look at their stock and decide what makes your van special. Is the interior in excellent condition? Does it have low miles?
Vans are typically work horses that get beaten about with high miles. If this isn’t the case for yours, that’s a strong selling point.
Another thing worth considering is how rare your van is. For instance, the XLWB Jumbo Transit is extremely hard to come across. Just like vans with less than 50,000 miles that are 4-5 years old.
Prior research puts you in a stronger position to negotiate.
The ultimate van pre-sale checklist
It doesn’t matter where you plan to sell your van, buyers want to see the same things. Preparing a van for sale correctly won’t just ensure you get a fair price, it will help the van sell quickly.
Step 1 – Gather all relevant documents
A V5 proves not only that you own the vehicle, it proves the vehicle is what you say it is.
I know of a van buyer that on inspection of the V5, realised the engine was smaller than stated.
For many buyers, this wouldn’t be a problem, but for someone hauling 1-tonne bags of building materials, this was a deal breaker.
Service history & receipts
Any buyer that is not a mechanic can only take a van at curb appeal. They want to see it’s been looked after. A detailed service history and all the receipts to prove work has been done help.
No doubt, any van buyer will want to know when the last cam-belt was changed. If it’s due and not been changed, this is going to reduce the van’s value.
If it has recently been changed and you have proof, this is a huge selling point.
All service history should come from an authorised garage with your registration clearly marked on any invoices.
Make sure the MOT is up to date and the document is present. If there are any advisories (suggestion of work to be completed) on previous MOT certificates, make sure you have receipts that prove this work has been carried out.
Step 2 – Van preparation
Gather all keys
Get all the keys together for your van. If you have a separate fuel filler key, make sure that’s included.
Selling a van without a spare key will decrease its value. After all, who wants to buy a van knowing that someone else, somewhere, has a key for it.
The importance of getting a van spotless ready for sale can’t be stressed enough. Not only does it make the van look better than others, it shows a level of pride.
If you can’t even be bothered to clean your van, there’s a good chance a buyer will be thinking “if they haven’t even cleaned it, have they done any maintenance?”
Especially on newer vans, minor repairs can have a significant impact on the price you achieve.
For example, small dents and spots of rust are cheap and easy to repair. A small dent could cost £50-80 to fix, but it’s likely to add £250-300 on the price of the van.
Most van buyers know very little about mechanics. Asides from a visual check of body, interior and tyre condition, there’s little else people check; asides from all the fluids.
Before selling, make sure all fluids are topped up. Vans running low on coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid or oil could develop long-term problems, and that’s enough to put most buyers off.
Sold your van? Here’s what to do next
Unfortunately, even after selling a van, there are still things that need to be done. If you don’t get them sorted, you could end up paying for things you no longer need.
As soon as you’ve been paid for your van, cancel the insurance.
Many buyers will ask that they use your insurance, just to get home. Try to avoid this, if they crash this could have an impact on your policy cost in the future.
If you have already purchased a new van, rather than get a refund on your insurance premium, most insurers will be able to transfer the policy over to the new van for a small admin charge.
Nowadays, we don’t sell vehicles with road tax, as tax is registered to a person and not a vehicle. Get straight onto the Government website and get a tax refund processed.
Change parking permits
If you live in an urban area that requires a parking permit, you’ll need to get these changed. If you don’t switch them to your new vehicle and you could be liable for some hefty parking fines.
Transfer the V5 to the new owner
When you sold your van, you should have given the “New Keeper” section of the V5 to the buyer.
This is a precautionary measure. If they are stopped by Police, they need to prove why they are driving the van as it doesn’t technically belong to them.
The rest of the document should have been filled out by you and the new owner. The instructions on the Government Website explain how to do this.
The verdict: where should you sell your van?
The answer to that question isn’t straight forward. Like most things in life, circumstance tends to dictate a lot.
- Do you need money fast?
- Are you looking to get the best price possible, and are prepared to wait to achieve this price?
- Will you be prepared to spend time and money creating adverts?
- The list goes on…
From everything we’ve covered, we’ve grouped the process of selling a van into 3 categories. In summary, we’ll explain each and who it’s going to be suitable for.
Selling to a dealer (direct sale or part-exchange)
There are van dealers out there ready to give you cash for your van. Today.
If you don’t want to spend time creating adverts, and you want cash quickly, this is the way to go.
You won’t achieve the true value of your van. Expect to receive 20-30% less than what it’s worth.
Private sale (on and offline)
We’ve covered a range of places to sell your van. Everything from eBay to local newspapers.
Want top dollar for your van? You’ll want to take this route.
As more and more people search for vehicles online, your vehicle is going to be mixed in with dealer’s adverts.
Their prices are generally much higher, making your van look cheap. This usually results in a swift sale for an excellent price.
No guarantee of price or speed of sale. Alongside this, there’s a tremendous investment required both in terms of time creating adverts and money to pay for them.
Van buying websites
There are 100s of van buying websites ready to make you an offer. The transaction can be completed within a matter of days.
Motorway’s unique platform allows you to compare offers from all the best websites in one place.
You can do that here and sell your van right now.
It’s quick and easy. There is no obligation to sell your vehicle, so if you’d prefer to sell privately after receiving offers, that’s still an option.
Van buying websites need to make money. So, they’ll usually offer a price slightly below the market value of your vehicle. For most people, the saving in terms of time and money paying for adverts offsets this lower value.
Looking for more tips on how to sell your car. Check out more of our handy guides below: