Van valuation – the ultimate guide
This ‘ultimate guide’ to van values will help you accurately gauge the current market price for your used van.
Van value can be tricky to understand at times, especially as many are high mileage with damage to match. Similar to when people value their cars, van owners often value their vans far higher than the average buyer would.
Private and trade prices can vary drastically though, what would someone be willing to pay for your trusty van? And what’s your van’s real value? Here at Motorway, you can sell your van and get a great offer from a nationwide network of 5,000+ verified dealers, but it’s not the only way…
Keep reading to find out more about the different elements that affect van values.
Having a good idea of the trade value for your van can save you time and money, not only is it useful to put an accurate insurance figure down when it comes to renewal but if you come to sell to a dealer or even place a private advert you’ll know a reasonable price to aim for.
Understanding what can affect the price of your van will also give you the chance to sort things that need fixing, or avoid the pitfalls of depreciation altogether.
Vans can be worth different amounts depending on the buyer and seller, so prices can vary from place to place across the country. Just remember, your van is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.
Van valuation explained:
- What determines van value?
- Van value factors
- The market value of a van
- Who buys and sells vans?
- Why do van valuations vary between buyers?
- Which factors determine the market value of your van?
- Van value and depreciation
- How to maintain your vans value
- Van value check – where to get a van valuation?
- Online van value calculators
- Scrap value of vans
What determines van value?
As with all used vehicles, there are two main factors that determine how much it’s worth – supply and demand.
If you have a rare spec or addition to standard kit that someone has been searching months for, ultimately, it’s going to be worth that bit more to them than all the other vans on sale.
The used van market is huge and whereas used cars can be differentiated between engine choice and a plethora of specs, vans are far more limited. Often there’s only the choice of one engine and a couple of trim levels to pick from.
While this simplifies the new van buying process, it can often level the playing field when it comes to used models. Higher spec vans can be incredibly similar in price to their most basic brothers.
There are also the obvious factors…
The factors taken into account for van valuation:
- Previous owners
- Documents and service history
- Time of year
- Method of selling
When it comes to used car valuation, age and mileage are the biggest key factors in determining price, vans are no different.
The older your van, the less money it will be worth, there’s no getting around that. Even if your van isn’t that old, if it has covered thousands more miles than is average for its age, it will be worth less.
Manufacturers with a well-known reputation for reliability will also help your van price, a Mercedes Vito will always hold its money better than a Citroen Relay for example.
You’ll also get higher prices for things like ply lining, it’s a given that most vans will have this but not all do. Many vans can come from the factory with ply lining, but it’s easy enough to do yourself.
If your van is particularly high on emissions expect it to sell for less. Many diesels are being hit with charges for entering towns and cities these days, it makes sense for buyers to look for vans that emit the least pollution, especially if they’re going to be driving in the London ULEZ.
While you can sell a van legally without having the V5C document it’s not recommended. Not having a V5C is likely to lower the price you can get for your van, it also raises questions when you come to sell both privately and to the trade.
The market value of a van
How you might buy and sell a van is forever changing, that’s why specialist companies such as Glass’s HPI and CAP exist. For a fee, they offer used market prices for almost any vehicle to dealers and other automotive companies.
But what the average seller needs to know is how they can make the most money from the deal on offer when it comes to changing van.
Who buys and sells vans?
When the time comes to sell your van there are more than a few options:
- Sell to a private buyer
- Sell to a van dealer or part exchange
- Sell using an online van buyer
- Sell your van for scrap
As a rule of thumb, you’ll get the most money by selling directly to a private individual, you can do this by listing your van on sites like Auto Trader, Gumtree or eBay.
You can also go the old school route and place an advert in a local shop, or on a community noticeboard. It’s also worth checking out local Facebook buying and selling groups or any other community pages online.
Selling privately can mean pocketing anywhere from 5-30% more compared to what a dealership or trader will offer you.
But that extra cash can often be at the cost of increased hassle. If you take your van to a dealer, a part-exchange is normally pain-free, quick and easy. Private sales can take weeks.
Another option, and it could be a great one if your van is older, are scrappage schemes. Many manufacturers offer van scrappage schemes and there’s even dedicated help for motorists and businesses in the London ULEZ zone.
Why do van valuations vary between buyers?
As we mentioned earlier you’ll get more money for your old van by selling privately, this is because you’re selling to the person that’s actually going to be using the van with no middleman in between.
Your particular van may have something they’ve been looking for, that obscure option that nobody else ticked, or it could just be in superb condition compared to all the others they’ve been to see.
A private van buyer is also unlikely to have done any in-depth market value research. They’ve probably seen a few similar vans and have a rough ballpark figure of what they’d like to spend.
When selling to a dealer or a car buying service there’s a middleman involved, so they’ll need to purchase the van at a price where they can turn a profit for their time and investment.
They’re often looking for vehicles that are in as good condition as possible so they can sell them on quickly without spending too much on them.
They’ll also be dealing with large volumes of vans, so they’ll know what the common faults are along with the going market rates. As the vehicle isn’t going to be owned by them personally, it’s easier for them to negotiate the price down or just walk away if the deal isn’t right.
At the bottom of the chain are scrap dealers, they often specialise in vans that are nearly worthless. Some even offer a free collection service but will cover the cost of this by offering you a lower price for your van.
Which factors determine the market value of your van?
Market value can be a combination of the 12 factors we’ve listed above, but age and deprecation are the biggest elements when it comes to lowering the price of your van.
Yes, increased miles will also have an impact, but less so when it comes to commercial vehicles than in the car world. As long as the maintenance and servicing has been kept up, buyers will overlook mileage that’s just above average.
Location can also matter. If you’re in the countryside where fewer people live or are a long way from any major towns or cities then your van is going to take longer to sell. You’re also likely to get less money for it as potential buyers have to travel a long way to come and view it.
But locations with more potential buyers also means there will be more sellers. You’ll soon find that everyone starts to try and undercut each other just to sell their van.
When it comes to scrap, the bigger and heavier your van is, the more you’ll get for it. This is because scrap vehicles are based solely on weight.
Van value and depreciation
When it comes to cars and vans you’ll often hear the word depreciation, but what is it?
Depreciation is the difference between the price you pay for something and the price you sell it for.
All new vehicles, especially vans, drop in value as soon as you drive them away from the dealership. That’s because they’re now classed as used.
Over the first year or two of ownership, depreciation hits the hardest, most vehicles lose up to 50% of their original value by year three.
You’ll want to try and hold on to your van for at least the first three years if you purchase it new, even then you’re still likely to lose a lot when it comes time to sell.
Some models fare better than others. Make sure you do some research to find out what brand of van holds its value best. You’ll probably find they’re the same price to buy new, but one will sell for hundreds, maybe a thousand pounds more when it comes to selling.
How to maintain your vans value
Buyers want to purchase a van that looks in good condition and has been looked after, it’s the same when it comes to cars.
Yes, little knocks and scuffs can be forgiven more when it comes to commercial vehicles. They aren’t typically their owners’ pride and joy, but it doesn’t hurt to get scrapes or damage fixed if it will net you more money come sale time.
Missing pieces of trim, broken clips, and small scratches can all be fixed without paying out a fortune.
It’s also worth giving your van a thorough clean before you sell it. Paying for a valet style wash inside and out will get it looking its best without you putting in the elbow grease.
Oh, and make sure you keep up to date with the servicing and any maintenance. A full-service history is incredibly important when you come to sell, this goes for both private buyers and trade dealers.
Van value check – where to get a van valuation?
There are two ways you can go about getting a valuation for your van, either head to a local van dealer, or stay at home and check out one of the online van valuation tools.
If you visit a dealership someone will walk around your van and give it a proper appraisal, noting down any damage or issues which will affect the price. You will get a more accurate valuation, but the price could also be driven down harder.
Taking your van to a dealer may get you a better deal if you’re purchasing a new van, but make sure that offer is on top of any other negotiation. So it’s best to show you’re interested in a new van, negotiate, and then say you want to part-exchange.
But what about online van valuations?
Online van calculators
It’s far easier to open a new webpage than it is to traipse around dealerships all day. What may take hours can be condensed into minutes.
Now the valuations you receive will be a rough, ballpark figure. That’s because the vehicle can’t be checked over, nor has any of the paperwork been seen. So use it as a middle ground and don’t expect a dealership to instantly offer the same.
Reputable van valuation services include:
- Parkers – They offer a free valuation by either your number plate or by selecting which make and model you own, along with standard estimated mileage of 10,000 a year. Once you have a valuation you can then adjust it depending on the mileage.
- HPI valuations – As the market leader, HPI can value any vehicle, enter your registration number and they’ll come back with four prices. Retail, private, trade-in, and forecourt. Again, you’ll need to sign up to see the results, but you can also pay for a full HPI check once you’ve got your valuation.
- Regit – Regit offers two prices, one for a private sale and the other for part-exchange. You can also keep track of your tax, MOT, insurance, and warranty information by registering for an account.
- Motorway’s van valuation – We’ll find you the best price from our network of verified specialist dealers and online car buyers. It’s a quick and easy way to sell your van.
Scrap value of vans
Maybe your van is incredibly old, or past its best with a fault that simply isn’t worth fixing? Has it been written off and isn’t economical to repair?
If your vans value is £300 or less, it could be easier to scrap it than trying to find a buyer.
You could even sell the parts that are useable, or simply advertise the whole thing as a ‘spares or repair’. You’ll get more than you would from a scrap yard, but it can be incredibly time-consuming.
If there are no scrappage schemes running that apply to you, or take your fancy, the best option is to use our own scrap buyer comparison service. We can quickly get multiple quotes and easily compare the best scrap and recycling prices.
Potentially the scrap value of your vehicle could be so low that the only way to go is to contact local scrap dealers. You’ll get roughly £60-100 depending on the size of your van.
Ready to sell your car?
Want to read more about owning, valuing and selling your car? Check out more of our guides here, covering everything from depreciation and maintaining your car’s value. Understand your car’s worth in the wider market.