You’re under no illusion though, it’s earned its keep and no longer has quite the appeal it had when the dealer handed you the keys some time ago. There are a number of options available but, first things first...
Clean it. Inside and out, very, very thoroughly. It may be worth considering a professional valet, especially if the van is a reasonably recent model, although the cost of this needs to be carefully considered.
If it’s an old van with lots of bumps and scrapes, it’s almost certainly not worth the investment. If it’s a sound but dirty three-year-old van with low mileage, then it may well be.
Assuming this is a cost you’d rather not bear then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in.
Most working vans and pick-ups will have some external damage. Having repairs done prior to selling the vehicle is unlikely to be cost effective, but many scuffs and scratches can be removed with a little time and effort. T-Cut or any other mild cutting compound works wonders – just remember to apply a layer of polish over the area once repaired.
It’s looking great, you’ve a stack of documents and history, but how do you find a buyer who’ll pay top notch money and with the least amount of hassle?
Here are some routes to getting that cash into the bank, all with their own pros and cons.
1. Dealer trade in
Lots of advantages here. It’s quick, easy and totally hassle free. If you’ve any outstanding finance the dealer will work this into the deal and sort it all out.
The main disadvantage is that at best you’ll only get a ‘trade value’ and you’ll be less likely to be able to negotiate a discount off the screen price of the new vehicle.
2. Dealer purchase
If you’ve a desirable, relatively young and low mileage vehicle, it’s certainly worth contacting franchised dealers to see if they would be interested in buying it.
They’re always on the lookout for good used stock and will often pay a premium, particularly if they know that they’ve a customer who might be interested in buying it.
3. Car buying service
You know the ones. These are perfect if you need to raise the cash quickly. An initial online valuation is followed up by an appointment at an appraisal centre where a firm offer is made.
This is likely to get you a relatively low figure, but it’s all sorted speedily, finance agreements are settled off and the money gets paid into your bank.
Rarely used by the private seller. Values realised will sometimes be higher than those offered by online buying services, but there are seller fees to consider and if the van doesn’t meet your reserve you’re still liable for entry fees and will have to decide whether or not to try again the following week.
5. Private Sale
This is where you’re likely to get the best return. It’s also where you’ll get by far the most hassle. Before advertising on the likes of Auto Trader or Ebay, do some research as to what your asking price should be.
If all this doesn’t put you off, you could certainly benefit financially from selling privately, but consider the time, risk and hassle factors. Are they worth it?
I started my career selling vans in the mid-eighties, progressing through dealer groups to management level. In 2010 I joined vehicle valuation company CAP, being made responsible for forecasting future used values for all makes and models of vans and trucks, this data being used by leasing companies and manufacturers to assess future risk. This role entailed very early exposure to new models including extensive testing across Europe.
In 2016 I started up my own consultancy business dedicated to the LCV industry. In addition, my freelance written work has been used by a number of clients and I am a regular contributor to WhatVan? magazine. I’m also a judge for their annual ‘Van of the Year’ awards.
To relax, I enjoy travel, walking near my Yorkshire home and spend much of my time being bullied by my pet cat, Leo.