Selling a motorcycle can seem like a daunting task. Not only do you have to deal with people and their potential flakiness, but it’s also a bit of an emotional move selling such a fun vehicle.
There’s a lot of questions you might have when selling your motorcycle. Asking the right questions will leave you in a much more ideal situation and prevent a lot of frustration in the future.
Should you let a buyer test drive your motorcycle? It is advised to let potential buyers test drive a motorcycle you are selling. Most buyers won’t make the purchase unless they have a test run. It’s also advised to have collateral against the buyer during a test drive such as the full asking price in cash and/or their driver’s license in the case they steal the motorcycle or damage it.
There is a lot that can go wrong during the process of selling a motorcycle. But if you take the proper steps in preparing for such hazards, you can avoid them altogether and easily sell your motorcycle with no problems.
How To Safely Let Buyers Test Drive Your Motorcycle
Over the last six years, I have bought and sold about thirteen or fourteen motorcycles. I restored motorcycles during college to help pay for my college tuition, so buying and selling such vehicles is nothing foreign to me.
I ran in to every possible situation you can imagine when it comes to selling motorcycles. From desperate to flaky to straight up rude, you’ll probably run in to a few interesting people yourself.
The biggest questions people have when selling their motorcycle is if they should let potential buyers test ride their motorcycles. You should absolutely let potential buyers test ride them so they know exactly what they’re getting in to.
When I first started flipping motorcycles, I was completely against letting people test ride the motorcycles I was selling. I was often left frustrated because It would take a long time to sell the motorcycles and when I did, I didn’t get as much as I was hoping for.
I soon learned that test driving motorcycles for potential buyers is a vital part of the selling process. Honestly, would you want to put a couple grand down on something that you hadn’t yet test driven? Most people will assume you are trying to hide something if you don’t let them test ride and they will look elsewhere.
But that doesn’t mean that you should be left in the dust on high-risk lane. There are several things you can do to ensure you don’t let the world’s finest steal your motorcycle or damage it.
One thing you should always do is take a picture of their driver’s license before they go out for a ride. Make sure to take a good look at their license before taking a picture to ensure the license belongs to them. This may provide a means of motivation for the buyer to be extra careful with your motorcycle because they know you have their information.
If it makes you feel better about the situation, ask for the agreed upon price as cash in hand while they take the motorcycle out for a ride. Or you can at least ask for a deposit before they take it out. This will provide some collateral against the buyer in case they damage your motorcycle. Be aware that some potential buyers may be wary of this as they don’t know how honest you are as the seller.
Other Safety Tips To Consider When Selling A Motorcycle
Through the many times I have sold a motorcycle, I’ve been able to find some additional helpful tips and tricks that will ensure the safety of your selling experience with your motorcycle.
First, don’t assume that holding on to their car keys and standing next to their car is considered collateral against them while they test ride your motorcycle. If the potential buyer is dishonest and wants to steal your motorcycle, they could have also stolen the car or vehicle they used to get there and meet you. This will do nothing for you.
It’s always a good idea to have a friend with you during a motorcycle sale transaction. They can be a witness during the situation in case things go south for whatever reason. They can also just simply be a means of moral support through the whole thing.
Ask the potential buyer where he/she plans to test ride the motorcycle. If the rider has to tell you where he is riding, he/she may be more obligated to stick to the route or at least to a similar time frame. Or you can simply put a time cap on how long the buyer can take it out for. Anything longer than ten minutes is excessive.
Keep the gas tank close to empty during the time you are selling it. If anyone attempts to steal it while taking it out for a test run, they won’t be able to get too far without getting stranded with an empty tank of gas. And if you let potential buyers know ahead of time how much gas is in it that will keep their ride down to a reasonable time.
There’s nothing wrong with following the rider during his test ride. Motorcycles are a little harder to accompany a potential buyer on a ride, so simply follow them in your car to ensure they aren’t doing anything funny or stupid on your motorcycle.
The next biggest question most people have about letting people test ride their motorcycle during the selling process is usually about insurance. We all know that insurance can be messy, so knowing what to expect ahead of time can put you at ease. Each state and insurance agency is a little different with their policies, but this is generally what they follow.
First, you always need to make sure you have decent insurance before selling your motorcycle. Even if you didn’t have insurance before, get insurance during the selling process.
Getting your motorcycle stolen during test rides while your selling is a common worry. Even if you take all the proper safety precautions, there’s no guarantee of what people will do. Insurance will reimburse you what your motorcycle was worth if it was stolen by a potential rider, even if you initially consented to let them take it for a ride. Click here to learn more about what to do if your motorcycle is stolen.
People are often afraid of what will happen with insurance if their motorcycle gets damaged during a test ride from a buyer. The good news is that insurance will likely cover damages to your motorcycle, even if you weren’t the one riding it (you’ve appointed what’s called a permissive rider).
But what happens if someone else is riding your motorcycle and causes an accident that hurts someone else? Depending on the type of insurance you have, your insurance will at least cover the damages of the other person who was hurt through liability. Some insurance plans will be able to cover both parties.
If your plan doesn’t cover all the damages, the rider will likely be held liable for the difference. But the downside is that your premiums will likely increase.
What about when someone takes your motorcycle for a test ride, decides to steal it, and causes an accident that hurts someone else? In this case, if you’re able to prove that they were attempting to steal it, you are not held liable for any damages done and the perpetrator will be completely at fault.
What You Should Do After The Sale
Once you have someone come and test ride your motorcycle and make the final sale, there area few additional things you should do so there won’t be any additional problems from the buyer in the future.
Check with your state and find out what you need to do concerning the plates on the motorcycle. Most states report that you need to take the plates off so you won’t be held liable for traffic violations the new buyer does. Some states say that you need to keep the plates on until the new owner registers it under their name.
Be sure to get a copy of the bill of sale for yourself. This will provide proof that you sold the motorcycle “as is” on a specific date with the buyer’s signature. You can also take it down to the DMV and show them the bill of sale to remove the motorcycle’s registration from your name.
As soon as the buyer drives off your driveway with your motorcycle that they just purchased, contact your insurance agency and cancel your insurance. There’s no reason to paying a penny more in insurance on a vehicle you no longer own and you don’t want the new owner to potentially claim anything on your insurance if they get in an accident on their way home.
When is the best time to buy a used motorcycle? The best time to buy a used motorcycle is during the months of November through February. The weather is colder during these months which means less people are out riding and more people are willing to sell their motorcycles at a decent price. For more information, click here to see an article I wrote.
Can you sell a motorcycle to a dealership? Like a car, it is possible to sell a motorcycle to a dealership. You will not get as much for it as you would selling it privately, but you do skip the hassle of annoying potential buyers, waiting for it to sell, and spending time online posting it.