From light goods vehicles, pickup trucks and combis, to camper vans and motorhomes, vans come in many shapes and sizes, and have multiple uses.
As well as being handy for transporting goods and equipment for business purposes, they can be an effective advertising tool, and with more people choosing to holiday in the UK instead of going abroad, they’re becoming increasingly used for leisure too.
But however valuable your van might have been to you in the past, for whatever reason, the time may have come for you to part with it.
Selling any vehicle can be stressful and time-consuming. However, there are certain actions you can take to make the process quicker and easier.
How can I sell my van quickly and easily?
The best way to sell your van is to list it online yourself at a fair price with an advert that contains all the necessary information about your vehicle, including the make, model, registration, mileage, service history and condition.
You can also go through a car-buying website or approach a dealer, either of which will do the legwork for you, and may make you a quick offer with a guaranteed price. However, you won’t be as likely to get as much as you would by selling privately because they’ll want to make a profit on the sale.
In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to go about selling your van.
Tip one: Work out how much your van is worth
Even if you bought your van from new and have only had it for a couple of years, it’s likely it will have depreciated in value. In fact, most vehicles lose up to 50 percent of their original value after three years.
What your van is worth depends on a number of factors, such as:
- The age of your vehicle
- What mileage it’s done
- Whether the manufacturer has a reputation for reliability
- How much service history you can show potential buyers
- The size of your van if you’re selling it for scrap: bigger vans sell for more money
- How many previous owners it’s had: more owners can indicate unreliability
- The condition of the vehicle, including any damage that’s been done to it
- Whether the van has any rare specifications or bespoke finishes, as some buyers will pay more for these
- Whether it has ply lining, as vans that have such lining tend to be worth more
- The van’s emission status: if this is high, you might get less for it, as some buyers avoid vehicles with high emissions, which are taxed heavily in some towns and cities
It’s only natural to want the best possible price for your van but it’s important not to be greedy. Be honest about how much your van is worth, because if you ask for too much, it’ll just take longer to sell.
To give you an idea of how much you can expect to get for it, you can use our partner’s valuation tool. Simply enter your registration and you will get an instant van valuation.
You might also want to use our free car check, which will give you the full MOT history, registration information and detailed technical data, all of which your buyer will want to know. You can also purchase the full report, print it and show it to potential buyers which will give you credibility as they will know you have nothing to hide.
Another way to find out how much your vehicle is worth is by going to a van dealer. They’ll properly inspect it to give you an accurate figure. However, this is a more time-consuming method than using an online van valuation tool like ours, and you could end up getting less money for your van as you go through a middleman.
It’s also a good idea to do some market research and look at online adverts so you have an idea of what similar vans are selling for. This will help you to determine a realistic and fair price.
Tip two: Make sure your van is in good condition
Even though you’re looking to part ways with your old van, it could be worth spending some time and money on making it as presentable as possible to prove it’s been well looked after.
Potential buyers will likely scrutinise it, looking for ways in which they can push the price down. With that in mind, you should consider some of these pointers:
It probably won’t be worth doing an oil change or replacing all the tyres, but making a few small repairs, like fixing broken lights or replacing the windscreen wipers, can make a noticeable difference to the condition of your van.
It’s true that buyers can forgive scrapes on vans more than they can on cars, however touching up scuffed or rusted paintwork with scratch remover and replacing missing wheel trims are relatively quick fixes that shouldn’t cost too much.
Ideally you should be doing all these things regularly, but before you list your van for sale, it’s worth checking the oil and water levels, topping up the screen wash and inflating the tyres to the correct pressure.
Clean inside and out
First impressions mean a lot, so make sure you clean your van’s interior and exterior before anyone comes to have a look at it. We’ll talk about this in more detail in the next section.
Gather your documentation
Gather together your van’s paperwork so all the information is to hand when potential buyers ask to see it.
The documents you present should include the V5C, the vehicle manual, receipts of repairs you’ve had done and the service history. Don’t forget to dig out any spare keys you have and include them with everything else too.
You’re likely to get more money for your van if it’s recently been serviced and you have an MOT certificate with more than six months left on it. Read our article for tips on preparing your vehicle for an MOT, so you can give it the best chance of passing.
If you can’t get hold of previous certificates, you can use Car Guide to print a copy of the van’s MOT history.
Tip three: Clean your van properly
As mentioned above, a well-presented van gives the impression that it’s been looked after, which means it’s more likely to sell.
So, when it comes to the interior, throw away any rubbish, remove your personal possessions and vacuum the footwells and seats. Don’t forget to sweep out the load area or wash the floor either! You might want to consider polishing the dashboard, cleaning the windows and hanging up an air freshener too. If you don’t have time to do all of that, you can often have it valeted by a professional without spending too much.
Washing the exterior can also do wonders for showing your van in its best light. Use a microfibre cloth and vehicle shampoo to thoroughly clean the bodywork and wheels, not forgetting the wheel arches and door apertures. Rinse off all the suds and dry your van with a chamois leather before applying a polish or wax. Again, if you don’t want to do it yourself, you can probably have all of this done by a professional at a reasonable price.
Tip four: List your van for sale online
Like with many things these days, going online has become many people’s first port of call when it comes to selling a vehicle.
With so many websites out there, it’s now incredibly easy to sell a vehicle on the internet. Here are some of the ways in which you can sell your van online:
Online marketplaces: Sites like Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace sell pretty much anything, including vans. However, AutoTrader is one of the most popular for vehicles. Listing your van on one of these sites is usually free, however it’s likely you’ll have a lot of competition and dishonest users can lead to time-wasting.
Online auctions: eBay is the most recognisable platform; however, there are others out there too. The downside is that they usually charge a percentage of the selling price, and unless you add a ‘Buy It Now’ option or a reserve price, there’s the risk it could be sold below its market value.
Vehicle buying websites: Instead of going through auctions or dealing with buyers yourself, you can sell your van to a website like Motorway. You’re unlikely to get as good a price as selling privately, but you’ll get a quick and easy sale. Read our reviews of some of the best vehicle buying websites here.
Social media: If you have a social media account, you could try putting the word out there yourself by advertising your van on your news feed or in a group.
But whichever way you decide to sell your van, you need to make sure you advertise it properly. That’s what will set it apart from the rest and show potential buyers why they’re getting such a good deal.
Your advert should contain the following details:
- List price
- Year of manufacturer
- Engine size
- Type of gearbox
- Body type
- Service history
- List of features, including any rare specifications
- MOT expiry date
- Number of owners
- Fuel type
- Emission status
- Your contact details, including a phone number and email address
If you’re not sure about any of the above, we can provide you with most of this information – all you have to do is set up a free Car Guide account with us.
Your advert should display photos that show your van from every angle, including the load area with all the doors open. Pictures of optional extras like additional security, tow bars and roof racks should also be included in your ad, as should images of any damage that’s been done to your van or repairs that need to be made. Being honest upfront can save you time in the long-run, as potential buyers will already be aware of what they’re coming to see.
Tip five: Sell your van to a dealer
Traditionally, selling to a dealer meant taking your van to local car lots and negotiating with dealers on how much they were willing to pay for your vehicle.
However, it’s now much quicker and easier – not to mention less stressful – to go through a site like Motorway. They’ll provide you an instant valuation for your van, and once profiled it’ll go into their daily sale for dealers to compete for it, all online. They’ll then send you the highest offer received, all in as little as 24 hours. Your van can then be collected from home, all for free.
If you do decide to sell your van through a dealer, you must be prepared for the fact that they will be selling it on for a profit – and you won’t see any of that money. But even though you might get less than you would by selling privately, you will receive a good offer quickly.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that they may offer you a better deal if you buy or lease a replacement vehicle from them too, which we’ll go through in the next section.
You may be tempted to cut out the middlemen and their fees, but when selling a vehicle privately, you should be aware of the risks that are involved and take precautions to avoid them. Always meet potential buyers in open, public places, take down their full contact details and make sure your insurance policy covers you for unnamed drivers, in case they want to take your van for a test drive. Confirm you’ve received full payment before you hand over the documents and spare keys.
What to do once you sold your van
Once you’ve sold your van, you should notify the DVLA that you’re no longer the owner and hand over all of the paperwork – including the bottom section of the V5C – to the buyer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some dealers will consider part-exchanging your van for another type of vehicle.
If you decide to do this, a good tip is to negotiate a good price on the car that you have your eye on, before revealing that you want to part-exchange it for your old van. This can help you get a better deal than you would have done if you’d mentioned your van beforehand. Read more here.
As most business owners will know, if you’re VAT-registered, you’ll need to pay VAT (Value Added Tax) on most products and services you provide. This means you’ll need to charge VAT on the sale of your van.
To do this, you’ll need a VAT registration certificate and your purchase invoice proving VAT was paid when you bought your vehicle. You’ll also need a company bank account statement, so you can show the buyer that you’re selling the van on behalf of your business.
Because you don’t legally own your van until you’ve made all of the payments, you’re not allowed to sell it without talking to your finance provider first.
If you do want to sell your van before the end of your contract, they may allow you to pay a settlement figure in order to clear your loan. Once you’ve paid this, you’re the legal owner of the van and can sell it if you wish to.
It’s important to know that if you sell your van while it’s on finance and neglect to tell the buyer about the outstanding debt, you will be breaking the law and could be prosecuted for committing fraud.
When changing vehicles, you need to let your insurance company know. If you do this before the sale has taken place, they can amend the new terms of your policy so that you’re covered for driving your new van or car as soon as you need to be.
Even if you’re taking out insurance with a different company, you should arrange it as soon as possible, so that if something happens on the drive home after the sale, you’ll be protected.
If you drive without insurance, you could face a fine, have points added to your licence or even have your vehicle seized.