Should I trade in or sell my commercial vehicle? This is a question that many drivers, owners, or fleet managers ask themselves when they’re ready to move on from their commercial van or truck. While selling can often get you more money, many prefer the simplicity of trading in their current unit to a dealership in exchange for something newer. To help weigh your options, Commercial Truck Trader has put together five things to consider before deciding to trade in or sell your commercial vehicle.
1. Your Vehicle’s Value
Before you make any decision, you should look into how much your vehicle is worth. One of the biggest benefits to selling your commercial truck or van yourself is that you can receive more profit. When you trade in, dealerships might give you less for your unit since they’re also looking to make a profit on its resale.
While you might not get as much upfront for your vehicle when you trade in, you could end up paying less in sales tax. Many states will charge sales tax on the difference between the trade-in value and the price of your new commercial vehicle.
When you calculate how much you’d like for the sale or trade-in value of your vehicle, remember to account for the cost of any upfits and maintenance you performed that could increase its value.
2. How Much Time You Have for the Process
The process of selling your commercial vehicle can be very time consuming and even challenging if it’s your first time. If you list the unit yourself, you’ll have to take the following steps:
- Determine a selling price
- List your vehicle
- Gather the vehicle’s title and maintenance history
- Screen potential buyers
- Clean your vehicle before sale
After you’ve found the buyer, you’ll still need to file the proper paperwork for the sale and transfer the title in the new owner’s name. If you’re not good with logistics and record keeping, many find that trading in can be an easier option.
Trading in a unit typically involves visiting dealerships to find out which can offer you the best value for your unit. Some dealerships will even take care of transferring the title and registering your next vehicle.
However, selling your commercial truck or van doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you list your unit on a trusted marketplace. In fact, we previously wrote about how selling a vehicle on CommercialTruckTrader.com can be done in five simple steps.
3. Who You’d Rather Negotiate With
Both selling and trading in will require some level of negotiation to ensure you get the best value for your vehicle. If you sell your commercial truck or van yourself, you’ll be able to set the sale price of your unit before a potential buyer can negotiate it. You’ll also have a say in how low you’re willing to go to make the sale.
Trade-ins allow for negotiations with a dealership but, much like finding the right buyer, you can shop your trade-in vehicle around to different dealers. Research and speak with several dealerships to see which is willing to pay the most for your vehicle, along with which has the best inventory to select your new unit from.
4. If You Have an Existing Loan
We recommend waiting to sell or trade in a commercial truck or van until after it’s fully paid off. If you are determined to sell with an existing loan, this could affect its value and increase the time the sale process takes. However, some dealers might pay off your old loan if you trade in your unit, then roll over your current loan balance into the one for your new vehicle.
5. If You Plan on Buying a New Vehicle
Another factor to consider is if you want to buy a new commercial vehicle. If so, how soon after you get rid of your old one? Say you traded in your old Class 3 truck to a dealership, you could use the amount they give you as a down payment for your next truck.
Depending on how long it takes you to sell your commercial truck or van, you might have to wait longer to purchase a new unit. You may need to use the money you make from the sale as a down payment for your new vehicle. If you do buy a new unit while your old one is still listed, you could end up paying costs on both vehicles until the old one is sold.
Conclusion: When deciding whether to trade in or sell your commercial vehicle, remember to keep in mind your personal or professional needs and priorities. Many drivers, owners, or fleet managers gain the highest profit from private selling, while others prefer trading in since it can be less of a hassle. Your vehicle’s value, how much time you’re willing to spend on this process, who you’d rather negotiate with, whether you have an existing loan, and if you plan to buy a new vehicle are key considerations that can help make your decision.