The vast number of motorcycles available for sale on eBay makes it a great place to look for your next ride, it’s where I bought my current bike and it’s definitely worth a look if you’re in the market, but what about the motorcycle you already own? Well, eBay’s a great place to sell your bike, too, and you can dramatically increase your chances of having a successful sale if you follow some basic tips. After all, why go through the bother unless you’re serious about selling?
You’ve heard the old saying, “common sense isn’t very common,” and these tips fit into that category. If you look at as many listings as I do, the question often pops up, “What were they thinking?” Here’s how your listing can be one of the stars and attract lots of high dollar bids.
- Take a lot of clear photos and closeups. – With the proliferation of cell phone cameras and inexpensive digital cameras, there is absolutely no excuse for not having a lot of great shots, from all angles, from all sides with plenty of closeups to point out the best and the worst. Scan the listings on any day and you’ll see plenty of examples where there are only two or three blurry pictures, all taken from the same side, all from 8 or 10 feet away. You can almost hear the buyers running away. The obvious question, “What are you hiding?” is the first thing everyone is wondering and, since you’re not there to answer, they simply move on. Buyers see the photos before they read the details. Grab them visually and pull them in so they want to know more.
- Get your bike ready for its closeups, wash it and detail it – No one wants to see your bike with 2 months of road grime or 5 years of dust, your potential buyer is looking for his next bike. Whether it’s going to be a daily rider or a winter project, the better it looks when the buyer first sees it, the more likely you’ll have a chance to tell your story. Besides, if your bike looks like you don’t care enough to do something as simple as keeping it clean, everyone will assume normal maintenance was ignored as well. Ten cents worth of soap and a few hours with a hose and rags can mean huge dollar differences when the bidding starts.
- Get rid of the clutter in the background – That pile of junk behind the bike in every photo makes you bike look like junk, too. It’s just another piece from the pile. It also makes it difficult to see the bike clearly. C’mon, you can’t even make the effort to pull the bike out of the garage or get that barn find out of the barn? Move it away from other items in the background, put it in front of something plain so the buyer’s attention is on the bike. If you have a lot of photos, you can include one where the bike is parked in a beautiful setting, something to give the buyer the idea that one day he might be riding it and stopped at a similar location. It’s a feel good beauty shot. But for the most part, plain backgrounds.
- Include the defects in your photos – Concentrate on making your bike look its best, but your photos are the equivalent of having the buyer right there, looking over the bike closely. If there is a paint bubble or dented tank or rust on the wheels, take a shot. The buyer will appreciate your honesty and you’ll avoid that awkward situation when the winning bidder shows up and sees a nasty surprise before you get paid.
- No burnouts and wheelies in the photos – You’re really proud of yourself, you learned to wheelie for a city block and burn the rear tire to shreds. Put those photos in your listing and prepare for 0 bids. Nothing screams “abused beater” like photos of someone, … well, … abusing the bike. As mentioned above, “What are they thinking?”
- Write a clear, accurate title for your listing – Some sellers try to be clever, including so much nonsense in the title, you may not be sure what is actually for sale. When a buyer is searching for a bike, he enters what he wants and lots of unrelated bikes sometimes show up. Sellers think if they have a BSA for sale, they’ll just throw in names like Norton and Triumph and snag those buyers, too, or if they have a CB750, they say CB500, CB550, CB350 and on and on. Well, it’s not clever, it’s annoying. It jumbles up the listings and makes it harder for people to find what they’re looking for. Besides that, eBay frowns upon the practice and will often cancel the listing altogether. If you want to sell your bike, identify what you have for sale. If there is something that makes it special, be brief and accurate but keep it short. You can include the details in the description.
- Take your time and write a great description – This is your chance to tell the potential buyer all about the bike. Write about the history of your motorcycle, maintenance, modifications, extras, options, anything and everything the buyer would want to know. Yes, this is where you sell it. Be clear, be accurate, but make sure you don’t leave anything out. Also, CHECK YOUR SPELLING! Use your computer spell checker to catch the obvious though lots of motorcycle terminology and names will show up as errors when they are not. Double check everything. If you’re not comfortable writing, ask a friend who has a way with words to help out.
- Don’t include lots of links and phone numbers to direct people away from eBay – You may just be trying to be helpful, but there are good reasons to follow this rule. eBay looks at this form of contact as someone trying to complete the sale outside of eBay to get around the fees for the listing and sale and they will cancel your listing if they catch it. If you have a problem with the fees, the best way to avoid them is to not use eBay in the first place. If you like the great marketplace and exposure eBay provides, pay the fee, it’s worth it. Also, instructions to call or email outside of eBay is a common tactic used by scammers. If you’re honest, don’t make yourself look like you’re not. You want the buyer to trust you, not be suspicious.
- Make it easy to buy with a great price – What is your motorcycle worth? Everyone thinks their bike is special and sometimes it is, if you have a perfect specimen or an unrestored and complete collector item you might get really big money for it, but, often, you can find many similar bikes already on sale. Compare yours to those and put yourself somewhere in the market range. Just because you have the same model as a perfect one that sold for $20,000 doesn’t mean your non running junker will bring the same. Think. Also, set a reasonable starting bid. If you must get $15,000, begin bidding low, maybe $1,000 and set a reserve price. If you set the starting bid at $14,995, no one will bid because they’ll know that one bid will win it and they’re hoping for a bargain. Let the bidding work its way up. With the high starting bid and no one bidding, everyone will think there’s a problem with the bike everyone else is aware of, so they won’t bid, either. With 20 bids before getting to that price, the same person might bid that and more because it’s obvious many people want the same bike. An added plus, if you’re an eBay member, you can search for completed listings to see what similar items sold for, very handy when putting a price on your new listing.
- List your motorcycle for sale – This simply means you have to list it to sell it. Thinking about selling it, planning to sell it, getting ready to sell it and talking about selling it is no different than doing nothing. Unless you get it out there, it isn’t going to sell.
The Kneeslider is an eBay partner and we try to highlight some of the best deals out there or some of the more unusual listings when they turn up. Because I look at so many motorcycles for sale every day and because I see so many really terrible photos, descriptions and careless mistakes, I thought I would give you a chance to get a leg up on the rest of the sellers out there who rush through the process only to be disappointed when their bike doesn’t sell or sells for less than it should.
Don’t be “that guy.” Follow the tips above and get the best possible price for your bike.
If you don’t have an eBay account and you want to sell your bike – go here.
See what others are selling in the motorcycles for sale listings.