April 27, 2017

Need to sell a van at auction? Here’s how

If you have a van that you need to shift quickly, an auction is an ideal way to sell a van as it will be placed in front of hundreds of buyers ready to part with their money.

If you buy a van on finance lease, it’s likely that the time will come where you need to sell it to cover your balloon payment.

The best thing about auction? If you’re clever and you do your research, you can get a good price when you sell a van.

Here are our tips for getting the best possible price when you sell a van at auction.

How to sell a van at auction

Choose the right auction house

Established auction houses may have higher fees, but they will generally provide a better service. The right auction house should be well organised, financially stable and have an engaged audience. This gives you a better chance to sell a van. You should make sure your van is entered into a commercial vehicle auction; this will give you the right audience, therefore increasing your chance of getting a higher price.

Know your target market

Before you arrive at auction, it’s worth knowing what type of buyers will be present. Why? Because there are generally two types of van buyers – trade and non-trade. The reason you should know the difference is that they generally buy at different price points.

Trade buyers will look for vans as close to retail condition as possible, and will compete for them. High specifications and niche configurations will be of particular interest to the professional buyer. Non-trade buyers, on the other hand, will be looking for a bargain – usually found with older, high mileage vans.


Auction houses charge commission for their work. This is usually negotiable, so remember – you don’t ask, you don’t get! Don’t push it, though – think of the hassle avoided by going to auction, and the work put in to sell a van. It’s worth the money, right?

You are normally expected to pay a fee whether your van sells or not, so be mindful of that and make sure you’re aware of the fees involved in the event of a no sale.

Be honest

It’s illegal to knowingly misrepresent the vehicle when you sell a van. It’s also illegal to ‘shill bid’, which is the practice of driving the price up by bidding with no intention of making a purchase. The penalties range from withdrawn lots, bans from future auctions, fines and ultimately, prosecution.

Want to sell a van? Give it a good scrub

Many people sign write their vans, so if you’re planning to sell a van that’s signwritten, get it professionally removed prior to auction. It goes without saying that you should clean the vehicle inside and out. You should sell a van in as presentable a condition as possible.

Clear any outstanding finance

Vehicles sold at auction (or anywhere, for that matter) should not have any outstanding finance associated with it. Violating this rule can result in a heavy fine, or worse. In the same way, any insurance claims made as a result of accidents should be declared too.


An older van with all documentation, including service history, MOT, V5 and if you have it – a spare key is much more appealing to prospective buyers than a shiny new one with no documentation. Bear in mind that missing documentation can negatively affect the price when you sell a van.

Forget the sentimental value

You may love your van, but don’t forget that a buyer just sees a functional metal box on wheels. If you’re unsure, ask the auctioneers for a realistic valuation. Failing that, have a look at what similar vehicles sold for and price your van accordingly.

Emphasise your van’s features

Retail specifications are always attractive to buyers. If your van has metallic paint, alloy wheels, satellite navigation, air conditioning, ply lining or an entertainment system – make sure these are part of your van’s description. At the very least they will add a little to the sale price.

We offer quality vans on great finance deals including Finance Lease. Give us a call on 0845 021 0444 or enquire online!