There’s no doubt that when it’s time to sell your pontoon boat the best way to do it is quickly, and of course – for the most money. In our experience, we have seen boat sellers commit the same mistakes over and over again. Often times, boats will sit on the marketplace for 6 months getting dirty, deteriorating mechanically, and costing the owners a fortune. The end result? Stagnant boats, the ones that are on the market more than 60 days, sell for less!
Over the years we have made almost every mistake there is in boat sales. Learn from our experience. The following are some key points on how to sell your boat quickly. Some are obvious, some are painful. However, if you do what we suggest you will sell your boat faster and for more dollars than other comparable boats on the market. You ask “this is too obvious why doesn’t everyone do it?” They don’t. Be thankful. It’s your opportunity.
Price it right. Price it right. Price it right.
Go online and check all of the internet sites. Yachtworld, BoatTrader, Boats.com etc. etc. Print a copy of all the comparable boats to yours. Note the total number. Note any key features others boats have or don’t have. Also, look at other boats’ engine hours, does it have a trailer, mooring cover, Bimini top etc., etc. This is all very important. You need to compare apples to apples. (Example – pontoon boats with trailers sell for more.) Note the locations where the boats are listed. (Example – Florida boats sell for less – heat, sun, wind, salt, and year-round use.)
Call a few brokers that have pontoons that are comparable to yours. Tell them who you are and what you have. Most brokers should be very cooperative. Ask them why the boat they have listed hasn’t sold. Ask them what they think it would take to sell their boat. Ask them what they think your boat is worth. Ask them if they were going to trade it what they would give you for it.
Check the pricing guides at NADAGUIDE.COM, but don’t put much faith in what they say. Most of these, in our opinion, are totally inaccurate but they are what the banks base your boat’s loan value on. So although inaccurate they are still something to consider.
Now sit down. Look at all the data you’ve collected. Calculate what it truly costs to hold on to your pontoon for a few more months. Be honest with yourself! (Note: what you owe on your boat has nothing to do with its retail value.) Don’t worry about putting “wiggle room” in your number. You won’t have to worry about “room to negotiate” if nobody calls. Now price your boat to be the next one to sell. We know, it’s painful, but we’ve never heard of any seller ever telling us “wow, you sold my boat to cheap!”
Prepare your pontoon to sell quickly.
Because you priced your boat aggressively a lot of buyers are going to come looking. Positive first impressions are vital. This may seem obvious but then how come most boats for sale are not properly prepared to sell? We can’t believe how many sellers have dirty, smelly boats that are mechanically wanting on the market. What a waste of time! Make sure your boat is polished, clean and shiny. Carpets, engine, cushions, everything. If you don’t have the time to hire a detailing company. There is no doubt that this will be the best money you ever spent.
Make sure everything works properly. No jury-rigged systems. Make sure the boat runs well. (We can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen sellers get to the goal line and fumble with a boat that just won’t run right. Make sure your boat doesn’t smell. Clean it.
Get your personal junk off the boat. Everything. If you don’t plan to sell it with the boat remove it. Cluttered boats don’t show well.
Take good photos. We can’t stress this enough. The majority of boats sell online! Good pictures will drive the interest you need to get a good offer on your boat. Take extra photos and make them available to serious buyers upon request. Don’t hesitate to use pictures to point out the items that need to be corrected, these are great to help a potential buyer decide on whether your boat is worth making a trip to see. The internet is a powerful tool. Internet buyers can’t touch, feel or see your boat. Professional pictures are worth a thousand words, and will add credibility to your listing and separate you from the pack.
Place your boat where the most potential buyers can see it and get easy access. Facebook Groups like Used Pontoon Boats For Sale have over 80,000+ members, the majority of them, all looking to grab a good deal on used boat. Most people agree, this day in age, the best place to get traffic is online. Make sure to have your boat somewhere close by, in the backyard or marina, where you can show it on a nice sunny weekend day when the buyers are out to buy.
Trailerable boats – Highway frontage. Place your boat where 1000’s of cars go buy it a day. You can’t get better advertising.
Move the boat to the brokers or dealers office. This makes it easy for the salespeople to show your boat. (Make sure their location is not on some remote “backwater” where you need a GPS to find it!)
Pick an aggressive broker that’s going to work for you.
Why? Because selling your own boat is a full time job. A job you don’t want unless you have to. Do you really want to arrange the advertising, handle all of the showings and sea trials and deal with the negotiations? Do you have the time and connections to handle the financing, surveys, repairs, insurance and eventual settlement? Do you want to take a trade? Take our word for it; it’s a lot to deal with! Brokers typically operate on a paid on performance commission basis between 5-10 percent of the total sales price. Keep in mind you may need to increase your price to include the broker’s commission. Click here to hire a broker.
Now some tips on picking the right sales organization:
Check with your boating buddies. See what they think about the different local dealers and their experiences. You can also check out some of the boating forums such as HullTruth and Tidalfish to view what other boaters have experienced with local dealers and brokers.
Make sure you get the right salesperson in the organization. You want one who is hungry and experienced. Try to figure this out before you call. (Getting stuck with a “dud” can be a catastrophe!) Again ask your friends about their experiences.
Make sure their location will give your boat plenty of exposure. A highway site or active marina is best.
Ask them about their affiliation and experience with the big used boat internet sites such as Facebook, Boats.com and Used Pontoon Boats For Sale. All of these are potentially good websites to list your boat.
Check out their print advertising. Although not as effective as it used to be its still part of the package.
Ask them to do the pricing research. Even if you have already done it. Make sure they tell you what they can sell your boat for quickly, not just the number you’d like to hear. Ask them how they came up with this appraisal number. Remember a boat priced wrong is a waste of your time and money!
Make sure that your boat is “special” to them. If your just one of 100+ other listings with one of the “mega” dealers your boat will get lost in the pile.
Make sure the dealer will prepare a quality listing. Look at his current listings online. Make sure they use plenty of pictures and an accurate and appealing description.
Consider giving the broker an aggressive net to work from. The more potential income the hungrier they’ll be.
Sell it yourself
Using our FREE listing you service you can get your listing in front of thousands of monthly shoppers by listing on our website at www.upbfs.com. Additionally, members can join and list their pontoon boats for sale on our Facebook Group free of charge. Featured listings are just $19.99 and run until the boat sells. Our customers have had great luck with these sites. The key to success is to describe your boat honestly, use plenty of pictures, and communicate promptly.
You’ll be surprised as to how many calls you’ll get.
Not always the best option, but an option. Sometimes it’s just better to “punt”, whether you’re getting out of boating or trading up. Don’t expect retail but, you might be surprised how much you get and how fast you get it. This option might seem the most painful but if you add up all the costs of holding on to your boat for 6 months + (average recent sales duration for brokered boats) the wholesale figure might seem like a bargain!
We buy boats for cash. Contact us to get an offer.