12 Things to Know about RV Consignment
- What is RV Consignment?
- How RV Consignment Works?
- What does RV Consignment Cost?
- Is RV Consignment for Me?
- Finding the “Best RV Consignment Near Me”
- Prepping your RV For Appraisal & Consignment
- Here’s a detailed checklist to Prep Your RV For Sale
- A RV Buyers Inspection Checklist
- Tips For Cleaning the Outside Of Your RV
- Final Checks & Repairs
- Think You’re Ready to Consign? Read this First
- Final Words & Advice
How to Boost Your Success With RV Consignment
Your definitive guide to selling your RV with an RV consignment dealer: what consignment is, how to know if it’s right for you, choosing a consignment dealer, and what to expect during the sale process.
RV life has exploded in popularity these past few years. As an RV owner, you know the joys of RV life better than anyone. You’ve traveled the U.S. and possibly Canada, having the time of your life.
Sometimes, however, life throws you curve balls that change your life in ways you never saw coming. Maybe it’s a job loss or your kids moving back in. Suddenly other priorities keep you from being able to enjoy your RV lifestyle. Your beautiful rig just sits in the driveway month after month.
Or maybe you’re like many other people who don’t have the time or budget to keep up with maintenance or repair costs. If you aren’t handy, they can add up quickly. Whatever your reason may be for not using your RV, just know you’re not alone.
There are thousands of RVs sitting idle just like yours.
Fortunately for you, the appeal of nomadic RV life has caught on with GenXers and Millennials who long to break from the traditional mortgage-bound life. They install Wi-Fi in a van or an RV and work from the road. Others want to travel while they’re young and introduce nature to their children by hiking in national parks or fishing in hideaway streams. What does this mean for you? It’s a way to monetize your dormant RV.
Thousands of people hungry for RV life are lined up at dealers buying RV’s faster than they can be manufactured. Some of them don’t have the whopping dollar amount to cover such an investment, so they turn to RV consignment dealers looking for used models in good condition. Thousands are shaved off the price tag in the blink of an eye, making it affordable for these buyers.
This article will explain in-depth what RV consignment is and how it might be the perfect way for you to sell your RV.
What Is RV Consignment?
If this term leaves you scratching your head, don’t feel bad. Not everyone knows this service is available for RV owners looking to sell. Just like selling other large investment items like a home or a car, RV consignment dealers sell your RV on contract. Lots of people enjoy this option because it takes the marketing pressure off the seller. The dealer fields all the phone call queries, shows your RV to potential buyers, and does all the necessary social media and internet marketing essential to selling anything these days.
Other helpful services an RV consignment dealer provides are:
· Financing. Many people still don’t want to plunk down a huge wad of cash for anything, preferring to pay by installment. Buyers selling on their own cannot offer this service but consignment dealers can arrange it in partnership with finance companies they trust.
· Staging. A good RV consignment dealer will have a team on call to make repairs, clean, and stage your RV for sale so it presents well. There is an extra cost for this service but it should not be neglected. More on that later. AN RV is disrepair or dirty is an RV that can’t be sold at top market value.
· Ready Buyers. A dealer who has been in the industry for a long time enjoying a good reputation will have a list of hungry buyers waiting on specific models or types of RVs. This is a powerful resource included in their service package. Don’t discount it. A list with hundreds of buyers might have more than one interested party for your gently used RV. This means a faster, smoother sale for you.
· Industry Marketing Resources. Savvy RV consignment dealers have not only industry connections but are knowledgeable about which type of advertising will work for your RV. RVTrader.com and RVT.com are go-to resources for dealers researching the latest marketing trends, types of ads that are most successful, and most importantly where not to waste time or advertising budget.
How RV Consignment Works
In most cases, when you meet with your chosen consignment dealer they will offer you a sales agreement contract for 1-3 months. In their experience, this is the period of time necessary to fix, clean, prepare, and market your RV for sale. You sign the contract and the dealer gets to work. (If you need to sell your RV for immediate cash, now would be the time to ask if they buy RVs outright. If not, then consignment isn’t your selling method. You’ll have to sell privately as the owner.)
Once your RV is market-ready, their team begins marketing it to their pool of potential buyers as well as buyers in the U.S. who may be looking for your model RV. All this will go on in frenzy while you relax at home waiting for a text with those magical words, “we sold your RV.” You won’t have to deal with any of it, which is the most cited reason why people choose RV consignment. All you have to do is hold out your hand and accept the check.
What Does RV Consignment Cost?
This is an honest question. No dealer is working for his health; they want to earn a living, too. A consignment dealer typically takes a percentage of profits from the sale. If you’re not willing to part with that as a thank you for their services and resources then consignment isn’t for you. But you should remember what a valuable partner they can be with their vast experience and connections. They will no doubt be able to get the maximum market price whereas you may not be able to. A percentage of the profit is actually not much to ask.
So how much is a percentage? It depends. Many factors weigh in. It varies from dealer to dealer and how they set up their fee schedule. Before meeting with a consignment dealer, research yourself what fair market value is for your RV here: NADA Guides for RVs.
Once you know your RV’s value you’ll be in a better position to know if the selling price a dealer suggests is on target and how much you stand to make from the sale after dealer commission.
The commission usually works one of two ways: either you will pay a flat rate percentage of the sale price, (10-15%) or you agree on a sales price with you keeping a specified amount while the dealer takes the remainder.
Is RV Consignment Right for Me?
To decide whether or not RV consignment is for you, be honest with yourself. Are you willing to invest many hours at the computer editing photos, writing descriptions, uploading maintenance records, and composing marketing for Facebook and Instagram? Do you have the flexible schedule necessary to answer phone calls, texts, and emails about your RV for sale? Do you know which documentation and paperwork are necessary to lawfully transfer your title, etc.?
If your answer is no to all the above, RV consignment will be a Godsend for you. However, it is worth noting both the pros and cons of consignment before making your final decision.
· RV Consignment dealer resources, marketing time and savvy, industry experience, market knowledge, sales staff, a ready pool of buyers, industry connections, documentation, and contract knowledge.
· Team to repair, clean, and stage your RV for sale
· Expertise with all RV industry models and trends
· Employees to handle calls, texts, and emails
· Financing options for buyers via trusted institutions
· Ability to arrange payment of seller liens on the RV via the sales process
· Paying a commission on the sale
· You need to keep carrying RV insurance on your rig until it’s sold. If your RV is already insured, you will need to switch it to a consignment insurance policy while it is under contract.
· Possible limits to selling your RV anywhere else while under contract
· You will not be able to use your RV while under consignment
Finding the “Best RV Consignment Near Me”
It is highly recommended that you reach out to several dealers in your area before settling on your final choice. You need a reputable dealer with a great sales and customer service record.
Here are some tips for finding the best RV consignment dealer near you:
1) Get on the internet and make a list of dealers in the area. Try to find the ones in the most populated areas with lots of sidewalks and foot traffic.
2) Read their online ratings and reviews. Don’t stop with the ones on their website. Read the ones on Facebook, Google, and Yelp also.
3) Contact them individually and ask for a copy of the consignment agreement from each one. Read it carefully.
4) Ask them about financing options, trade possibilities, buying outright options, and commission fee structure.
When you’re ready, set up a face to face meeting with the one you believe will do right by you. At the meeting, go in-depth with asking questions to further qualify the dealer. Questions should be specific, such as:
· What is your consignment period? If you withdraw before the period is over find out what penalties are involved.
· Where will you market my RV? Will they only use old-school methods like newspapers or trade magazines or will they also put it all over the internet including on several social media platforms. If so, which platforms?
· When can my RV be appraised and how long will it take to know the market value?
· Will my rig be maintained while under consignment? This can be important, as tasks like running the generator periodically and checking vales on equipment must be done.
· Will the dealer present all offers, even if they are under the asking price? Depending on how quickly you need to sell your RV, this can be vital. It should be your final decision whether or not to accept lower offers than the sale price initially agreed on.
· What are your commission options? Find out specifically what the dealer’s cut will be and make sure to review all documents carefully before finally consigning.
Prepping Your RV for Appraisal & Consignment
We highly recommend taking advantage of an RV consignment dealer’s prep team for this if you are a busy person with a tight schedule or aren’t very handy. It’s well worth the fee they charge and will save you time and sweat. If you don’t plan on taking advantage of the RV consignment dealer’s services for this part, be prepared to put some time and effort in.
You should however take advantage of the dealer’s free appraisal and advice on what you should repair, upgrade, improve, and clean both inside and out, top to bottom. They know which nooks and crannies buyers peek into and which items need to be in flawless condition even on used RVs to get top dollar.
Here’s a detailed checklist to prep your RV for sale:
· Check the batteries. Batteries lose strength slowly each month while sitting idle. Make sure they are fully charged and have the proper water levels.
· Flush the RV water tank and check for leaks. Sanitize it with bleach.
· Check all the appliances. Plug into a power source and make sure everything works. Make sure your propane tanks are in good working order by inspecting the connections, valves, and firing also. If your tanks are refillable check the expiration dates to make sure they’re current.
· Check the tires. Make sure they are not worn down too far or fraying, and free from punctures. Make sure the tire pressure is at the PSI recommended by the RV’s user manual.
· Inspect the generator and engine. Begin with all the fluid levels making sure they are full. Check each of these carefully because a buyer will: generator oil, transmission, brake fluid, power steering, windshield washer, coolant, and engine oil. As you’re doing this watch for leaks and repair anything that is leaking. If your generator has been off for several months it will need to be juiced up again.
· Check gauges and lights. Make sure the gauges are reading accurately. Turn on each light on your RV inside and out and replace any bulb not working.
· Inspect the RV exterior seams. Buyers will notice these so go over your RV with a fine-toothed comb to make sure there are no gaps. If there are, seal them. If you find cracks or water damage you need to have this repaired or you won’t get top market value for your rig.
· Check the safety features. Make sure the smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, PL gas leak detector, and fire extinguisher are in proper working order.
· Do a thorough spring cleaning on the inside of your RV including all accessories you plan to include like lawn chairs, outdoor grills, bedding, towels, kitchenware, and utensils. Wash the windows inside and out taking great care to get the sills also. Launder the rugs and curtains and toss any lingering toiletries in the trash. Thoroughly clean and sanitize floors, refrigerator, and bathroom. Wipe down inside every cabinet with a disinfecting cleaner.
· Don’t forget the driver area if you are selling a Class B or A. When a buyer takes a test drive they will notice every detail here.
· Carefully inspect the outside of your RV from top to bottom. Make sure the roof has no leaks.
· Check the water containment systems for leaks and flush them before sanitizing them.
· Cosmetic enhancements are always a good idea. Paint and repair the outside for better presentation to buyers. Polish all the wood and vinyl inside the rig with a glossy repair polish.
· Staging: put vases in the RV so the dealer can add fresh flowers. Consider putting a few glossy RV Life magazines on the table. Put a few cans of spray air freshener under the sink for the dealer to use. Remove any family mementos or personal items. This allows potential buyers to imagine living in your RV.
An RV Buyer’s Inspection Checklist
In case you think we went overboard in our last section, you might want to print out this buyer’s inspection checklist and this buyer’s road test checklist to make sure everything on the lists are taken care of. It’s the best way to ensure you get the absolute best price for your RV. Keep reading for more specific help.
Tips for Cleaning the Outside of Your RV
This will take a time commitment from you but it is worth that time to make your RV look its absolute best to potential buyers. This step alone could garner you hundreds more at the final sale. The exterior of your RV is made up of many different types of materials. To present your rig in the best light, you should use the proper cleaner for all these materials.
Begin with the Roof
The top of your RV dirties the sides when it rains, as the dirt accumulated there drips down the sides ruining the nice wash job you just gave it. Don’t neglect the roof!
There are generally two types of materials used to construct an RV roof: rubber and fiberglass. If you don’t know which type you have to consult your owner’s manual. Once you know this you can begin.
Your roof will have a polyurethane gel coat to protect it from the elements. Dirt, tree sap and bugs are no doubt caked on the top of your RV and need to be removed to bring back the material’s glossy shine. Start by sweeping off the loose debris with a broom. Then, use a specially-formulated insect and tar remover to any areas that need it.
Once this is done, you can scrub the roof with a sponge and a water/liquid detergent mixture. Then use an acetone cleanser before waxing the roof.
The first key to cleaning rubber is to use a specially-formulated product that won’t cause damage to the rubber. Stay away from any petroleum or citrus acid ingredients in the cleansers. Using a mild laundry detergent is the most practical option. After you have scrubbed the roof rinse it off and use a rubber conditioner to protect it.
Cleaning the RV Exterior and Sides
The outside of your RV will be constructed of one of these materials: fiberglass, metal, or painted metal. Older models are most likely to have metal sides. If your RV has metal sides of stainless steel or aluminum, wash the outside first with a mild detergent and then scrub it using a soft mitt with a non-abrasive cleanser. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry.
If your RV is made from fiberglass it is highly recommended to wash it with soap and wax combination cleanser specially formulated for fiberglass. Use a brush with an extension pole to reach the top areas and have a smaller scrub brush handy for tough stains.
Cleaning Windows and Seals
This is important for two reasons: buyers will be looking at the details for cleanliness and the seals need to be kept supple to perform the important job of sealing out moisture and preventing mold. Use a silicone-based spray cleaner for this task and wash windows as you normally would with a mild soap.
Tires & Rims
Scrub the rubber wheels with a hard-bristled brush and mild detergent. Once dry, use a restorative spray on the rims to make them shine. (You can also choose a special glossy spray on the tires themselves that is designed to make them look new.)
Plastic Covers & Vents
Don’t neglect these details! Make sure to detail your RV inside and out, every inch of it. Not only will your RV smell pleasant when buyers inspect it, but they will also be reassured that it has been well-maintained. This is a big plus for buyers and can make all the difference.
Use a brush to get into the crevices of vents and wash thoroughly. If there are any stained pieces you can lightly sand them with gentle sandpaper and use a restorative cream made for plastic.
Potential buyers will be looking at absolutely everything. Don’t forget to clean anything that pulls out like retractable awnings or portions of your RV that bump-out. Clean on top and underneath. Any accessories like lawn chairs in the storage also need to be cleaned.
A final note on cleaning your RV exterior: power washing is not recommended as it may damage or crack the fiberglass. The last thing you want is to create a problem for yourself or an urgent repair. Take the time to wash it by hand and you won’t have to worry about damaging your asset.
Final Checks and Repairs
If your RV has broken areas or non-functioning appliances, these need to be taken care of. If you know a tradesman who can fix your issues, great! If not, it is highly recommended to contact an RV repair specialist who can correct any issues you know about and possibly correct things you didn’t know were wrong. If you have an older model it can mean more money at the final sale. If you have a newer model it will mean the difference between sold or not sold. Newer models are expected to be in tip-top shape even though they are used.
Think You’re Ready to Consign? Read This First
After all this effort you’re finally ready to deliver your rig to the RV consignment dealer. Or, are you? It is always good to know what “buyer beware” websites are telling potential buyers for your RV. That way, you can do one more quick check to know you’re presenting at your best.
· “Never buy sight unseen.” If your dealer does not have a showroom lot to present your rig but only puts photos online, find another dealer. A reputable dealer will be hands-on, showing the physical model, and explaining benefits.
· “Check for mold.” This is a big one and it’s as important in an RV as it is when buying a house. The same sad ending will happen if old is hiding inside your RV.
· “Check for roof leaks.” Potential buyers will be looking at the ceiling in your RV for brown spots. This means there are roof leaks. Even the smallest leaks can create big problems. Check your roof one more time.
· “Feel the floors.” If there is any bubbling, if there are any tears or holes especially around sink or bath areas this can mean hidden problems. If the floors have any give in them it means possible rotting. Make sure your floors are in tip-top shape.
· “Look under the trim.” The exterior walls can hide rust under the trim. Buyers will be looking closely here to make sure the metal walls are in good shape on older models.
· “Open exterior compartments.” As earlier stated, all storage compartments should be clean and dry as well as any equipment or accessories stored here.
· “Push on the walls.” Buyers will be pressing the walls to see if there is any give. This could mean rotting. Check your walls by gently pushing on them.
· “Check the roof.” Aren’t you glad we told you to clean and repair your roof? Buyers will be checking for dirt and caked-on sap as well as going over all the caulking to make sure it has tight seals. Check your roof again.
· “Walk on the top.” Buyers will be gently stepping on the roof to make sure there are no weak areas. Check it yourself first!
· “Check out the dealer.” You won’t be the only one Googling the RV dealer. Potential buyers will also be researching to make sure they’re reputable with a solid customer satisfaction rating. Be sure you have chosen wisely.
Final Words of Advice
Now that you’ve made it this far you’re ready to deliver your rig. Some sellers recommend taking one last goodbye trip in their rig before handing it off to the dealer. Others just want it off their hands and either way you feel is perfectly natural. Whether you’re reluctantly selling for financial reasons or wanting to plant some roots near your kids in a proper house, it’s all okay. Don’t beat yourself up about your decision to sell. Remember, you can always begin a new RV life, later on, should you want to.
As you hand over the keys, feel confident about your decision. You’re in good hands and about to make a fantastic deal for yourself and your situation.
RV consignment with a reputable consignment dealer can be the easiest way to sell your RV fast, especially if you take advantage of their repair and cleaning services.
You can, of course, sell it yourself privately and this guide goes a long way in showing you step by step just what’s involved and how much time and energy that will take. Our recommendation is to strongly consider RV consignment as a way to let the professionals with industry-savvy handle every aspect while you benefit without lifting a finger. There’s a lot to be gained from a dealer’s years of experience, insider industry knowledge, and sales skills, not to mention the resources they have at their fingertips. A ready pool of buyers saves days and sometimes weeks of waiting for your RV to sell.
Expertise is always a plus, not a minus. An RV consignment dealer commits their time and energy to make sure you get the absolute best price for your specific model and directs their staff to present it to the public professionally. A commission on the sale might seem like a negative but when the final sale price exceeds your expectations, you’ll know why choosing to consign your RV with a dedicated dealer was worth it.