The Guide to Selling Your Van

Five steps to getting the most out of selling your old van

A van is among the most valuable assets a business can have.

But if yours has reached the end of its useful life with your company and it's time to upgrade, you need to know how to go about selling it responsibly and maximising its resale value.

This requires planning, preparation and a little research. In the long run, you'll find putting in some effort early on will pay dividends.

Part one
Getting ready to sell your van


You may have decided to sell your van, but that means more than simply handing it over to someone for cash. For starters, you must ensure you have the proper documentation in order to finalise a sale.

Buyers will expect:

  • The V5C registration certificate (log book). If you’ve lost it, you can apply for a new one.
  • Service history. Include receipts for major repairs if you can, as this shows that you’re a careful owner.
  • Owner's manual.
  • MOT
  • Details of any outstanding finance on the van.
  • Driving licence and proof of address.

To attract the best buyers, and to demonstrate you're a reliable seller, it’s also worth digging out all the important bits and pieces new owners will want. For example:

  • Spare keys
  • The security code for replacement keys
  • The locking wheel nut, if you have alloy wheels
  • Extras like radio fascias

Finally, if you’re VAT registered and selling as a company, you'll need to charge VAT on the sale. For this you should have:

  • A VAT registration certificate.
  • Your original purchase invoice showing VAT was paid when you bought the van.
  • A company bank account statement or cheque from your original purchase. This proves to buyers that you’re selling the vehicle on behalf of the business.

Part two
Preparing your van for sale


Buyers frequently say that condition is key when it comes to purchasing used vehicles, so it pays to prepare your van to a high standard.

Start by repairing any problem areas you’ve noticed in your maintenance checks, focussing on the details that buyers will be looking for. You can make sure you cover everything by methodically checking every section of the vehicle:


  • Look for damage to the bodywork, such as rust, chipped paint and dents.
  • Check for worn tyres, and ensure they’re properly inflated.
  • Repair any broken lights or damaged wheel rims.


  • Fix broken handles, locks, mirrors or seat belts.
  • Start the engine and check dashboard lights for warning signs.


  • Listen for ominous sounds like rattles or squeaks that could indicate problems, and investigate the source of them.
  • Check the oil, water and coolant levels.
  • If you’re unsure of anything, or suspect serious mechanical problems, contact your van insurance provider or go to a mechanic for a proper service.
  • Spending a little time and money now will improve the price you get when selling a van.

Once you’ve finished the health check, it’s time for the cosmetics. Remove all of your equipment and personal clutter from the van and give it a thorough clean, inside and out. Taking care with finishing touches such as a full interior clean, a coat of wax and an air freshener will make a big difference with buyers.

Part three
Van valuation


The best way to find a realistic asking price when selling a van is to do your research, and get quotes from multiple sources. There are plenty of places to do this, and each one takes a slightly different approach and offers a different service:

List prices

List prices are essentially a recommended retail price for used vehicles, which give you an idea of what price specific makes and models of secondhand vans could sell for. Sites such as WiseBuyers have searchable databases.

Online buyers

A quick online search for “sell my van” will yield dozens of businesses ready to give you an instant quote. The advantage is that you can simply enter your registration number and they’ll tell you what they are willing pay (pending checks).

However, they are doing so without seeing the condition of your van, so it won’t necessarily be a fair price. And remember, each website may have a different offer, so try a few.


As with online buyers, dealers want to make a profit on vehicle sales. However, they’re also able to inspect your van and take the condition into account. They may also consider trade-ins. If you’re upgrading, that could mean a better deal overall. Again, it's worth approaching a few dealers, and keep notes on what each offer involves so you can do the maths later.

Part four
Where to sell your van


Just because you’ve received a quote from someone, doesn’t mean you automatically have to sell to them. There are a range of options available to you, and it’s vital you work out which one’s right for you before agreeing to anything.

Private sales

From dedicated sites like Exchange and Mart and Autotrader to generalist buying-and-selling website Gumtree, there’s never been a wider range of online options for selling a van. One thing all of these sites have in common, however, is that you’re responsible for the majority of the process. That means writing the advert, dodging scammers and protecting your documents and vehicle during viewings. You might cut out the middle men, and their fees, but you need to be aware of the risks and take action to avoid them.

Make sure you have the full contact details and address of anyone you arrange to meet to view the van. And if they want a test drive, remember to make sure your policy allows unnamed people to drive your van, or that the buyer’s van policy has a ‘driving other vehicles’ extension. If you don’t have these in place, you risk driving uninsured.

Don't hand over keys or documents (and don't let them make copies) before the purchase is complete, and confirm that you have received full payment by a secure method (such as a bank transfer) before giving them the keys.


Local vehicle auction houses have specialist sales for commercial vehicles. These have the advantage of attracting an audience that’s ready to buy, and ensuring a quick sale. You will, however, have to accept the price that the top bidder wins it for, and pay a pre-agreed commission. Some auction houses also offer extras, such as valet services and vehicle checks, which cost more but can save you time and help you to secure a sale.

Dealers and online buyers

Whether you’re selling online or on the forecourt, dealers will have clear prices in mind that will let them sell your van on at a profit. This means you’re likely to get less than if you sell privately, but you will receive a quick offer with a guaranteed price. Some dealers will also offer a better deal if you buy or lease a replacement van from them too.

Part-exchange or trade-in

If you’re planning on replacing your van once it’s sold, you should carefully consider whether to buy or lease your new van. Either way, you might find you get a good deal by part-exchanging with a dealer. It means you can sell and buy in the same place too.

Part five
What to do after you have sold


If you’re still looking for a replacement, don’t rush into a deal. Trade-ins can be tempting, and we know you need to be back in business as soon as possible, but investigate all your options from leasing to private purchases and even government grants for electric vehicles.

Whichever route you take, never agree to a purchase before carrying out the essential checks when buying a used van. Not everyone is so thorough when selling.

Once you’ve bought your new drive, it’s time to finish up that paperwork. That means:

Keep your van moving – no matter what

Changing rules on the road can throw up some unexpected bumps in the road. That’s why we want to make sure protecting your van, and keeping your business moving, is as simple as possible with van insurance from AXA.

Find out more about business van insurance from AXA, or get a quote today and save 10% when you buy online.

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