When the time comes to move a van on, running through a few basic preparation techniques is one of the simplest ways to boost the chances of a swift and successful sale.

Make the grade

Although BCA has a grading system that illustrates the quality of the LCVs that pass through its auctions, there is no industry-wide equivalent.

Cap HPI LCV expert Steve Botfield says that this means  it is difficult to put a financial value on the merit of doing the work to bring a van up to standard.

He says of a potential rating system: “It is completely different to a car one. For example, if you have a side panel dented you might be able to buy half a panel. Unless you know the intricacies of how a van can be prepared you won’t know this.”

He also points out that it is worth keeping an eye on the market and judging the merit of work. “If prices are high because there isn’t enough stock then buyers might be prepared to buy some work.”

“The remarketing rules for vans are not really any different than they are for cars,” explains Stuart Pearson, BCA’s chief operating officer of UK remarketing. “Proper preparation and good presentation are critical to achieving the best possible price for used LCVs.

“Condition is very important for retail dealers buying at auction and the seller can make certain choices within the remarketing process to optimise the value of their vehicles. Vehicles looking their best attract more interest, leading to more first-time conversions and an improved sales performance. Professional buyers prefer vehicles that are well prepared as they are able to advertise and retail a vehicle quicker if it has been refurbished and prepared.”

This preparation is as simple as decluttering the vehicle itself. Debra Scattergood, senior vehicles sales manager at BT Fleet Solutions, says that taking any logos off is crucial.

“Security is essential – making sure that vehicles are not sold with identifying decals or left-over kit is of the highest priority. Ensuring that our business and suppliers all operate in line with a clear code of conduct regards this and GDPR regulations is without compromise,” she says.

It is almost more important that smaller sellers that choose to do their own preparation maintain such standards, with Pearson pointing out that the competition from larger companies is getting tougher because of the high-quality standard of pre-sale prep that they employ for their LCV stock.

However, he also says that it is always worth looking at the bigger picture.

“There is also a balance to be struck between exterior bodywork and interior cab condition,” says Pearson. “There may be little benefit gained from repairing dents and paintwork if the cabin interior is heavily damaged, for example.”




Stuart Pearson COO BCA UK RemarketingBCA’s Stuart Pearson picks out five essential tasks before you sell a van

Make sure you have the papers to hand and ensure the service history is available at the point of sale. This might be digital, but having everything together, including receipts for parts and work done, is only going to reassure a buyer.

Thoroughly valet the van inside and out and consider a higher-specification clean if the vehicle is particularly soiled. Ensure you take off any trade names from the vehicle and any vinyl wrap removal should be carried out professionally to avoid damage.

Appraise vehicles accurately and value in line with market expectations. Going too high could end up losing you money as much as going in too low, because you end up waiting for a sale – the longer you wait, the longer that money can’t be used for something more productive, such as buying a new van.

If there are any small dents on your van then SMART techniques are a cost-effective option for repairing minor cosmetic damage – you might not need a whole new part.

In-life inspections will identify repairs that can be carried out more economically.