I have been selling vans on Facebook since 2010, and I still believe it’s the best place to sell and flip vans. Local facebook groups and Facebook Marketplace, represents a huge opportunity. Facebook is free to join and there are no fees for selling either.
So what are the best options and tips for selling vans on the worlds biggest and most powerful social media site, and why is it such a good opportunity?
Find out below.
Basically Facebooks own classified ads service, it’s built to challenge the likes of eBay, Gumtree and Autotrader. It allows sellers to list vans by location and category and posting is free. Users can then search for items by location and category.
It’s available via desktop or the facebook apps. The apps allow you to manage messages and enquires via the apps, so everything happens in one convenient place.
Facebook buy and sell groups
Facebooks buy and sell groups are a massive opportunity for van flippers, and work really well in conjunction with Facebook Marketplace. They are one of the best ways to sell a van at the lower end of the market. Members join to received notifications when a van goes for sale in the local area, so are normally motivated and looking to buy. There is no limit to the number of groups you can be a members of, so its best to join as many as possible in your area.
Most areas have specialised groups focusing solely on vans, with some having tens of thousands of members that you can advertise to directly. You can find and join these groups by simply searching your local area or postcode on Facebook. Joining is easy, but before posting to a group, read the groups rules first. These can vary from group to group.
These groups enable you to put your van right in front of potential buyers and it’s very easy to manage. So if you aren’t taking advantage of buy and sell groups you are missing out. If your local area hasn’t got a dedicated van selling group, then you should consider starting one.
Specialised van groups
If you have bought something a little different to sell. You may fine looking for a group specialising in that particular make and model a good idea. This allows you to put the van directly in front of a potential audience. You may have to wait longer and sell nationally but, some of the people looking for vans in these groups are prepared to pay a premium for the right vans.
Posting to Facebook Marketplace & groups
Posting to Facebook can be done via desktop or the Facebook app, and is super simple. You can post simultaneously to marketplace and buying and selling groups. Simply start by posting the van to the marketplace and Facebook automatically asks if you want to also add the advert to the groups you are a member of. All the vans you have listed across all the groups can then be managed in app. Once a van is sold you just mark it as so and it’s removed from all the listings, notifying anyone who has enquired that the item is now sold.
Facebook Marketplace and groups guide you through the posting process. But it’s still important to list all the relevant information regarding the spec and options. Make sure to include the following facts in order:
- Year of registration & registration plate info
- List of equipment and special features
- Approximate mileage
- Full service history if it has it
- Number of owners if low
- Contact details if you want to be contacted directly.
Great photos are also important on Facebook. They don’t need to look super professional but you do need to photograph the correctly. Check out my advice on how to photograph a car with a Smartphone here – How to photograph a van with a smartphone.
Facebook Marketplace and groups both work a little differently. Potential buyers will contact you directly from the listing in Marketplace, they also have the option to make you an offer. When selling in a group people normally express interest by commenting on the post first, the conversation then normally moves to direct messaging.
How you handle the enquires is up to you. But I normally work on a first come first serve basis. If someone want to come a view the van I will normally hold it for them until the next day. Its alway best to set a time limit so you can move on to the next interested party. But every transaction works differently. Just let the other interested parties know you will keep them updated.
Haggling is a big thing on facebook. So it’s important you allow a little movement in the price. But if the post has had lots of comments or likes you can use this to your advantage and get the full asking price.
How to value a van you plan to sell
You need to be honest and objective about the vans condition. Try to see things from a potential buyer’s perspective. Look at the van and give it an honest appraisal, deciding if the car is clean, average or a little rough. None of these thing are necessarily a bad thing. In fact selling a van that isn’t perfect can be easier than selling one that is.
But if you are looking to sell a van quickly it needs to be priced competitively, either at or below market value. So again look at it objectively and from a potential buyer’s perspective.
There are several ways of finding our your vans value. Using an online valuation service such as Kelly blue book, CAP and Glasses guide is a great way to start. These guides work well and can give you a good idea of your vans value. You should also look at more localised classified websites, Facebook selling groups and used dealers.
Things that can increase a vans value
1. Desirable colours
Some colours are more desirable than others, typically grey, black, blue and silver. So can often fetch a premium.
2. Optional extras
Some, but not all optional extras can add value. Normally this only applies to very expensive and rare options. Just because the van has the optional stereo upgrade doesn’t necessarily make the car more valuable. It may however make it easier to sell.
3. Full service history (FSH)
A really good service history can enhance a vans value, especially if it’s had lots of recent work carried out.
4. No damage
A well cared for van is one thing, but a truly immaculate car is another. If a van is immaculate then that always adds value.
5. Well below average mileage
Low mileage is often stated as making a van more valuable. But in the same way that most optional extras don’t add value. Unless the van has ultra low mileage it normally just makes it easier to sell.
Things that can decrease a vans value
1. Higher mileage vans
Higher than average mileage even with FSH will decrease a vans value.
2. Gaps in the service history
Skipping services can have short term financial benefits, but can drastically devalue a van long term.
3. Aftermarket add-ons and modifications
The used market in general hates modified vans.
Dog or smoke smells can have a massive effect on values.
Scuffed wheels and bumper corners can dramatically decrease a vans value. Larger bodywork repairs can be very expensive put right.
Prepping your van for sale is really important, if done correctly it gives you the edge over your competition, adds value and make the sales process easier. Every van should be valeted before sale even if you’re going to sell it on for under £1000. Spending time cleaning your van can add thousands to the vans value. You could hire a professional, but washing your van yourself will be much more cost effective.
Prepping the van for resale is really important, if done correctly it gives you the edge over your competition, adds value and make the sales process easier.
Every van that you sell needs to be clean, even if you’re going to sell it on for under £1000. Spending time cleaning your van can add thousands to the vans value. You could hire a professional, but washing your van yourself will be much cheaper.
Cleaning the Exterior
Starting with the outside. Give the bodywork a good wash down with a sponge and a clean soapy bucket of water, pressure clean the arches removing any mud or road grime. Alloy wheel should also be cleaned with with wheel cleaner at this point. I alway view this as doing half the job. The van should then be dried and the door shuts cleaned. I still favour an old fashioned chamois, but lots of other products work equally well.
With the van now washed and dried it time to turn your attention to the interior. I like to start by opening all the doors and boot. I then take a micro fibre cloth and dust down all the interior surfaces and rub off any stubborn mark. After that stage is completed I then use a small 2” paint brush, to remove any dirt in any hard to reach areas. Working it in to the air vents and tight gaps between trim.
Then I recommend cleaning the windows. I start by cleaning the outside of the drivers window then move to the inside. Then drop the window slightly and cleaning the top third of the glass, before raising it again. Then simply mover around the van repeating the process.
There are lots of products available. It the glass isn’t very dirty I normally use a liquid spray cleaner. You simply spray a mist across the window and remove it with a clean paper towel. But for dirty glass and particular for the front screen I prefer a window polish. This is simply applied with a micro fibre cloth and removed with a separate clean cloth. You should also inspect the interior mirrors at this point.
Now for often the most time consuming part, cleaning the carpets and seats. Again I start in the drivers area. Its normally the dirtiest area and I like to get it out of the way. The carpets and seats need to be hoovered thoroughly, you may need a firm brush to remove the most stubborn particles.
This is a good time inspect the spare wheel area under the carpets, making sure the spare and tools etc are clean and secured. If the car has leather it’s at this point that a leather should be cleaned. Once the carpets and seats are cleaned, the only thing left is to apply a quality dash dressing.
Exterior Paintwork and Trim
With the interior now clean its time to inspect the exterior. The first step is to look for any obvious marks on the paintwork. These should be removed with some polish, or compound for more stubborn marks or scratches. Once done the rest of the paintwork should be polished following the manufactures instructions.
Once you have polished the van, I like to touch in any deeper scratches if need be using touchup paint. A small touch-up pen or pot of paint can be purchased from a quality motor factors or often on Amazon.
All thats left is the exterior plastics, the vinyl and rubber should be finished with a quality plastic & vinyl restorer.
The Engine Bay
Personally and with all the modern electronics I largely leave the engine compartment alone. If anything I just wipe the plastics and covers over with a damp cloth.
I have made a list of essential valeting equipment which you can fine here – Essential pieces of van and commercial vehicle valeting equipment.
Great photos are a must when selling vans on Facebook. The good news is that it’s never been easier or cheaper to achieve quality photos.
You can use any digital camera you like. But if you have a recent smartphone I recommend starting with that. Phone cameras have improved massively in recent years, allowing you achieve amazing results without the need to carry cumbersome camera equipment around. They also allow for easy editing and uploading all from the same device.
Its easy to get caught up with buying expensive cameras and gear thinking it will make you a better photographer. But the reality is that with the right techniques your phone can take outstanding photos. With quality that is almost as good as a DSLR or Mirrorless camera and is more than good enough for van photography. Also if you are just getting into car flipping using your phone means no additional outlay.
Smartphone Camera setting
Each smartphone camera is different and with so many on the market its impossible to cover every model. So here I will focus on the ever popular iPhone. However the basic principles are transferable to all smartphone cameras.
You can find the camera settings in the setting app on the iPhone. Simply scroll down until you find the camera icon. I have found it much easier to frame a car successfully with the grid setting turned on so I recommend you turn this on. These grid lines really help with composure, so your shots need less post editing.
The next setting to change is in the format option. Changing from the default High efficiency to the most compatible setting. This allows for easier sharing to other none apple devices and actually increases image quality.
Next time you turn on the camera you will now see two vertical and horizontal lines making getting the composure of your car easier. Whilst in the camera app you will notice the icon that looks like several circles, this is live photos mode. I basically takes a live video before and after you take a photo. I leave this on as it can help in windy situations and with camera blur. I normally shoot with the HDR option turned on for the same reasons.
I always shoot with the flash off. The iPhone flash is small and weak so you normally need to be very close to a subject to get a result. But it can also produce unnatural colours which isn’t desirable in van photograph.
Also I always recommend shooting with the phone held horizontally and in the photo mode. I also never use any preset filters and always recommend leaving a photo set to original.
When you start to take a photo with an iPhone the camera immediately starts to auto focus. You can adjust the point of focus by tapping on the screen to adjust the focus. You should set the focus on the van. When you do this the photo can darken, this is because at the same time as adjusting the focus you have adjusted the brightness.
If this is a problem and the photos looks either to dark or too bright, you can simply adjust the brightness by running you finger up of down the screen until you are happy. You should aways set the focus and brightness yourself.
If your iPhone is equipped with a telephoto lens try using the 2x option. I have found the narrower lens can give great results.
While standing I normally start by shooting the van from the drivers side front 3/4 angle. Then move to the rear divers side and shoot the same angle and do the same for the other two corners. I then shoot the front dead on shot and the same from the rear. If its a sunny day or you are trying to maintain a consistent background as suggested. You may have to reposition the van for the rear 3/4 angles and dead on rear shots. I then shoot the left and right side dead on shots.
With the exterior done I move to the interior and shoot the drivers side first. With the door open I try to only capture the steering wheel, dash and gearshift areas and front of the seats. I generally try not to have the rearview mirror or seat backs in view. I then move to the passenger side and shoot the same angle, plus a squarer through the window shot.
A good tip is to lean on the van or support the camera hand by leaning against the open door or window frame. This can produce a much steadier shot allowing for better composure and control. I then shoot the boot area and engine bay if its presentable.
It’s at this point that I photograph the wheels and any damage or imperfections on the van. Once the general photography is complete I will photograph any interesting features the van might have like reversing camera, bonnet vents or colour satnav. Finally once I’m happy with everything I will open the service books and photograph the service history and the mileage.
Tips for Getting the Best Results
Before you even think about taking a picture the van needs to be clean. DSLRs and phone cameras do a great job of masking dirt and hiding imperfections. But a spotlessly clean van makes all the difference if you want to achieve great photos.
The next thing you need to avoid is midday sunlight. The light at that time of the day can produce harsh looking images, so I highly recommend shooting either early morning or later in the afternoon. The best results will be achieved on an overcast day. This is especially true with dark blues or black. These darker colours can look terrible if photographed in direct sunlight.
Some of the old film photograph rules still apply. Shooting into the sun will still give poor results compared to having the van behind you. Also watch out for shadows from buildings, trees and the van itself. Remember a van isn’t a static object so there really is no excuse.
Never shoot the van if it’s wet. This never looks good and can look like you are trying to hide something.
Background is also important. If you have a level drive with some curb appeal then use that, a local beauty spot or costal carpark might work. Failing that a brick wall or similar can work well. A good consistent background in every photo is always advisable. Try to avoid industrial backgrounds or carparks. It’s always best to shoot a van on level surface or a slight slope with the nose of the van pointing down.
You should always lock the wheel over to the passenger side when taking the drivers side 3/4 angle. This just add a small element of van and professionalism to a photo. Subsequently the wheel should be straight on for all the other photos.
Don’t worry about how many photos you take, you aren’t shooting on film. Take as many as you need to get the right angles. The first time I shot a car I probably took 100 photos. Years later its closer to 20. Your photograph skills will improve with practice.
Try to fit as much of the van in the photos as possible reducing unnecessary scenery. The photos need to be appealing but the focus should be on the van.
Remember to use the grid lines to aid composure and always keep the whole van in shot.
Editing the photos
This is the final stage, and if you have done a good job with the principle photograph it also a very simple stage. When editing van photos less is often best. Potential customers can be put off by the use of filters or heavy vignetting. That style of editing may work well on Pinterest or Instagram but it’s not advisable when advertising a van.
There are lots of powerful editing apps and software available. But I normally just edit the photos in iPhoto on my phone. Cropping where needed and balancing the photo is required, either manually or using the auto enhance button. This simple process can produce some amazing images.
If you want to take photo editing a stage further or just feel you need some extra help to start with. The likes of Snapseed, Afinity Photo, Pixelmator and RAW Power offer almost unlimited customisation options.
Test drives and viewings
So you have someone coming to see a van. Below you find a very simple sales process that works at every price point and with every potential purchaser.
I have broken the process down in to 5 basic steps
- The meet and greet
- The walk-around
- The test drive
- The negotiating and closing
- The paperwork
Meet and greet
First impressions count. So make sure the van is spotless. When meeting the potential purchaser simply smile, shake hands and introduce yourself.
99% of people viewing a van will know little or nothing about cars. The friend they bring along with the torch and overalls, will again know nothing. He or she may well decide whether the sale goes ahead but you will have little influence on that outcome so again its best to say nothing. Just leave them to it.
I normally just stand a few feet away from the drivers door. Then just simply let them look over the van. I don’t tell them anything or try and sell them anything, I just leave them to it. It’s just that simple.
They will walk around and may ask a question or two. The questions are normally very simple I will list the most common below.
When was it last serviced?
Can we see the service history?
Is it ok to look at the engine?
How long have you had the van?
Has it ever been in a crash?
Does it have both keys?
Try and answer them with as simply as you can. If you don’t know the answer just tell them that you don’t know. It’s best not to lie or make anything up. It’s generally best to say as little as possible. Just stand there and let them get on with it.
The test drive
If you are allowing test drives its very importantly you need to establish who is covering the insurance. If you have some sort of motor traders policy then brilliant. If not you need to see proof of insurance from the potential buyer if they want a test drive. Alternatively you can take them for a drive in the van.
Simple test drive rules:
1. Always ask to see their driving license and insurance.
2. Never allow a buyer to test drive the van alone.
3. Never leave them alone with the vans or keys, and make sure you take them out of the ignition when you change seats on the test drive. If the van has a smart key always keep it with you at all times.
Negotiating and closing
After the test drive people tend to take another walk around the van. Again I really favour saying as little as possible at this point. If they are also staying quite its still best to say nothing. A few minutes silence is often a good thing. Just stand there and say nothing, let them have some time to think and talk first.
After a few minutes they may simply indicate that they want the to buy the van, or are interested in buying the van, or simply say it’s not for them. It’s very hard to influence someone at this point. But hopefully your perfectly presented car would have done the hard lifting for you.
Often they will indicate they are interested, but want to negotiate on the price. If this happens again saying as little as possible just tell them to you to make an offer. At no point would I offer a figure to them.
But don’t be disheartened if they say it’s just not for them or they want to think about it. There is very little you can do to influence people.
If they want to go ahead just move straight to the next step.
Most people will be dealing in cash on Facebook. I advice taking payment either in cash of via bank transfer. You should never take payment via Paypal or cheque. Take a closer look at our article What is the safest way to pay for a van if you want to learn more.
Transferring a vehicles ownership
The transferring of a vehicles ownership is an important step when selling a vans. The process varies from country to country and from state to state in America. So it would be impossible to cover it all here. So I have included a guide to the process in the UK below.
If you’ve sold a vans, there are still a few things to do after you’ve hand over the keys. The new owner isn’t officially the vans owner until the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) have been informed. So how do you do that?
All UK vehicles are issued a Vehicle Registration Certificate which is also known by its official document number V5C. But commonly still referred to as a logbook. The latest examples are red, blue and pink in colour, having taken over from the previous blue, green and cream style. The V5C is created by the DVLA when a car is first registered. The keeper of a vehicle is the person legally responsible for it. But the named keepers on the registration certificate isn’t necessarily the vehicle’s owner. Essentially the keeper of a vehicle is the person legally responsible for it.
When selling a van you should inform the DVLA of a change of keeper, and that should be done as soon as possible. As in the event of a motoring law being broken its the registered keeper who will received any speeding fines or parking tickets.
Section 6 of the V5C is left blank, ready for the new owners details, address and date of sale, mileage and driving license number. I advice all parts are completed in full. Section 6 can also be used to indicate a change of the registered keeper’s name or address. So it’s important that the changes keeper box is ticked. After completing section 6, section 8 must be signed and dated by both parties . All thats left is for you to tear-off at the bottom of the V5C registration document and send it to the DVLA. Section 10 of the V5C registration certificate can then be given to the new owner.
This exists to provide a new keeper with temporary documentation before a new V5C is issued in their name. Legally this is called a V5C/2. There’s also space into which the new keeper’s name and address, and the date of sale or transfer can be entered. These should be the same details as entered into section 6. The sections are perforated allowing for the sections to be separated, sections 9, 11 and 12 can be discarded.
Taxing a car
Section 10 of the V5C or V5C/2 can be used to apply for road tax, which the new keeper will need to do before using the car on the road.
Obtaining a replacement V5C document
If you have have lost your V5C/2 and need to apply for road tax, or have mislaid the V5C document, a replacement can be obtained by completing a V62 form. You will need to complete all five sections, including section 3 to indicate why you require a replacement V5C.
Receipt and invoice
With the V5C not constituting legal entitlement to the vehicle. You should also supply a signed receipt or invoice made out in the name of both yourself and the new keeper. Which together with section 10 will help prove entitlement to the vehicle owner if any legal problems arise.
The receipt or invoice should also include the following :
1. The date
3. Make and model
4. Registration number
5. Vin number
6. The names and addresses of the buyer and seller
Make two copies – one for you and one for the buyer – and make sure all parties sign both.
Tips for selling cars on Facebook
- Rules. Always read the rules in Facebook buying and selling groups. These can can be strict and page admins can be overly zealous enforcing them. You can find yourself being banned.
- Description. Always provide a full and honest description of the car. This will save both you and the potential buyer time and money.
- Haggling. Leave a little haggling room in the price. Everyone want to feel like they got a good deal, even if they haven’t.
- Groups. Search and join as many local selling groups as possible. It really is a chase of the more the merrier when it comes to selling groups.
- Payment. Only except payment via bank transfer or cash. Never except any other form of payment.
- Valeting. If you are looking to get top value for your car always make sure its clean before a viewing, this will do the majority of the selling for you.
- Keys. Never leave the buyer alone with the keys.
- Insurance. Don’t assume someone has insurance always insist on seeing proof before allowing a test drive.
- Paperwork. Always have the V5C and service history ready before a test drive.
- Buying cars. You can also use Facebook as a source for buying vans to flip.
- Safety. Always meet at your home or place of work. Never take the van to a potential buyers home.
- Profile check. Always take a look at a potential buyers profile. If you see anything you don’t like make you excuses and look for a new buyer.
I have based a whole business around selling vans on Facebook, I also know lots of other people that make money sell other goods using the platform. The site is dead simple to use and handling the enquires is a doddle. If you put in a bit of effort it can be really successful and is a great van selling opportunity.
But if you find its not for you I maybe you should consider Gumtree, is a bit of a sleeper in the van flipping world. It may not be the most obvious option. But the platform is well thought out and easy to use it’s also mostly free to private buyers. We have also written a guide on how to sell vans on the site – Flipping vans and light commercials on Gumtree.