Bike Buyers Tip: Selling by consignment – the risks and the rewards
Bike Buyers is in the business of purchasing motorcycles which then find themselves on the showroom floor of the famous Fire It Up dealership in Fourways, and the number of motorcycles on the Fire It Up floor suggests they are damn good at what they do. Collectively, they have many decades of bike buying experience and will be sharing their knowledge with The Bike Show Website every Monday offering tips, advice, guidance and warnings regarding your bike buying or selling experience. For this week’s tip, we look into selling your bike by consignment, why we do it plus the risks and rewards.
Selling your motorcycle is a tedious chore. Not only are you seeing your pride and joy depart to another home, but the physical task of doing it takes time and patience. You have to advertise it through classified sites, magazines and social media, you then have to put up with the barrage of scammers who are “just on my way through Botswana for my business and I’m going near where you live on my way to Cape Town. I want the bike. Do you accept payment in diamonds?”
Even non-scammers ask ridiculous questions and want to come view it during ridiculous hours. Even after they have put you through hell, they will try and beat you down to the lowest possible price, and you will eventually concede just to be done with this whole story. That’s, of course, if the intelligent sounding person on the phone doesn’t turn out to be a bike robber, who will hold you at gun point the moment open your gate for them.
The bright side of selling privately is that, if you know what you are doing, you should receive the highest possible pay out for your bike. However, is the extra bob worth the extra hassle?
Selling on consignment means taking your bike to a dealership and placing it on their showroom floor – “park ’n sell” as they say in the States. This has the advantage of you not having to place adverts, deal with ridiculous phone calls, fend off time wasters and also not get shot. Of course, you might not receive quite as much for your bike as if you sold it yourself because the dealership will take a cut, but you will receive more than if you had sold it to the dealership for cash, because the dealership takes no financial burden. Also you then have the services of professional sales staff who know how to make a sale and for what price.
There are problems with consignment selling, though. The first is that the dealership would rather sell their own stock to aid cash flow. This means that sales people will often punt these bikes before yours both in adverts and in person, meaning your bike might sit there for some time. Some dealers have even been known to take such liberties as allowing your bike to become a demo to help them sell new bikes and other stock.
Then, once your bike is sold, you have to get your money out of the dealer. Usually this isn’t a problem, but there are cash-strapped dealers that may have more urgent payments to make, meaning your payment will either be delayed or may never happen at all. There have been cases in the past where dealerships have even lied to the customer saying that their bike hasn’t yet been sold, making up some excuse why it it isn’t in the dealership, and then they see their bike being ridden by some happy new owner who is unaware of what is happening behind the scenes.
There are ways of avoiding this. The first is using bigger, busier dealerships that turn over a large mount of stock. The chances of such transgressions are far lower if the dealership has a sterling reputation to uphold. When you hand over your bike, do not give them the original papers. Rather pass on a copy, and should the dealership insist on the originals, rather go somewhere else. Only hand them over once the money reflects in your account. Also, ask the dealership to show you what insurance they have for their stock and make sure their coverage is full. Not only can you sleep at night knowing you are safe from burglaries and accidents, but this means you can also cancel your own insurance while the bike is on the dealer floor.
Fire It Up not only has full insurance for all bikes on their floor, but have a “put your bike on show” policy whereby the sales staff do not know what bikes are on consignment and which are owned by the dealership, meaning there is no favouritism. There is an immediate payment policy where consignment sellers are paid as soon as the bike is sold. They even have a policy whereby they will negotiate a cash price for consignment stock that has been on the floor for too long.