is more difficult then you would have guessed. Yes, you can register for an account and be selling your motorcycle within five minutes but unless you want dozens of people contacting you to ask questions your posting should have answered, follow the steps below to attract serious buyers so that you bike fetches the highest price possible. People will contact you and if you're lucky they will show up as promised. Maybe even take a test ride and offer to buy your motorcycle with cash on hand. If so perfect, but this is the exception not the rule. So I’ll start at the beginning.
I start by taking photos of the motorcycle in the early morning or late afternoon. If the weather is overcast then mid-day is fine too. You want diffused light that shows you bike without any glare. Crouch down and take four horizontal photos of the bike from both profiles and the bike's front and rear. If the bike has any damage take close up shots of the damage so potential buyers will know about this upfront. If the problem is glaring, it's better to let a potential buyer know about it in advance so that they don't waste their time and yours by visiting a bike that they won't want to buy.
If the bike has any aftermarket parts on it now is a good time to take a picture of those parts. I take photos of the front and back tires to illustrate the tread's depth. Insert the key and turn on the ignition and take a photo of the odometer to verify the bike's mileage. A photo of the chain helps convey how many miles the chain has left. Right now you should have about a dozen photographs emphasizing the bike's strengths and weaknesses. Craigslist will only let you upload four photos but you should upload all of your relevant photos to a website or blog and insert a hyperlink to that website/blog in your Craigslist posting.
Next you need to gather all of the bike's statistics including: year, make, model, mileage, title (is the title clean or salvaged and do you have the title in hand or not), previous accidents, how many previous owners the bike has had, if the tags are current or when they expired. This is all the information that needs to be conveyed. Avoid saying low mileage or fast bike as these sentences do little to convey any real information about the bike. Let the buyer decide if 20 thousand miles is low or high mileage. Posting all of the above information will save you the hassle of having to respond to a million requests for something that should be answered in the posting.
Next we can go to a computer and look at how much people are selling similar make, model, year and mileage motorcycles. Look in and around your city and surrounding cities to see what is a fair asking price for your bike. You will probably think that your bike is the best color and has all the proper modifications on it but there are other fish in the sea. Just because you need X-amount of dollars to pay off your loan or X-amount of dollars to buy the car of your dreams doesn't mean your motorcycle is worth that much. I have always believed that you only have to sell something once and it is worth whatever one person will pay you at any given time and place. You have to find the right balance between asking too much and having too few people contact you and asking to little and having every tire-kicker in town offering you pennies on the dollar. If your posting generates too few responses consider dropping the price. If your posting generates too many responses you are probably charging too little.
Remember that motorcycles will always sell highest in spring and lowest in mid-winter. The best time to buy a motorcycle is in January, when the weather is cold and people have to start repaying the debt incurred during the holiday season. The best time to sell a motorcycle is in May, when the weather turns nice and people are looking for a reason to ride. The addition of aftermarket parts doesn't really increase the value of the motorcycle to any great degree. Yes, if you had a big bore kit or Ohlins suspension added to your bike it will be worth more then a similar stock model, but your billet and chrome do-dads will do very little to help recoup the money you spent trying to personalize your bike. The odds are that the new owner either won't like the modifications you have done or will find fault in how the modification was done or executed.
I like to add 10% to the asking price so people can haggle over the price and if they don't better yet. Once you have done all of the hard work the uploading and writing of your Craigslist posting is easy. Include all of the above information in your posting and write the posting like you were writing a friend that you haven't spoke to in years. Too often I read angry postings where people scream, "NO TIRE KICKERS," "NO BS", "NO FLAKES" and so forth. Remember you are trying to start a relationship with someone even though that relationship will last only as long as it takes to pay you all of the money you want for the bike. Being nice and friendly helps your relationship get off to a good start.
Remember to upload all of your photos to a blog or website and include a link to the photos in your posting. While some people dislike posting their name, phone number and email address on Craigslist, I have found that having all of this information helps make it easier for people to contact me. The easier it is for buyers to contact me the easier it is for me to sell them my bike. I am always honest in my postings and responses but Craigslisters can be a flaky. Some people might not show up even though they said they would. Such is life and don't get all bent out of shape about it.
Lastly when someone does show up to test ride the bike don't let them ride without a valid motorcycle endorsement and cash/collateral in hand. If they can't provide either offer to let them ride on the back while you take them for a ride. Craiglisters are total strangers so if you wouldn't let a total stranger ride your bike than don't let a total stranger ride your bike. Lastly remember that cash talks. If a person brings cash on hand, you'll have to decide how much you need the bike sold. If you need cash take a lower price. If you're ok on money demand a premium and wait until you get it. Even if someone says they'll compute back with cash to buy your bike I wouldn't put much faith that they will return. Craigslisters' are a flaky bunch so the bike isn't sold until someone puts cash in your hands. Following my advice will help you weed out tire kickers and help you maximize a return on your investment. I have consistently purchased motorcycles in January only to ride them around and sell them in summer for as much or more then I paid for them. You only have to sell something once and it is worth whatever one person will pay you at any given time and place.