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Selling your boat using a broker or dealer

When it comes to selling your boat, you can decide on a number of approaches to take. One of these is selling yourself, however, a lot of people will decide to sell their boat through a broker or dealer. As with all things like this, there are positive and negative factors surrounding both of these options.

You'll want to ensure that you’re completely, one hundred percent confident that you wish to use a dealer or broker to sell your boat before you start to put the wheels in motion. So, here at BoatShop24, we thought that we'd sit down and run through what you can gain from selling your boat through a dealership or broker. We'd advise you to read this article before committing to using this service...

The benefits

One of the main benefits of using a dealer or broker to sell your vessel, is the fact that they can make the whole job of selling your boat comparatively easy and stress-free for you. They'll take on almost all of the responsibilities, meaning they'll basically manage the sale from beginning to end.

You can be sat at home with a coffee and the paper, whilst they're working hard sorting out your advertising and dealing with any sea or river trials that may be required. Your dealer or broker will also liaise and assist with surveyors and arrange for any rectification work to be carried out. They really can reduce your workload pretty substantially, including taking care of all of the negotiations and boring paperwork. If you do decide to use a broker or dealer then you can also rest easy, as they're usually insured for fraud, meaning you won’t need to worry about the credentials of the individual buying your boat.

On top of all of this, your broker or dealer may even berth or store your boat at their yard for free. This is of benefit to them too as they can enhance their display of boats for sale, whilst making it easier for them to show potential buyers your boat. This will save you money on mooring fees or storage costs, for the duration of the sale. One sad part of this, is that often, once you’ve handed your vessel over to your broker or dealer, you may never see your pride and joy again.

Costs of using brokers or dealers

One of the things that may put some individuals off using a broker or dealer to sell their boat is the fact that it costs money. If you have the time and resources to be able to sell your boat yourself, then you may see these costs as unecessary. However, for a lot of people, the benefits of using a broker or dealer far outweighs the costs.

Typically, a broker or dealer will charge you a sales commission of around 6 - 10 % of your boat’s eventual selling price, plus VAT. The percentage that they'll charge you tends to depend on the value of your boat. For example, the higher the value of your boat, the lower a percentage they'll charge. However, as a guide, it's worth bearing in mind that for every £1,000 that your boat ultimately sells for, you can expect to pay around £70 and £120. It's also worth bearing in mind that on top of your dealer costs, you may also incur charges for storage, cleaning and maintenance. And, if you're selling your boat through a dealer, you may also end up having to pay for a contribution towards any advertising. You may also have to contribute towards sea or river trails, however you may only be required to pay for the fuel or a skipper. And, one final thing that you may be required to contribute to is any underwrite costs that may be needed.

You need to remember that all of this, along with the sales commission percentage, needs to be negotiated and agreed in writing with the dealer or broker that you are going with. They'll usually provide you with a standard written agreement for you to sign. This agreement will also tend to include clauses concerning insurance and the dealer’s exclusive rights to sell your boat during the term of the agreement and how you can cancel said agreement.

As with all contracts, it's worth remembering that you should read all of the terms of the agreement carefully and be sure that you understand and accept all of the terms stated, before you sign on that dotted line. If there are any aspects of the agreements that you don’t understand, then we'd advise you to seek some advice.

Choosing the right broker or dealer

One thing that I feel should be made clear is the difference between a broker and a dealer. A broker is an independent business that's not aligned to, or tied to, any particular boat brand. And, a dealer is a business that represents a specific brand or brands of differing boat manufacturers, but who also sells used boats as well. It's important to be aware of the distinctions, as there are trading differences between the two types of businesses that can have an impact on you as a seller of a boat.

Going with a dealer

If you decide to go with a dealer that represents a boat manufacturer to sell your boat, then you can experience significant benefits. These dealers will often represent the same brand as your own boat.

One of the first advantages of using a dealer, is the fact that potential buyers will often tend to be attracted to their adverts first. Their ads are usually the shiniest and there's often an associated assuredness that buyers will get when dealing with a boat builder’s representative of the brand that interests them.

Another benefit of using a dealer is the fact that they may be in a position, depending on the age of your boat, to offer prospective buyers a warranty on your boat. This will reassure any prospective buyers making your boat a much more attractive purchase than others without this warranty. Dealers will also tend to value used boats at a higher value than brokers, in order to preserve the perceived value for money of the new boats that they sell. They can also do this due to the fact that they offer a higher level of assuredness to prospective buyers.

If you're able to use a dealer to sell your boat then you may be able to get the vessel sold more quickly and at a higher price than if you opt for a broker. And, often you'll get all of these benefits at the same cost. However, this isn't always the case. Many new boats are sold to buyers who were originally intending to buy used. Some Dealers therefore use their used stock to attract enquiries from potential buyers that they can then try to convert to new sales. This means that your boat could be used effectively as a 'sprat to catch a mackerel' so beware the dealers who are offering remarkable terms to sell your boat!

Going with an independent broker

One of the main benefits of using a broker to sell your boat, is that they only make money from selling boats such as yours. This means that if your boat doesn’t sell, they don’t make any money.

The success in selling your boat tends to rest upon how much the broker decides to spend on advertising for your boat and whether they're used to selling your kind of boat.Other factors that can affect how successful they are in selling your boat, include how good a quality their adverts and internet sites are, and how professional they are in dealing with enquiries. This means that if you're deciding to opt for a broker, you should consider these factors when shopping around. You will also want to bear in mind their terms of business before signing on the dotted line.

Be sure to shop around and check a number of options before you make your mind up on which broker to use. Never just jump into a deal with the first one you come across.