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5 Reasons You May Want To Avoid RV Consignment

Published on December 10th, 2021 by Kendall Jennings

motorhomes on RV consignment in lot

5 Reasons You May Want To Avoid RV Consignment

Selling your RV can be a time-consuming process. You have to list it and reply to all of the inquiries, most of which are tire kickers. If the RV isn’t stored at your home, this can mean making trips to show it.

Using an RV consignment is convenient in that it eliminates a lot of the leg work and endless email responses for you. Before you decide to leave the sale in someone else’s hands, here are some things to think about.

What is RV consignment?

A consignment is an agreement between parties in which goods, in this case, your RV, are left in the possession of a third party, likely an RV dealer. The third party is responsible to try and sell your RV for an agreed price over a set period of time. Once sold, you owe the third party a commission for their services.

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Consignment is often seen in retail stores such as clothing stores. Automobile consignment is legal and safe provided it is done properly by a reputable seller.

There are, however, some negatives to selling your RV through consignment. You should consider these carefully before entering a contract to sell your RV. Here is the not-so-appealing side of RV consignment.

1. It will cost you money to sell your RV

When selling anything, the idea is to make money, of course. With consignment, you will not receive the full selling price of your RV.

This may seem crazy but of course, there is a fee for the advertising, storage, and sales pitches the dealer will be doing on your behalf. The fee will depend on your contract and the final selling price of your RV.

In general, there will be two options for these fees. The first is a straight commission, with 10-15 percent being a common amount. This means if your RV sells for $60,000, you could be on the hook for $9,000!

The second option is a pre-determined selling price. In this case, if your lowest accepted price is $55,000, and the RV sells for $60,000, your fee will be the additional $5,000 the dealer sold for.

Depending on the seller, there may be additional charges for cleaning and preparing your RV for sale. All of these details should be agreed to before signing a contract.

2. Your RV insurance isn’t valid while in consignment

That’s right, it is very unlikely your insurance will cover you while your RV is in the possession of a third party.

Odds are the dealer selling your RV has a fenced yard with cameras and your RV may even possibly be stored indoors, but things happen. A fire, for instance, could leave you with no RV and no payout.

You should be able to get consignment insurance if you choose to sell this way, but it will be a separate policy. This is another cost to using RV consignment.

The third party will have their own insurance, but be wary of anyone telling you that your property will be covered under their policy. Insurance is always a pain to pay since we rarely use it, but the risk isn’t worth the potential loss.

3. You can’t use your RV while in consignment

Once you sign your contract with a seller, your RV stays in their possession for the term of your agreement. If you have a 3-month agreement, that means they have 3 months to try and sell your RV.

What if a group trip comes up or you get some time off of work? Your RV will be unavailable for you to use. If you are selling over the winter months, this may not be a big deal.

Let’s say you are selling in the spring or start of summer to fetch a higher price, then this could be a bummer when the warm days start to pop up.

Older class A motorhome for sale on front lawn of treed property - RV consignment

4. You may have to pass up potential buyers

Although the idea of a consignment is so that you don’t have to deal with the sale of your RV, this can hurt you as well.

If you have someone ask you about your RV or hear of someone looking to buy, you have to redirect them to the dealer. In some cases, this will deter potential buyers who don’t want to deal with a third party.

You can certainly send people to look at your RV, but they will have to deal with and buy from the consignee. Some people like buying from dealers even when it’s a used RV, but just as many like private sales.

Another potential loss of customers may come from price negotiations. If your RV is in consignment and your agreed bottom price is $25,000, that means the dealer will have to get buyers to pay somewhere in the range of $27,000 – $30,000 in order for them to make their commission. If someone comes along with $25,000, the sale won’t happen.

5. What’s best for the seller may not be best for you

RV salespeople are working to make a living like all of us. When your RV is in consignment, it is among other RVs of different layouts and prices. Some may be less appealing and some more.

Potential buyers who come to view your RV may be swayed to another they think is a better buy. This competition is also there during private sales. People can view as many RVs as they choose, however not parked right beside yours.

At the end of the day, salespeople want to sell something. If another RV looks to be an easier sell or may earn them some extra commission, you may lose out.

Maybe they have a chance to move that RV that’s been on the lot since last year and direct buyers in that direction. The point is your RV is not the only RV and no more important than the others.

Selling your RV is a big decision that can be best left to professionals if you are okay with the cost of a consignment. Your value on your time and your patience will have to be considered. With the RV market as hot as it is right now, selling an RV should be a breeze. Learn more about why now is the best time to sell your RV through National Vehicle.

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9 thoughts on “5 Reasons You May Want To Avoid RV Consignment”

  1. I’ve bought two and sold two through dealerships – It was much easier to work out payment, financing, and transfer of ownership with a dealer.
    there was one through a private seller we were interested in, but the seller decided to take a trip in it at the last minute. Then she decided to do some repair work, and there were delays. She admitted she lost at least two other interested buyers. We got tired of waiting also and we found an RV in better shape elsewhere.
    The RV van is in a dealership …we had it professionally inspected …and they repaired the few problems. In less than two days. By the way, we had our motorhome out on the street loading it one day in someone stopped by and offered us $30,000. We sold it the next year for $65,000.
    I wouldn’t totally discount the possibility of a private deal, but it’s unlikely.

  2. because they cannot get new ones in stock or if they can they are broken when they arrive, AND prices have jumped, I suggest try selling to the dealer outright and then the insurance question is out of the experience and so is the question of it costing you money to sell. Just make sure the dealer is paying the fair amount, he is going to mark it up 25% but he warranties it and has the headaches of cleaning it etc. NOW if you are buying another rig, going in with cash and no trade in is going to cost you MORE in Sales Tax if you live in a sales tax State so think about that but some times you make more by selling it outright than by trade in so do the numbers. NEW rigs seem to be coming through with lots of problems and defects so maybe best to keep what you have and wait for things to come back to earth and new rigs be built well again, IF EVER.

  3. Great article, and all good reasons to not consign. I’ll suggest another: first try listing on RV trader (very inexpensive, and I paid nothing during a promotion). I sold my 1-year old truck camper for the same price that I bought it for on the same day that I listed it. Buyer also purchased my generator and other supplies at face value. Buyer paid a deposit using Venmo, and showed up with a check for the balance. Due to the current RV shortage (on some brands), its very easy to sell on your own.

  4. Kendall – I think you’ve left out a critical part of this article. Understanding the RV market has been an economic bright spot. As a seller, you need to get a dealer to purchase your unit outright! Sold my 2018 Coachmen Mirada 35KB earlier this year and am pleasantly surprised with the value. While your at it, clean up excess auto’s you have too. In 2018 I made over 120,000.00 for a few phone calls and service was at my doorstep to boot. Readers should ALWAYS remember to determine how to use a situation (IE – Pandemic delays) to their advantage. Discuss it with your spouse for clarity and move forward on the action! Thanks for reading…

  5. Sorry. I disagree. These 5 potential negatives are far outweighed by the fact that selling an RV privately is an incredible waste of your personnel time. Over the past 30 years I have purchased owned and then sold four class A RV’s. I am on my fifth one now. I have always purchased privately to save a few bucks since I typically know exactly what make and model I want when it’s time to purchase. Full disclosure is I often do go and waste the time of an RV sales person or two or three in order to figure that out. But I have found out that selling privately is absolutely unequivocally not worth the personal time wasted by tire kickers and even serious buyers that can’t come up with the money or are just looking while searching for the perfect coach/RV for themselves. If you sell privately, plan on spending at the very least, 2 or more hours with every single person that comes to your home to look at your RV. My experience is that it is almost double that. I tried privately twice, wound up literally wasting entire weekends and each time, sat on the RV’s for months. I then consigned those very same RV’s and they sold within 2 weeks at the dealership and I wound up getting the price I expected to get privately anyway because they just marked up their price so much above what I was asking.

    • I sold my Rv’s myself and got 40,000 dollars over what he best dealer would give me for the last Class A. Definitely worth the time to sell it your self I would say!!

  6. Often times a dealer can also get more money for a Motorhome than the guy selling on the street. Many dealers like us will go through the unit and fix things that do not work properly, Plus we train the buyer on how to operate the unit. and we can get the financing and warranties . So most of the consigns we do the consignee ends up with more than what he expected.


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