Thursday, October 22, 2015

How to Make Money Buying & Selling ATV's

Make money buying and selling ATV's? Most people don't think it's possible. Normally ATVing costs you money. But what if you could enjoy riding as much as ever AND have it make you a buck or two? Sounds too good to be true.

2015 was a good year for me buying and selling. Its not all bubbles and sparkles, I had some misfortunes. But your going to have that no matter what. Plan for those misfortunes and if you buy right you'll make money in the end.

But you've got to buy smart, here is how:
  •  If possible, buy off season - For many here in Canada, the ATV season ends when the snow flies. As such people are more likely to sell in the middle of winter if they run into financial problems. But buyers are sparse and the prices come down.
  • Choose one particular brand\model ATV and learn it - Get to know all the good and the bad. Research common mechanical failures and what to look for when you see the machine in person. Get to know the local selling prices on your classified site, this may take some time but will pay off.
  • Look for the ones that are poorly advertised - Bad pics, bad description, no asking price. All of these can be to your advantage when buying because the other, less educated buyers may have looked past them because they were not advertised well.
  • Look for the ones out of town - Driving 60 miles may be the difference between a deal and just market price. Many buyers are not willing to drive out of town at all and therefore the out of town prices are often lower.
  • Don't buy new...ever - You'll always lose your shirt if you think you can flip it. No matter how good a deal the dealer gave you, once it leaves the dealer it is a used machine and will never carry the value of new. 
  • Clean or accessorize to change the look - New wheels and tires can go a long way to change the look of an ATV and a good cleaning is vital for increasing resale.
  • Get the seller to add items in - If the seller isn't willing to negotiate price you may be able to increase the value with add ins. Loading ramps, storage boxes, factory wheels & tires are examples of various addons I've been able to get sellers to include which I have been able to sell.  
Don't forget that getting use out of an ATV factors into the value to you. Say for example that you bought in spring and sold in fall and got the same price you bought it for. But you got to ride it all season, you've made a profit!

Here are some of the ATV's I have purchase this year (2015):

2012 Outlander 800XT - Purchased for $8500

2012 Outlander 800XT as purchased from local dealer
I was not happy with the wheels\tires, the rad relocate or the footwells. So I sold the wheels\tires & rad relocate and bought used ones I did like from our local classifieds site. I ended up making $400 on the the this swap. I also had the footwells powder coated black at a cost of $50 because the yellow looked bad.

How I made my money: Two things, bought in the dead of winter from a dealer that had it in inventory for too long and I recognized that it didn't have much eye appeal and that by making a couple small changes I could increased the value. 

2012 Outlander 800XT as sold
I owned it for a total of 4 months and had multiple rides on it.

The final tally:

$8500 Purchase
$-400 Parts Swap
$   50 Powdercoating
$8150 Total Investment
$8800 Selling Price
$650 Profit

2008 Polaris RZR 800

2008 Polaris RZR 800 as purchased
Wheels and tires were the only thing I changed on this machine. It was crazy clean, but looked very plain. I figured a quick dress up would increase the value and I was right.

How I made my money: The seller wanted to get rid of it fast and priced it low, which scared away many potential buyers. He also posted dark pictures with very little detail. It was located 10 miles out of the city so there was some driving time. I didn't have to haggle much on price because it was already priced right. I found some aluminum wheels\tires and took some detailed pictures in the sun. It sold quickly.

2008 Polaris RZR 800 as sold

Only rode it once and then sold it. It was too nicely cleaned and detailed to get it messed up.

The final tally:

$5600 Purchase
$ 200Wheels\Tires

$5800 Total Investment
$6600 Selling Price
$800 Profit

2013 Can Am Maverick 1000XRS

2013 Can Am Maverick 1000XRS as purchased
This was by far my most profitable transaction of 2015 and I really wanted to keep it. I was able to find a desperate seller in a small town 60 miles from where I live. The owner included both the aftermarket wheels\tires in the picture above as well as the factory wheels\tires. One more opportunity to increase my profit.

How I made my money: It was advertised for $12,000 which was the cheapest Maverick for sale, this made the seller look desperate. It was out of town, pictures were poor and the machine was dirty. I took a risk by driving an hour to look at it but it but this also kept other buyers away. The seller volunteered to drop the price by $2000 in our conversation without any negotiating, and he also offered the factory wheels and tires with it.

2013 Can Am Maverick 1000XRS as sold
I got a couple of really great rides on this machine and some great footage for my videos.

The final tally:

$10,000 Purchase
$-800 Sold Aftermarket Wheels\Tires
$ 200 Dealer inspection
$9400 Total Investment
$12,500 Selling Price
$3100 Profit

Buy right and you can make money too. The key is to be educated and ready, but not impulsive. Good luck!


  1. Hi, I find reading this article a joy. It is extremely helpful and interesting and very much looking forward to reading more of your work..
    tjen penge

  2. This was very educational, awesome read and awesome videos.