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!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Foxford SK ATV Rally Review - 2015

In 2014 I headed out to Foxford for my first experience at an ATV rally. It was overwhelming to say the least, you can read up on that here.

Quick Walmart stop on the way for snacks and McDonalds
In 2015 I headed back, but where as last time I rode the extreme trails this year I took the dry trail.
Last year they had three options, dry, wet and extreme. This year it was only wet and dry. The two people accompanying me were my son and friend Jonathan both with stock machines so I decided I would leave the mud behind this year.

The staging area was changed this year and as such it seemed like there were less machines even though I think the official count was the same. In 2014 you staged and the main meeting area were in the same place, and it was very lively. Seemed like a big parking lot party where as this year with the two separate areas it seemed more empty.

The Trail
We left the staging area and hit the dry trail which consisted of riding down an old rail line minus the tracks. Eventually we turned and drove down a gravel grid rode until we finally hit the forest, now the trail got good. As soon as we entered the forest area we hit a very muddy area and I was all in my glory. Even though it was deep there were work arounds so that my son and Jonathan could go around. We hit a couple smaller mud holes but the further we went in the dryer it got. Of course I was hitting every bit of water and mud I could find.

Rest stop area

Before long we found ourselves at a beautiful rest stop beside a lake. We chatted with a few of the other riders, grabbed some grub and continued on our way not knowing how long the trail was. We continued down some more tighter twisty forest trail which eventually hit a section of the stickiest, gummiest clay mud I have ever seen....which of course I had to head straight into and get myself stuck real good.

My Outlander clogged full of the stickiest gumbo I have ever seen on a trail
Once I got myself winched out we hit a grid road which took us back to the staging area. It seemed way too short, had we not stopped along the way we could have made the round trip in an hour. So if I had a complaint it would be that it was too short.

It didn't feel like we were done yet, we had some food at the concession and headed back out to the trail. Unfortunately my son's 650 died on grid road just before getting into the forest and our day was over.

I appreciate the wash area they set up each year, this is just a waterpump in a slough with a hose attached but it is very much appreciated leaving some of the mud behind.

Winching out of the ruts I should have known I would hang up on

That sticky clay we encountered stains the black plastics of your machine pretty bad and it even has the ability to resist a direct spray from a pressure washer for short periods of time. Nasty stuff.

So it wasn't the crazy mind blowing\numbing experience that it was the first year but I heard the wet trails were as deep as ever. I think I'd like to go back to the extreme trails next year, and have the full Foxford experience. After all that's what this rally is famous for.

Monday, August 24, 2015

How to sell a used ATV

It's time to move on to a bigger, faster machine but you want to get every dollar you can out your old one. Here are my tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your old ride.

Clean it!!
You'd be surprised how many sellers don't clean their machine before putting it on the market? My Dad's Yamaha Rhino was covered with cow manure when he went to see it. Buyers know you can hide things beneath a later (or clump) of dirt. A clean machine shows the buyer you aren't hiding anything. If I come to look at your machine and it is dirty, I will offer you less.
When cleaning my ATV's for sale I use a four stage clean

  1. Rough clean - Get all the clumps of dirt and mud out of the chassis, tires and suspension. Use a pressure washer and soap. Spray from multiple angles and don't be scared to get on your knees to get a better view.
  2. Fine clean - Your rough clean looks good until it dries and then you see everything you missed. Use your garden hose, a bucket of soapy water and sponge. I usually use dish soap.
  3. Dry clean - Ok, now your done with the water. Wait until its dry and now you get our your Spray Nine or Castrol Superclean and go at it with a cloth on your seats and racks. Spray with your cleaner and wipe it off with the cloth. This is your best bet for getting those mud stains.
  4. Tire shine - Ok now it's clean but it looks dull, no shine at all. Buy yourself some good "no touch" foaming tire shine and go to town. Cover the entire machine, no need to wipe off other than the drips. Remember this will make the seat shine like a diamond but will also make it slippery as heck.
This is the brand of tire foam I use but most will work

*Cheat* If you want to bypass all of the work of the previous four steps for taking pictures, take your pictures after you've completed your rough and fine clean while the machine is still wet. The water will give the effect as the tire foam until it dries.

If you work hard and do all four steps your buyer will subconsciously think that this is how you always keep your machine when it is not in use. Mud stains and sun faded plastics look like crap, the tire shine will do a long way to hide both. 

Pictures Count
Make sure it's clean first! Then take a bare minimum of 5 pictures (the more the better), take one from every angle and of the interior (sxs) or of the handlebars\gauges of a quad.
Many people show the mileage on the gauges and I think this is a good idea.
Remember, even though you've seen it from every angle, your buyer hasn't. Think from their point of view.
If it's in a garage, take it out. A cramped picture of just the front corner of the ATV does nothing for the buyer.
If you can, get some greenery in the background, nothing makes a picture of an ATV pop like it sitting on nicely cut grass with bushes or trees in the background.
Use a decent camera that can take pictures with enough detail and not something from an old flip phone.

Market your ATV wherever you can
You local online classified site is your best bet. In my city the most poplar site it Kijiji, in many other areas it is Craigslist. Talk to your friends and find out where they are posting items for sale, it doesn't pay to post on a site nobody uses. Watch the hit counter so that you know how many people have actually viewed your machine. Lots of hits without any contact means that buyers think there may be something wrong. Check your pictures or wording.After posting your ad click on it, try and put yourself in the buyers shoes and see if you have properly represented your machine. Click on the pictures and make sure that when the buyer clicks on them that they are a decent resolution and not just a small thumbnail.
Other placed to advertise are:
-Bulletin boards at your parts dealer
-Facebook groups
-Tell your friends

Be prepared to negotiate your price. Don't ever ask the exact price you want. Yeah I hate price negotiations too but it is part of selling a used ATV. The buyer wants to feel like they have gotten a great deal. They also want to feel that if something goes wrong with the used ATV they are purchasing that they have some extra money that could be put towards those repairs. The bare minimum I recommend is $200 more than what you want to get out of it for machines $10,000 and under. On machines $10,000 and over I would say to have at least $500 of negotiating room.

Don't try to sell your machine for more than it's worth. Do your research, find three other comparable machines and their price ranges and average them out to figure out your asking price.

Accessories increase the value of your machine, but not dollar for dollar. If you spent $1000 on accessories you can't expect that they will increase the value any more than $500 at best. And some accessories can actually devalue the price.

Grow a thick skin
Trolls hiding behind a keyboard will lowball you, it's just the name of the game and be prepared. It doesn't mean they are insulting the value of their machine, they just want a deal. Sometimes if you manage to keep your cool you can turn a lowball into a reasonable offer if you are patient.

Be patient
I have had it happen to me a number of times where when the machine I am selling is first posted it gets lots of attention....and then completely dies in a couple days. Be prepared for a minimum of two weeks when marketing a machine under $10,000 and up to 8 weeks for $10,000 and over. There is a huge mental barrier for many people when you add that next zero onto the price.

Try to get them to see the machine
Many people want to do most of the price negotiations either by text or email, it sucks and I don't really understand it but it is a new reality enabled by technology. I don't understand how people feel they can properly negotiate a price of something that they have only seen pictures of, but they do. Roll with it. Do what you can just to get the buyer to your house to see it. In my experience 9 times out of 10 when somebody actually makes the time and effort to come over to view the machine they are planning to buy.

Hopefully these tips will help you in selling your ATV, if you feel there is something I have left out or there is a good negotiating tip you've figured out please tell me in the comments section.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Newst Spy Photo of Yamaha YXZ1000

If you haven't had your ear to the ground you may not have heard that Yamaha looks to finally be stepping up to the plate and bringing out the big guns to the pure sport sxs wars.

The Polaris RZR held the "King of the hill" title in this market segment for a long time until Can Am released the Maverick to compete head to head. Arctic Cat has also made a name for themselves with their contender the Wild Cat.

Here is what we know about this machine thus far:

•    It will be called the Yamaha YXZ
•    998cc (safe to assume it will be called the YXZ1000)
•    5 Speed Manual Transmission
•    111 Horse Power

Well the rumors keep swirling and each day a new spy photo is release. Here is today's:

Just leaked today is the latest picture of the new machine, this one appears to still be in the factory getting ready for shipping. The roll bar is missing in this picture as they are typically shipped separately.

Click here if you haven't yet seen the YouTube video

Thursday, July 16, 2015

ATV Decal Wraps

I've always enjoyed the looks of a nice decal wrap on an ATV and how they can completely change the look of the machine.

Here are some of the wraps I have done on my machines:

This was my 2007 Can Am Renegade 800. This decal kit was ordered off of eBay, it is by AMR and the pattern is called Tribal Flames (please ignore the terrible bumper)



The next machine I did was my 2009 Renegade 800X. This decal wrap was by (sorry, no model number) and was the wrap I was the happiest with. The black plastics were badly scuffed on this machine and the wrap covered them all. The gloss of the decals made the machine look new off the showroom floor and I continue to get compliments when I post pictures of this machine even to this day.



After the Renegade I decided to move to an Outlander and bought a 2011 XMR. I loved the beefy look of the big mud machine but wanted to get rid of the yellow. So I found the tank and side pieces in black but still felt it needed something more and started looking for a wrap.


It looked better in black but the scuffing was bad, it needed a wrap. For some reason I didn't go back to allmotorgraphics and I ended up buying another kit off of eBay. This one is by CreatorX and the name is Cold Fusion.


Overall my experiences with the wraps have been very good. I have had very little issues with decals lifting or peeling. They are very tough and no branch or other object on the trail has managed to damage them much at all although I haven't owned any of these machines longer than one season.

I would recommend wraps to anybody considering one but buy smart. You won't find the best deal on eBay and all three of these wraps were in the $350-$400 range by the time you add shipping and dollar exchange rate (I am in Canada).

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Why buy a Side by Side (SXS)?

I knew it would happen one day, even though I would have denied it to your face. That one day I would bite the bullet and buy a side by side (sxs). I've honestly been annoyed in the recent years with all of the attention that sxs's are getting and have had a secret resentment towards them. I have considered myself a hardcore quad guy and sometimes it feels like the sxs's are stealing the show. Although I have directed my anger towards the manufacturers, I knew deep down it was misguided as they need to "follow the money". And the side by side phenomenon is where the money is at.

I enjoy time on my ATV, that's for sure! I enjoy the nature, pushing the limits, exploring new areas and overcoming obstacles. But all of these are much more fun when the experience is shared with other people.

I know only a couple of riders that ride alone, and everyone of them would rather ride with a friend if they had the choice. For most riders, ATVing is really a social activity.

2Up ATV's have really become a huge part of the market

 As such there is a market to make our rides even more social. Here are examples:
  • Passenger seats
  • 2up ATV's
  • Group rides
  • ATV Rallys
Group ride we did back in March

 And then there is the technology and social media element:
  • Facebook groups
  • Blogs
  • Posting pictures online
  • Bluetooth helmet communicators
  • YouTube videos
Side by sides are just one more way to make your ride more social. It really is a different experience when you can talk to the person right beside as everything is happening.

My wife and I got to experience this for the first time in March on a retreat. Traditionally we have taken two ATV's with us but this time we took my Dad's Rhino.

It was a ton of fun, snow was deep and the ruts kept throwing us back and forth. The branches were tight along side of the trails and kept scraping the side posts and the windshield which scared the crap out of my wife. To be able to see the expressions on her face and and hear her little screams was priceless.
A Can Am Commander with a rear seat and roll cage add on

Most sxs's have aftermarket manufacturers that make a rear seat and roll cage that you can add on, although these are generally not recommended by the manufacturers due to liability issues. This add on allows you the ability to bring an adult and also kids along as a part of the experience and make ATVing a family event.

My 75 year old Dad likes his Rhino better than a quad

Sxs's are allowing many people who would otherwise not be able to ride an new opportunity. Sxs's have full seats which provide back support and keep you in an upright seated position, this is a huge advantage for people with back problems or other health issues. Some people simply can't ride an ATV because of having to swing their leg up and over top of a seat which is another issue that the sxs does not have.

A wheelchair converted Kawasaki Mule
It has also opened to door for people in wheelchairs as hand controls can be adapted for the brake and gas pedal similar to how they do this on cars, trucks and vans.

Sxs's are an evolution in the industry and are here to stay and will help keep the entire ATV industry alive and vibrant. There are many more points I could touch on like how sxs's dump box makes them incredibly versatile for both work and play or how sxs's have many creature comforts that cars have like a roof and windshield but those can be saved for another day.

Ride safe my friends!

Restoration Project - 2007 Yamaha Rhino 660

I really didn't like side by sides (sxs). I thought they were a new money grab that the industry was trying to push on us. Why change the traditional quad? But that all changed last fall.

Restoration nearly complete, looking good with beadlock wheels and Bighorn tires

We have a family tradition with some of our extended family that on the Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, that we head up to a place called Elkridge Resort in Northern Saskatchewan and rent a cabin. The cabins are gorgeous and very modern, not roughing it at all. It's also been a tradition that we bring the quads up because we are in the middle of lake country and its a great place to ride. The resort is ATV friendly and you can ride right up to your cabin.

It's a long story but what ended happening is that I only brought one quad and my riding partner, my brother in law Eugene wasn't able to bring his quad. Ride alone? I couldn't not ride while in lake country with a machine at my disposal. So I rode....alone.

I hate riding alone, for me riding is a social activity and I was not willing to take the risk of doubling up on a single person machine. As I rode along the trails by myself,  I kept encountering other families out and about on the trails. I really wished I had someone else to share this experience with.

Back at the resort I noted another cabin with a sxs in the driveway, it was a Can Am Commander. Being a Can Am fan, I absolutely love the Commander. But this one was different. In the cargo box area he had a seat and a roll cage that attached and extended the main roll cage over the rear seat. He loaded up his family and all of them headed out to the trails.

A Can Am Commander with rear seat and roll cage similar to the one I saw

 This was brilliant!! I was very inspired and in that moment the resistance to buying a sxs was gone and I was on our classified site looking to buy one.

The prices were ridiculous. There was no way I could afford a Commander. They came out in 2011 and even the oldest ones were not very old and hadn't dropped in value. I was looking at at least $14,000 and another $2000-$3000 for the roll cage and seat. I did not have that kind of money.
So I started researching other sxs's and began looking for the oldest one, one I might be able to afford. After a bit of research I found out that that sxs would be the one that started it all, the Yamaha Rhino.

I can't say the Rhino was my first choice in this endeavor , really it was just what I could afford but I've owned other Yamaha's and knew they were great for quality and reliability. It was late fall (October) and the rush for hunting ATV's was over and winter prices were settling in. I finally found one in a town around four hours away from where I live. The owner was only asking $4500 which was almost affordable for me. He said it didn't look the greatest, but it had low kms (2600) and ran and drove great. The only caution I had was that it was snorkeled, which is something that would usually turn me but the low kms helped me to over look that.

These are the actual pictures the owner sent me
It was rough, but it was all I could afford and I figured I could fix it up. I did some research and found I could get a rear seat for is as well as a roll cage and that there were a couple used ones available.

I was warned about the damage to the box but told it was just the plastic

You always take a risk when you buy used. And in retrospect I probably should have passed this one up but when I have an idea in my head and a goal I want to accomplish I can be pretty stubborn.

This machine was abused by the previous owner and it looked it. I kept telling myself it only has 2600kms on it, and I have seen these machines with over 16,000.

Here are just some of the issues I had to address:

-The rear box was bent and plastic fender damaged
-It had been crudely snorkeled and interior plastics were cut up to accommodate them
-It had put on an aftermarket pipe which would have been a very expensive accessory but the new pipe had almost no baffles in it and the volume of it was deafening
-The snorkel and aftermarket exhaust caused the jetting to be out of whack and the idle was rough
-It had temperature and air\fuel gauges and hacked up the plastic in the center of the dash to accommodate them.
-The camo color was faded badly
-The roof and hood had holes in them from various lights and light bars
-The frame was caked with mud
-The winch line was fraying, kinked and rusted and had to be thrown out.

Looked like just the plastic was damaged but the box itself had been tweaked badly

The restoration process started with buying replacement fenders, at the time I thought that the box was fine but realized it took heavy damage. Even the pivot for the dump box had been knocked off the frame and had been shoddily re-welded back on.

Luckily I had heated storage over the winter that I could start the restoration process in

A friend helped me straighten the box, I got fenders that didn't match they others and decided to paint everything. I started the search for a factory exhaust system that ended up costing more than the aftermarket one it had. Removed the gauges and extra wire and cleaned it real good.

In this pic you can see it starting to come back together in the background.
In the foreground is my Dad's Rhino that he bought after being inspired by mine.
In the end it turned out pretty good. I was happy with the look, the bedliner on the hood and fenders turned out great although the durability is still in question.

Nearly complete. But this is as complete as it will get.
The final step was to get the rear cage installed which was unfortunately not an easy task as the damage from the the accident on the right rear box and the shoddy repair put everything out of alignment.  

The lesson that I hope I've learned here is that I should have just waited until I could have afforded what I really wanted. At the very least I should have waited until a better Rhino came along, one that I didn't have so much work to undo issues from the previous owner. 

As of the date I am posting this I have abandon the Rhino family hauler project. I never did install the rear seats, will be removing the rear roll cage and the Rhino will be posted for sale in the coming days. I will also be selling my 2012 Outlander and will be replacing the two with this machine...the one that started this whole thing.

My new-to-me 2012 Commander 1000XT