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2018 3500 EXT
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Discussion Starter #1
If a DIYer wanted to sell their PM DIY Camper Van, what is your opinion of figuring out the market value. I am not looking for “just list it at a high price & let the market figure it out” I am trying to get ideas of how you would evaluate the asking price on your used DIY Camper Van.

In my home town there are custom builders & going that route is not inexpensive.
 

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MMXVI - L2H2 in IN
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How I would do it,
I would find vans in my area that are similar and price it below them.
 

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Prices seem to be all over the place and have minimal relationship to quality, value or actual usefulness. I hate to say it but, most are either very poorly planed/built or way over planned & built. Actual construction costs are also meaningless as many people have no concept of actual needs and priorities not to mention where to find the best prices or even what they should be paying.
Having said that, people should ask as much as they feel it’s worth and hope someone else feels the same!
 

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Take the cost of the van brand new plus the cost of all the upgrades including your labor, then add 20 percent. Subtract off ten percent per year for depreciation. See where that lands you and adjust accordingly.
 

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2018 3500 EXT Camper Conversion in CT (TX for now due to Covid)
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Mine is so customized to my needs that I don't have any idea how to value it.

I know what is cost to build, and I know what the vehicle costs. But the market for a home built camper van with very high end materials is hard to determine. If you look at the cost of the smartbed evolution R (if you can even get one in the US) that alone is more than the costs of a lot of home built vans. Add the isotherm hot water system, inside shower and toilet, and the balance of the water system and it is not cheap. I run a Webasto 2000 STC heater rather than a chinese diesel because I didn't want to deal with diesel. I have 600 Ah lithium batteries and a Victron electrical system with 400 w solar.
I have no windows but a 360 degree camera monitoring system. And air conditioning which can be run with no visible indicators from the outside and can run for a good 10+ hours off the batteries. BUT I have no real cooking facilities and have no desire for any. My microwave is quite sufficient for me and I have a butane stove which I can use (but so far only have used outside)


It would probably cost more than most factory built class Bs to replicate, but there were no factory class Bs that fit my very particular desires. There is simply nothing to compare it to. Just based on built and component cost I would be looking at $70,000. To have someone else do this, I would think 100,000 would be a ballpark. But nobody else would probably want this combo of features, and that is why its is with me.
 

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In terms of pricing, it only takes one buyer who feels the van is worth X amount to be able to make a deal, so starting a bit towards the higher side in general doesn't hurt. Agree with comments that they is a bit of a donut in the sense that decent quality without all the bells and whistles can be more rare than cheap and bad and super expensive and overbuilt. That being said, we usually value our own creations higher than others might as they are custom for ourselves.
 

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Theres no doubt that the mark-up/potential profitability is higher for sprinter vans than for PMs. Practicality aside, the buyers with the most cash to spend want the sprinter/mercedes badge. A friend just sold his 2 year old 2WD sprinter with modest (maybe $10k in materials) conversion for $115,000 to a cash buyer that bought it without seeing it in person from a different state. That buyer was not interested in dodge promasters.
 

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2017 - 2500 159
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Take the cost of the van brand new plus the cost of all the upgrades including your labor, then add 20 percent. Subtract off ten percent per year for depreciation. See where that lands you and adjust accordingly.
But how do you value labor, and how to estimate how many hours it "should" take?
Cuz my labor probably costs more than Joe Builder, and most of us DIYers probably spend several times longer than a pro.
 

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But how do you value labor, and how to estimate how many hours it "should" take?
Cuz my labor probably costs more than Joe Builder, and most of us DIYers probably spend several times longer than a pro.
Also depend the quality of work too since most of us are not professional builder it varies and that probably applies to "professional" builder too. Plus there isn't a building code/standard that everyone follows so what is acceptable practice, might not be to another builder. Like some have said, just go with high value and slowly drop down until someone bites.
 

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But how do you value labor, and how to estimate how many hours it "should" take?
Cuz my labor probably costs more than Joe Builder, and most of us DIYers probably spend several times longer than a pro.
The OP implied he had already built the van so he can probably figure out roughly how many hours he spent. The average hourly wage for mid level carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and fabricators (all skills you need to build a van) is between $20-$40/hr. Pick a wage that suits you best. If you think you're worth more, go for it. Come up with a material and labor cost and add 20%. If you're van costs the same as a name brand van, it better be just as well equipped (or even better, with better quality) or you may want to rethink your price.
 

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2019 118" Silver
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Unless you're a known/respected RV builder or a clearly skilled craftsman (as some on this site have shown themselves to be) 'non-professional' labor often goes uncompensated.

In my case, since my PM is my all-around daily driver/utility vehicle & just part-time/makeshift camper, all I did was insulate with 1/2" polyiso, put up hardboard paneling, and lay outdoor carpet over a plywood/rubber mat floor. Don't think I spent much over $300 for all of it. Not being a good base for an actual "RV" build, I'm guessing most/all would be removed to install wiring + all the rest it would take to make it into a camper - IF they even wanted to use a low top shorty at all.

With this in mind I would price mine as a stock vehicle using NADA and KBB sites for reference with 'excellent' condition, 22680 miles, plus the options it has. I'd start with the 'Private Seller' price and add at least a couple thousand $ due to current availability and come down from there (slowly) until it sells. One advantage the new owner would have is that the hardboard panels would make excellent templates for cutting out whatever material they wished to use for the roof and sides, plus they could leave the 1/2" polyiso and just add another 1/2", 1" or whatever they want.
 

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Theres no doubt that the mark-up/potential profitability is higher for sprinter vans than for PMs. Practicality aside, the buyers with the most cash to spend want the sprinter/mercedes badge. A friend just sold his 2 year old 2WD sprinter with modest (maybe $10k in materials) conversion for $115,000 to a cash buyer that bought it without seeing it in person from a different state. That buyer was not interested in dodge promasters.
Add in the 4wd option that many buyers "must have" but will never need...

Following the van traders and seeing the money that very high mileage, half decent build sprinters pull... is insane.
 

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2017 Promaster 3500 Ext.
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Find a number you would be happy with, add $10k and list it...

When I was in the market there were 2 vans people had bought from Tommy Camper Vans. Tommy's business model was buying low mileage PMs, painting and upfitting them, then selling for $40 - $50k. Demand was so great that 2 owners were flipping theirs for $80k and $85k, respectively. They are no longer for sale.

Tommy is now only in the uplifting business, as they can't find enough used PMs anymore...
 

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2018 Silver 159 HT
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Are you in BC? My brother is looking he has real USDs.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks Everyone

Some of the prices I have seen for used DIY Camper Vans seem crazy high to me.

I know about economic laws of supply & demand, but still seems like some prices are quite high.

For me, I would look at the vehicle in separate terms to the build. I would look at replacement of the PM with new & deprecate the van for mileage or age.

The build would be a function of the costs to build with depreciation.

I suppose DIY Camper Vans are trendy right now? So the demand is high. That coupled with the demand of PMs in general for delivery vans in a Covid world & that pushes the cost of slightly used but readily available PMs seemingly over new but months away PMs.
 

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So I don't know the answer, but here is an example of what we are seeing in this area.

It is common to commute long distances to work here.

Prior to covid, people would often commute 2 hours each direction to go to work.

It was common to stop along the way to grab some coffee, breakfast, and use a bathroom as needed.

Now the bathrooms are largely closed or at least you cannot go inside, as are most restaurants that are not drive through.

People have been buying vans to be their "mobile safety bubble" and a safe place to make coffee and use the bathroom.

Most vans that are interesting are too tall to use the drive through window, so that means bringing along your own food and ability to make coffee.

While working from home is common, it is difficult to do every single day.

My perception is that the world has changed. Commuting in a tiny tin box on wheels with high MPG is not the future (my speculation)

It is becoming more acceptable to own a vehicle that is a bit over size to deal with covid and disasters.

Will this continue - I think yes, but trends change.
 

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You have a pretty nice van.

Quite different than some of the quick build junk that is out there.
 

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If a DIYer wanted to sell their PM DIY Camper Van, what is your opinion of figuring out the market value. I am not looking for “just list it at a high price & let the market figure it out” I am trying to get ideas of how you would evaluate the asking price on your used DIY Camper Van.

In my home town there are custom builders & going that route is not inexpensive.
I would offer the value of the base van only plus maybe a little more.
 
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