Selling in South America
This a long overdue response to this post. I read this post all through my travels; Peru, Argentina, Chile, Brazil and naturally now Paraguay. First off I'll start by saying that I successfully sold my bike in a very short window for a fair price in Ciudad del Este (Paraguay), thanks to the ultimate biker Rodolfo...Getting close to the end of my trip I really wanted to try and sell my bike, so my first move after reading this post was attempting contact with Rodolfo via the Hubb when I was a couple days from Puerto Iguassu (Argentina side) Thinking I would not likely receive a reply, I took the chance and emailed “Rodolfo” to see if he could offer some tips on the selling in Paraguay. Within hours I had a reply and an offer to meet for lunch, an offer I am so very thankful for. “Rodolfo” will inspire you if you’ve ever had any doubts about the biker community. Within hours he had arranged accommodation, a sales plan and any other help we may need strictly out of the goodness of his heart. I must really try and paint this picture a little better. Rodolfo has a schedule that would kill the average man, he runs a muti-national toy company 6 days a week, goes to school 5 days a week in the evenings, takes care of his family who have recently faced some very serious illness and tries to spend any remaining time with his girlfriend “Mariane.” He has an unrelenting schedule, yet he made every attempt in whatever time he had to help us though our travels. He is really a true class act and we can’t thank him enough. Rodolfo you are the definition of “biker community,” we couldn’t have done it without you.
Rodolfo has a cousin "Alexadre" who's place you see in these Photos Pipes and Lil'P go South! this is the weekend home of Rodolfo’s cousin “Alexandre” another biker with a big heart. Alex met up with us and gave us the keys to this little haven at a price that was way beyond fare. It would be home for the next 5 days, a place to swim, tan, eat, relax and prepare my sweet “Maria” for sale in Paraguay. Other bikers have been to this place before and can attest to how sweet it is, if you go to Foz Do Iguassu get a hold of Rodolfo….
The plan was made. Rodolfo had helped a few other bikers in the past attempt to sell their bikes over the border in Paraguay, so his plan was good. Why Paraguay you ask? Well basically it’s the only country in South America where you can LEGALLY sell your bike.
Here was how we got to this point. Our options.
Option 1: Ship the bike back to Canada (pros: Have the bike that took us on an unforgettable trip. cons: very expensive, tons of bureaucracy, last minute planning and realistically I wouldn’t ride a KLR that much in Canada.)
Option 2: Sell it for cash illegally to a friend or stranger as a parts bike as they will never be able to register or drive it illegally. (pros: drive it all the way to Rio. cons: get very little money for the bike, stress of finding a buyer, not closing temp vehicle document with Brazil causing potential issues in the future with entry or if it turns into a parts bike, have the guilt of watching your loyal companion get torn apart.)
Option 3: Go to Paraguay and attempt to sell the bike. (pros: potentially get a reasonable price for the bike and not have any more stress with what to do with it. cons: sell the bike a little earlier than I would have liked and the risk of something going sideways in the fast paced and sometimes dangerous city know as Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.
Our first step was to get over the border, which if you’ve been here you’ll know is different than any other border in the world. You simply swerve in and out of traffic following other bikers, blow past the Brazilian side over a bridge then through the Paraguay side looking forward and hoping nobody stops you. It’s really weird, but that’s how it works. Ciudad del Este is basically a shopping area for Brazilians who want to avoid the incredibly high taxes and duties of Brazil. The market area goes from Chinese knock-off Rolex’s and other garbage to high end malls selling real Rolex’s and expensive perfumes. Everyone has cash in their pockets and every corner has men with shotguns and bullet-proof vests. The advice from Brazilian’s be very careful and don’t stray too far from the border.
Step 2, drive around to bike shops and try and drum some interest from potential buyers. We did this three different times, crossing the border and approaching people at bike shops. We had some interest but with our poor Spanish it was difficult to gauge how serious the buyers were.
Step 3, return on Saturday, two days later with Rodolfo and try some more. Rodolfo had made some contacts in the previous day with a man who had bought another bike with Rodolfo’s assistance a few months earlier. We went to see these gentleman at a restaurant with another man who represented himself as a middleman. We arrived at the restaurant to 3 big-ass Harley’s and a group of guys having lunch. We were a little nervous at this point but they seemed like all right guys and Rodolfo didn’t seem too worried. We met some of the guys who were here to see a CCR concert that had been in town the night before. We met a man named “Julio” who spoke English and apparently was the money behind the meeting. These guys knew everything there was to know about bikes and had no misconceptions on the worth. The one hitch, where’s the panniers? They weren’t interested in the bike without the shiny aluminium boxes that had stored our valuables for the last two and a half months. Apparently panniers are the key to a quick sale down in these parts because every biker we met from this area wanted them. We agreed on a price that worked for both of us and arranged to meet on Monday morning to complete the transaction.
See you Monday………..
We woke up early and refreshed after spending our previous day cleaning the bike and peeling stickers from the panniers. We were to be in Paraguay at 8:30 to meet up with Pablo (the middleman) at a gas station. Nervous we were, but after our meeting on Saturday I felt ok about the deal. Eventually Pablo arrived and we followed him to another gas station where we sat for a while and drank coffee, apparently waiting for Julio who was running a little late. Alas he showed and we proceeded in parade to a local Notary that Julio had clearly used multiple times. Everything was on the up and up and finally after a couple hours of paper work we were off to the bank to get the money. The bank was very high end, so there no doubts about the “quality” of the $100 bills, but walking around Ciudad del Este with a pocket full of $100’s was not ideal.With the paper work complete and money in hand it was time to drop the bike off in their little bike compound (this was the most nerve racking part, I had lots of cash in my pocket, I was in a strangers house in Paragauy, the paperwork declared the bike was now the property of Julio and I was handing the key over to Pablo
Everything went as advertised and we even ended up spending a few hours with Pablo. After leaving the bike in the compound he drove us to his business and introduced us to his wife and mother. Pablo owned a photocopy company that had a contract with local schools to photocopy their only “real book” so the kids had a photocopied version for the school year. Much different than Canada, it actually makes more sense. We even picked up his two kids from elementary school and went out for lunch at a local restaurant. It goes to show, these people may be much poorer than you or I and live in a much different society but they’re no different than us.
I’m glad Pablo (left) will be riding this bike with the financial help of Julio (middle), they were both real bikers that will show Maria the roads and TLC she deserves. (pipesandlilp.tumblr.com)
So long Maria, you were a faithful companion for us…..We’ll miss ya….
Thank you again Rodolfo and Alexandre......See you in a few more years
P.S. come to Canada to ride the Rockies...
Selling your bike in South America
O ya I forgot to say, please contact me if you have any questions. Rodolfo also expressed he was willing to help other bikers facing the same dilema. This could change the way bikers end their trip in SA, at least it did for me..
Rodolfo = Iguassu falls Quati
look him up on the HUBB
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