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How Much Should You Pay for a Used Jet Ski?

This guide will show you how to figure out used jet ski prices.

You’ll also learn the trick I use to figure out if a jet ski has a lot of problems or is worth buying.

Following this guide will help you get the upper hand when buying a used jet ski, especially from a dealership.

What You Need To Know Before Getting A Price On A Used Jet Ski

You need to know a few things first before you get a fair price for any used jet ski.

You need to know the jet ski…

  • Year
  • Model
  • Manufacturer

Without these 3 things, you won’t get the correct price.

You Also Need To Know The Lingo

Listing Price or MSRP = This is what the seller wants to get. It also goes by “sticker price” or the “original asking price.”

Wholesale = This is what the dealer or seller has in it. The seller can’t go any lower than this number without losing money.

Trade-in Value = This is what you can expect to get if you’re selling or trading in your jet ski to a dealership. The dealer will offer you a lower number than this if something is wrong with the machine.

Check NADA Watercraft

Go to NADA Watercraft Here: https://www.nadaguides.com/Boats/Personal-Watercraft

  1. Select the manufacturer.
  2. Select the year.
  3. Select the model.
  4. Enter your zip code.
  5. Pick your engine, it’s often the “included” one.
  6. Press “Get Base Value” button.
  7. Leave trailer option alone and press the “Submit” button.

You’ll see prices listed.

The “Suggested List Price” is what the jet ski sold for brand new at that time.

Under “Average Retail” is what you should expect for a clean and well taken care of jet ski.

If you’re trading in a jet ski expect to get a number lower than the “Low Retail” number.

Check Real World Prices

The listing prices that NADA give us is only a starting point. The actual real prices could be higher or lower depending on the market and where you live.

To get real-world prices, we must check websites like…

I like checking PWC Trader first as they make it easy to search for an exact watercraft.

A shortcut is to search Google for the jet ski you’re looking for and the word “for sale.” For example, “2015 Sea-Doo gti se 155 for sale“.

Leftover Is Not Used

I’ve had people confuse leftover models with used jet ski prices.

A leftover model is a new jet ski from previous years that has never been registered to an owner. So if it’s currently 2021, a leftover model would be a 2020 or 2019, and so on.

Leftover models almost always have discounts from the manufacturer to lower the price.

NADA Watercraft’s prices are for used jet skis and not leftover models. A used jet ski will almost always have a lower price than a leftover model because the leftover model is still new.

Finding Jet Ski Issues Or Problems

Not every jet ski is perfect, so you need to know its issues before buying.

Knowing about a particular jet ski’s common problems can help lower the price and make you better prepared.

How we do this is super easy with the trick below.

The Trick To Find Problem Jet Skis

Go to Google and enter your jet ski year, model, and make into the search box.

Then add this to the end…

site:http://greenhulk.net/forums/

This tells Google to search for this jet ski but shows only results from the website greenhulk.net. The site greenhulk.net is a jet ski forum site where anyone can ask questions about any jet skis. If many people have issues with a particular jet ski, it will indeed show up here.

Adding words like “issues,” “problems,” or “sucks” to the search term will narrow it down even more.

Note: It’s common to see many results, most of the time, its simple user errors or simple problems. This is only to give you an idea of any issues that the PWC may have. Also, the older the jet ski, the more items you’ll find as it’s been around longer.

There are also other forums you can search…

You can also use their built-in search options to search the year, make, and model of your jet ski to see if they have any significant problems.

What If The Jet Ski You’re Looking At Has A Lot Of Issues?

Don’t freak out!

There will be a few people who have issues and will go online and complain about them. This doesn’t mean you’ll experience these issues.

This search is more for finding the odd things that stand out.

For example, did that year model have problems with the seat tearing in the same spot? Or was that model affected by a timing chain recall, and if so, did the previous owner fix it?

Having these questions handy when buying helps give you a better idea of problems if they exist and could help with negotiations.

How To Lower The Used Jet Ski Price?

Knowing what NADA and the real prices give us a baseline on where to start.

If you come across a jet ski for sale and the price is much higher than our baseline, then we know something is not right.

They could be throwing in things like a cover or a trailer, and those can raise prices.

One way to lower the price is to show them the prices that NADA or a similar jet ski go for online. They may not be aware of the price, or the price they want could be based on them owing that much to the bank.

A jet ski must be paid off in full before the bank releases the title. Please don’t buy a jet ski unless it’s been paid off and has no liens on the title.

Another way to lower the price is to see what’s wrong with it from our previous search online.

  • Is there a tear in the seat? Getting a seat recovered can cost anywhere from $100 to $500, depending on the seat. If the seat is damage ask about lowering the price to cover the cost.
  • How old is the battery? If it’s over 3 years old, you should get a new one. A new battery costs around $100.
  • Does it even start? If you got a mystery machine, it’s a gamble.
  • Is there fading? If the jet ski is old enough, replacement plastic parts might not be available and must be detailed to restore it.
  • Is there fiberglass damage, especially under the hull? Fiberglass is not cheap to fix, especially if you want it to look like it did before.
  • Was it serviced when it was supposed to? If the previous owner never serviced it, the PWC will need to be serviced right away, and that is a few hundred dollars at a dealership.

Going over the jet ski and looking for any issues can help you lower the price.

Don’t forget to be reasonable! Asking too much off for a jet ski will get you nowhere in negotiations.

Keep in mind, the time of year you buy can also affect the price. Jet skis are cheaper in the winter and more expensive in the summer.

You’ll also pay more at the dealership than a private sale. But if you buy at a dealership, you have more peace of mind because they know what to look for and more easily fix things before selling them.

How Much Should You Pay For A Used Jet Ski Trailer?

Unlike jet skis, their trailers don’t have a website to give us used prices.

You got to use your gut for this one.

  • If the trailer is old but still works, I usually say around $300.
  • If the trailer is not aluminum but looks good, I go around $500.
  • If it’s a nice aluminum single trailer, I go for $800 to $1,000. Aluminum jet ski trailers hold their value very well, especially in the summer, so don’t be surprised if you pay more than that.
  • If it’s a good-looking double trailer I go for $1,000 to $1,400.
  • If it’s a good Aluminum Double Trailer, I go for $1,400 to $1,800.

I’ve seen jet ski trailer prices go for more than I’ve listed above. Used jet ski trailers, especially aluminum and doubles, hold their value very well.

A Note About Jet Ski Trailers

Get the used trailer serviced when you buy it.

The truth is that no one does the proper servicing on jet ski trailers, and this is super dangerous! Jet ski trailers need to be serviced just like your jet ski!

The bearings need to be greased, bolts need to be checked, and suspension needs to be inspected. Even the aluminum trailers still rust on the bolts and suspension.

6 thoughts on “How Much Should You Pay for a Used Jet Ski?”

  1. Hi Steven. Looked at a 2019 wake pro 230. 54 hours and the guy really seemed to be genuine about how he cared for it, but I noticed a scrape maybe 1/16 – 1/32 deep, not broke through, about 5 inches in length; and another quarter size dent (no perforation) on the hull. Would this be normal wear and tear or something to be concerned about? Would a dealer inspection (I’ve asked for one and he had no issues with that) tell me if these are problems?

    Reply
    • Scratches are normal and dings too. If the white of the fiberglass is showing it would be best to get it fixed, it doesn’t need to be perfect just enough to keep it from spreading. The problem is that fiberglass is water-loving and when the white is showing it attracts more water and starts to spread the crack. A legit dealer would look at the scratches and know if they’re bad or not.

      Reply
  2. Hey Steven… wanted your thoughts. Looked at a 2016 Yamaha VX Cruiser yesterday with only 41 hours on it. Seemed to run really nice on the water, but I was a little dooped by the ad. I thought I was going to look at a VX Cruiser HO with the 1.8L engine, but it ended up being just the TR1 engine which means its only a VX Cruiser. There were a few cosmetic issues including a lot of scratching on the underside of the hull. Not sure if it was from riding up on the jet ski port or perhaps beaching it. Some are a little more than superficial but I don’t think deep enough to hit fiberglass. Owner was asking $9250 with a trailer, but after i declined at first and I’m guessing maybe a couple of other buys too, he’s dropped the price to $8800. How concerning would the cosmetic issues be?

    Reply
    • Scrapes along the bottom are normal with age especially if they beach it. If you see white coming through or the gash is deep or wide enough it for sure is a problem. Him dropping the price that much is quite odd as the used jet skis have been fetching a premium this summer.

      Reply
  3. How much would you think is a fair price for a 2004 Yamaha Wave Runner FX HO with 87 hours? NADA is $4600 but the dealer is wanting $7000.

    Reply
    • Prices are going to be high on used jet skis due to current events and now being the main season for jet skis. Also, a 2004 jet ski is getting up there and would have me not wanting to spend that much especially over $5k but that is me personally. Due to how the market is in 2021 I don’t doubt that dealer will have someone come in sooner or later and pay $7k.

      Reply

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