Updated on April 29th, 2022
A trailer bill of sale contains pertinent information that proves a person or company paid money to acquire a pull-behind vehicle. Like automobiles, state law often requires trailers to be registered if they will be used on public roads. During registration, the DMV will require proof of ownership, which the bill of sale form provides.
The form can be used for trailers of all makes, models, and sizes, including those that carry commercial equipment, boats, cars, ATVs, snowmobiles, motorcycles, landscaping tools, cattle, and more.
What is a Trailer Bill of Sale?
A trailer bill of sale is a transactional document that serves as evidence of ownership of a trailer. It is completed and signed following a buyer’s payment to the seller. It contains three (3) major sections; 1) identification of the parties and the sale price, 2) information on the trailer, 3) and each party’s signature. The buyer should keep the bill of sale for their records; a copy can be made and retained by the seller as well.
Is it Required?
Yes, most states require street-legal trailers to be registered. In order to complete registration, the owner needs to prove their ownership with a bill of sale form. If a buyer will be using the trailer on private property only, a bill of sale is not required.
How to Register a Trailer
The process and requirements for registering a trailer are state-specific. While one state may require boat trailers to be registered, another state (like Alabama), may not. Head to the state’s DMV website to find out what is required for the registration process. Once the buyer obtains the bill of sale after paying for the trailer, they will need to complete the following steps:
Step 1 – Gather Paperwork
The individual registering will need to show proof of ownership, produce the title (if applicable), and pay the associated fees.
Step 2 – Go to the Nearest DMV
Go online to locate the nearest DMV. There is typically at least one office in every county.
Step 3 – Pay the Fee
The fee will range anywhere from $5 to $25+ dollars, depending on the type of trailer and whether it is used for personal or commercial hauling. Credit cards are not always accepted – bringing cash is recommended. After paying, the registrant will be given a plate. Attach it to the trailer in a way that is clearly visible and doesn’t obstruct brake or back-up lights.
Step 4 – Renew Registration
The buyer will need to renew their trailer registration on a regular basis. The timeframe for renewals is dependent on the state or county. Some mandate annual registration, while others have bi-annual requirements. After the first in-person registration, subsequent registrations can often be completed online.
How to Write
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1. Name the Buyer & Seller
Enter the following information in accordance with the numbered guide in the image below:
- Month, day, month and year in which the trailer was sold (format: MM/DD/YYYY).
- The sale price of the trailer (what the buyer paid to the seller).
- The full name of the individual or company purchasing the trailer.
- The buyer’s address.
- The entity or individual name of the seller (owner) of the trailer.
- The seller’s personal or business address.
2. Describe the Trailer
The grey area in the middle of the form is where the details of the trailer need to be included. The most important info is the VIN number, as this is a completely unique number to each trailer.
- The name of the company that manufactured the trailer. If the trailer was custom or homemade, write “N/A” or “Custom.”
- Model name/number. Write “N/A” if there is no model name/number.
- The year in which the trailer was built. Write all four (4) characters (e.g., 2015 instead of ’15).
- Write the number (#) of axles the trailer has. If there are four tires, it has two (2) axles; if six tires, it has three (3) axles, and so on.
- The type of trailer can be any classification that describes what it’s used for. Examples include “landscaping,” “boat,” “enclosed,” “livestock,” etc.
- Provide the seventeen-digit (17) alphanumeric code that identifies the trailer.
- Enter any other important information, such as its GVWR, length, payload, condition, material (e.g., “aluminum”), etc. This step is optional.
3. Sign the Form
- Enter the date that the parties will be signing the form (month, day, and year).
- The only signatures required are that of the seller (2) and buyer (3). They will also need to print their name and enter the date they signed the form. The two (2) lines below their signatures are for witnesses, if applicable.
The last page (notarization), is optional unless required for registration. Check the local DMV requirements prior to signing.
This is an example of a completed trailer bill of sale. All included information is fictitious.
Download: PDF, Word (.docx), OpenDocument