A Trailer Bill of Sale contains the pertinent information to prove a person or company paid money to acquire a pull-behind vehicle designed to be hauled by a car or truck. 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.
A trailer bill of sale is a two (2) page document that serves as the last step in the trailer-selling process. It can be used for transactions involving cash, credit, check, or trade. It contains three (3) major sections; 1) identification of the parties and sale price, 2) information on the trailer, 3) and everyone’s signatures. The standard formality involves the buyer keeping the bill of sale for their records. If desired, a copy can be made and provided to other parties, such as the seller.
A bill of sale isn’t necessarily required, although completing one is a good decision. If the buyer doesn’t need to register their trailer or they have an alternative means of proving ownership, they can get by without one. However, it is a widely accepted document that provides clear proof that the deal occurred. Additionally, it acts like a receipt, letting the owner (and any future owners) know exactly what was paid for the trailer, its specs, VIN, and when the owner took possession of it.
The process and requirements for registering a trailer is state-specific. While one state may require boat trailers to be registered, another state (like Alabama), may not. Head to your local DMV office to understand the steps you will need to take. Alternatively, you can go online to your state’s DMV website, where they will list the fees and paperwork required. Once the buyer obtains the bill after paying for the trailer, they will need to do the following:
The individual registering will need 1) proof of ownership, 2) the title (if applicable), an 3) cash to pay for the associated fee.
Go online to locate a DMV near you. There are typically one or more offices in every county.
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 – bring cash to play it safe. You will then be given a plate. Attach it to the trailer in a clearly visible manner in a way that doesn’t obstruct brake or back-up lights.
The buyer will need to re-up their trailer registration if they intend to use it. If it sits un-used, it does not require registration. The timeframe for renewals is dependent on the state or county. Some mandate yearly registration, while others have bi-yearly requirements. After the first in-person registration, subsequent registrations can often be completed online.
Per the numbers shown in the image below, write the following:
- Month, day, and year in which the trailer was/is officially 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 towable; and
- The seller’s personal or business address.
The grey area in the middle of the form is where the details of the trailer need to be written. The most important info is the VIN number, as this is a completely unique number only kept by the trailer itself.
- The name of the company that manufactured the trailer. If the trailer was custom or homemade, write “N/A” or “Custom”.
- Can be a word or a model number. Write “N/A” if there is no model name/number.
- The year in which the trailer was built. Write all four (4) characters (ex: “2015).
- 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”, and so on.
- For listing the seventeen (17) digit code that identifies the trailer.
- Can be used for any other important information, such as its GVWR, length, payload, condition, material (ex: “aluminum”), etc.
- Enter the date in which the parties will be signing the form (day, month, and year).
- The only signatures required are that of the seller (2) and buyer (3). In addition to their signed names, they will need to print their name and write the date they signed. The two (2) lines below their signatures are for witnesses, if applicable.
The last page (notarization), is optional, unless required for registration. Check your local DMV requirements prior to signing.
This is a filled-in example of the trailer bill of sale. All included information is fictitious.