A trailer bill of sale is a document that records the change in ownership of a trailer. Legally, a trailer is any non-motorized vehicle pulled by another vehicle.
If you’re selling a trailer along with other items (e.g., a boat and its motor), you can record the entire sale on a single bill of sale form.
Why You Need a Bill of Sale for a Trailer
Both the buyer and seller need a bill of sale, for different reasons:
- If you’re buying a trailer, you need a bill of sale as proof of ownership and to register the trailer with the DMV.
- If you’re selling a trailer, you need a bill of sale to protect yourself if there’s a future dispute regarding the trailer’s ownership or condition.
Free Printable Trailer Bill of Sale Templates (PDF & Word)
The bill of sale template you need depends on whether you’re selling just a trailer of any kind or a trailer along with a boat and/or motor.
How to Write & Use a Trailer Bill of Sale
Take these steps to complete your trailer bill of sale.
Step 1: Gather the details
Collect identifying information for your trailer, boat, and/or outboard motor, for example:
- Purchase price
- Trailer description (e.g., condition, make, model, empty weight, VIN)
- Vessel description (e.g., condition, vessel type, hull material, HIN)
- Motor description (e.g., serial number, model, horsepower, fuel)
You’ll also need the names and contact information of both the seller and buyer.
Step 2: Check state requirements
Your state may have specific requirements for transferring the title of your trailer. For example, Texas requires trailers with an empty weight of over 7,500 pounds to undergo a safety inspection before transfer.
Many states also require you to sign the bill of sale in the presence of adult witnesses or a notary public.
These requirements are typically listed on your state’s DMV website. If you have trouble finding the requirements online, call or visit your local DMV office.
Step 3: Fill out and sign the form
Once the buyer and seller have agreed to all the terms in the bill of sale, both parties should sign the form.
Your state may require witness or notary signatures to validate the bill of sale.
Even if it’s not required, we recommend having a third party witness your signature and sign the document in case of a future dispute over the sale.
Step 4: File with the DMV
Usually, the buyer keeps the original bill of sale, and the seller gets a copy. You can also create two identical copies and have the buyer and seller sign both copies.
Depending on state requirements, both the buyer and seller may need to file the bill of sale with the DMV or other governmental agencies.
If only a trailer is sold, file the bill of sale with the DMV. If a boat and/or outboard motor is sold along with the trailer, the transfer may be handled by another office, such as a marine board or recreational agency.
You can find out how boats are registered in your state on DMV Boat Registration and Licenses.