7 Clever Ways to Buy a Side-by-Side on the Cheap

Anyone who doesn’t have thousands of dollars to throw around just for fun is usually trying to find the cheapest route to get what they want. Whether that is scouring for coupons for your groceries or going thrift shopping for cool clothes, consumers always want a good deal.

Buying a side-by-side is no different, and with a plethora of makes, models, and prices it can be hard to know when you are getting a good deal and whether or not you are getting a quality side-by-side for an actual cheap price.

Going out to your nearest side-by-side or power sports dealership and buying the coolest, flashiest, UTV with all the bells and whistles certainly won’t be cheap and quite frankly is not the smartest financial decision in the world.

In order to get the side-by-side that you want, with everything you want it to have, and for it to be in a solid working condition at the price range you can afford takes time, consideration, research, and a little knowledge as well.

7 Tips for Buying Used UTVs

  • Establish a Budget & Have Cash In Hand
  • Shop Around
  • Learn How to Bargain
  • Avoid Contracts
  • Buy Off-Season
  • Buy From Private Sellers
  • Save Money Wherever You Can

Visit our UTV Page for More Great Content!

1. Establish a Budget & Have Cash In Hand

Before you ever buy anything, it is wise to have a budget put in place. That way you will not have to encounter any unneeded financial issues or surprises.

You have to know what exactly what you want, and how much you are willing to spend to get it.

The problem with a lot of people is that they are not the most financially savvy people in the world. We live in an ever growing world that has started to spoil us into immediate gratification.

We want what we want and we want it now and we don’t care what we have to do to get it, so long as we have it. That kind of mentality is what has gotten a lot of people in trouble and continues to do so.

A lot of people justify their wants claiming that they are needs.

They “need” that new fancy car and so they go down to the bank, take out a loan that has sky-high interest rates attached to it and then walks out with their fancy new car thinking they just made the best decision of their lives.

The fact is, in a few years or even a few months the buyer will realize they didn’t have the money to begin with to buy that car, and now they are trapped in a multi-thousand dollar loan that is accruing interest they can’t handle.

That is why the first thing you must do before buying a side-by-side is to establish a budget and you don’t need an in-depth financial education or need to be a CPA in order to make one.

Related Reading: What’s the Cheapest 4-Seat Side-by-Side?

There are plenty of self-help books that you can read to better educate yourself on budgeting, or if you don’t want to put in that kind of time, there are even simple videos that can help you plan out a budget in excel like this one.

There is no reason why you can not find a way to create a simple budget, figure out how much you can spend, and what you want to spend on side-by-side or any other type of vehicle.

For your budget for a side-by-side you are going to want to know at least the basic information about the vehicle such as:

  • Exact Year of the preferred vehicle
  • Make of the Vehicle
  • Vehicle Model
  • Average Price of the Vehicle (I recommend Kelly Blue Book)

There are plenty of online reviews of various side-by-sides that you can look at and compare, in order to be sure that you know exactly what you want and how much you are willing to spend.

Have Cash in Hand:

After you establish a budget you will want to know how you are going to pay for the side-by-side and the best way to do that is with cold hard cash.

The old saying that “Cash is King” still rings true to this day. I would never really recommend taking out a loan to buy anything, let alone a side-by-side that you can easily save up for in a few years and get at a reasonable price.

One should avoid loans and use cash because loans will accrue interest.

So even if go you and get a loan for a $20,000 at an interest rate of 6% over 7 years for a Polaris RZR XP Turbo, you end up paying around $8,000 more for the vehicle than you would have if you were to buy it outright in cash.

When you buy with cash you will not have to worry about having another thing to pay off over the next few years.

There is a slight catch when buying with cash.

When you buy with cash you will have to plan out the purchase. This is because most ATMs are not going to let you just go in and take out more than 500 dollars within a 24-hour period.

In that case, you will typically have to make a few trips over the span of a week or so in order to get out the amount of money that you need to buy the side-by-side.

You might also think that cash is over-rated and it is easier or even safer to use an app like PayPal or Venmo.

While there is always a liability with having large amounts of cash on your person, it carries more weight than an app will.

Cash speaks louder than any application ever will be able to.

If you are buying from a private seller or even a dealership and negotiating the transaction, it is easy to send a simple message that says…

“Hey, I have $4,000 in cash, I know that is less than what you are asking but if I could bring that over to you today would you take it for that much?”

Typically people are selling their side-by-sides because they need the extra money, are trying to buy something else, or simply don’t use it all that often, and a few thousand dollars in cash brought right to your door that day speaks out to that sense of instant gratification I mentioned earlier.

2. Shop Around

Shopping around is a huge way to get a good side-by-side on the cheap and there are plenty of places to do it.

Trust me when I say that your nearest power sports dealership is probably not the place that will give you the best deal, no matter what their inflatable gorilla is advertising.

In order to really find the best deal for whichever side-by-side you are wanting to buy then you will have to widen your search range and shop around.

Make sure to go to the various dealerships in your area, the next town over, or however far you are willing to travel in order to find the best deal.

Also, take a look at the various websites online that sell side-by-sides or marketplaces where people can post listings for different products. There are numerous places to look and listed here are only a few.

Related Reading: Average UTV Cost

Facebook Marketplace:

I have found in my own purchases that Facebook Marketplace is a great place to start.

Facebook Marketplace is a bit newer to some people seeing that it has only been around for a little under four years, but it has been growing steadily in reputation these past few years.

You can think of Facebook Marketplace like Craigslist however I have found that it is a lot easier to navigate than the Craigslist site is.

Facebook Marketplace makes it super easy to see who is selling what in your area. All you would need to do is input the specific year, make, and model of the side-by-side you are wanting to purchase in the search bar and search for it.

You can also set limits as to how much you are willing to pay and how far away you are willing to travel in the search categories so that your results are narrowed down to your desires.

Another helpful tool that Facebook Marketplace gives you is the notification feature that will appear on your phone or computer notifying you of any updates on the vehicle such as a price drop, or whether the vehicle has been sold or not.

Plus if you find a side-by-side that looks like what you are looking for then you can save the listing for later or message them right away through the messenger app.

If you are wanting a bit more information about how to navigate Facebook Marketplace go ahead and check out this video that gives a simple overview of the site.


Craigslist is most likely the go-to for most people looking to buy new or used vehicles, including side-by-sides. Craigslist has been around forever and most people are familiar with its interface.

What I find most annoying about this specific site is all the digging that you have to do.

Things are listed using various names and prices so you have to really comb through all the listings in order to find the specific item that you want.

There is a fix for this problem though. An application called CPlus for Craigslist gives easier navigation of the site and allows you to receive updates and messages about bookmarked items.

So if you do choose to go the typical Craigslist route then I would recommend downloading this app to help make your search more convenient and manageable. It makes Craigslist a lot like Facebook Marketplace with all of the notification features and such.

Here is yet another quick how-to video that will explain how to navigate the Cplus for craigslist app and the various functions that the app has.

Related Reading: Best Side-by-Sides Under $5,000


eBay Motors is another good resource. They do in fact have a UTV section that you can select.

There you can search whatever side-by-side you are searching for and the site has a fantastic category section where you can select the year, mileage, condition (new/used), price, buying format, and even delivery options.


Atvtrader is probably one of your best bets to find the exact year, make, and model side-by-side that you want to get.

Do not be fooled by the domain name, Atvtrader does not just specialize in ATVs, they have plenty of used and new side-by-side options as well.

This site is your best bet just because of the specifications you can enter in when searching for the right model that you want.

You have the ability to choose the mileage, make, model, year, as well as specify if you want a special/limited edition in the advanced search categories.

There are not too many private sellers on this site, but if you do not mind haggling it out with a dealer then this site would most likely be your best bet to find the side-by-side you are looking for.


The local classifieds would be your last line of defense in my opinion. If you really want to go “old-school” and pick up your local paper and search through the classifieds to see if anyone is selling any side-by-sides then be my guest.

You could also go online and look for your local classifieds there as well, you just may be surprised that you find what you are looking for there, plus you would not have to travel too far to pick up the side-by-side which is always nice.

3. Learn How to Bargain

Bargaining is your top tool in order to get a side-by-side on the cheap. Bargaining is perhaps the most underrated tool that every consumer has.

People think you can only bargain at garage sales, but you can bargain with just about anyone, anywhere, however, most people are too afraid to do so.

In fact, according to a survey done by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, 89% of people who bargained were rewarded at least once. However in a survey done in the years 2010-2013 only 48% of people actually tried to bargain.

Consumer Reports

I know it can be scary, but if you have the confidence to bargain and do it right you can drop the price of whatever you are purchasing significantly especially vehicles.

Some quick and easy tips to learning the “art of the deal” are these.

Be Discreet:

Don’t try to haggle with a salesman/saleswoman in front of an audience. Most salespeople will be willing to wheel and deal with you, however, they will feel less inclined to do so if they know they’ll have to give the same deal to the other twenty people who just heard your conversation.

Be Respectful:

When negotiating, do not come off as stubborn, hard, or overly aggressive. Salespeople will be much more inclined to listen to and work with someone who is friendly and low-key. Be someone who is willing to negotiate.

Give Them Incentives to Bargain:

When the situation applies, be sure to give the salesperson who is selling you an item incentive to bargain with you. For example, if you are buying a car, tell them that you will come back to them for repairs, maintenance and any other extra items you might need for the vehicle.

Ask Good Questions:

Don’t ask specific questions like can “I get 20% off this vehicle?” that makes it too easy for a salesperson to say no.

If you lead in with “wow, this car really fits my needs perfectly and would be great for my family, but it is a bit out of my price-range can we work that out?” Then you show interest and give the salesperson room to negotiate.

Show Intelligence and Do Your Homework:

Whenever buying a vehicle or any product, be knowledgeable about that product. Show the salesperson that you know about the product, competing products, how much it is worth, etc.

If you don’t know about a certain product then do some research into it so that you don’t walk into a deal blind about what you are buying and then get oversold on something.

Don’t Be Afraid of Silence:

Silence could make or break a negotiation. If you are silent during the right times, even if it is awkward, you just might be able to push the salesperson to accept a deal.

Another great source to view is this video here, it talks about a few of the things I have previously mentioned as well as some extra ones that will really help you win over whoever it is you are buying from, and secure a better bargain.

4. Avoid Contracts

If you go to a dealer and express to them that you want to buy a vehicle the first thing that they will ask you, along with what you are interested in, is what you would want your monthly payment to be.

The reason that they do this is that they want to be able to lock you into some sort of finance plan. If a dealership can get you to finance a vehicle then they will be able to throw in a plethora of hidden fees that will jack up your monthly payment.

One thing that is imperative to understand is that dealerships will do all in their power to make sure you pay as much money as possible for the vehicle.

Obviously, dealerships want to make money, and their job is to have you pay as much as possible. Your goal is to talk them down.

This is a prime reason why I said to have cash on hand and be willing to pay for the vehicle outright. If you do that then you won’t have to worry about financing your side-by-side.

So be sure to avoid financing contracts with dealerships. If they ask you “Well, how much would you be willing to spend on a monthly payment?”, do not even answer that question.

Just say “look I do not care about a monthly payment, at the end of the day I want to pay X amount of dollars period for the vehicle.”

It might throw the salesperson off a bit when you say that but it will help you so you don’t get roped into financing and hit with a bunch of hidden fees.

5. Best Time to Buy a Side-by-Side/UTV: Off Season

If you can be patient enough to wait until the off-season to buy your side-by-side then do so. The offseason is typically in the late fall to winter months.

Buying in the winter will allow you to have more buying power.

Most people will not be using their side-by-sides and as the holidays approach they may need some extra money for gifts, or just need that extra cash to make ends meet as the year comes to a close.

It is great to buy in the years end as well because there are not as many buyers. People typically like to buy in the summer when they will be able to use the side-by-side right away.

6. Buy From Private Sellers

Dealerships need to squeeze as much money as they can out of their vehicles. So the best way to get the best deal is to buy from private sellers.

Try as you might you will find that you will be pretty hard-pressed in getting a dealership to lower their price to the cheap price range that you would like to get to.

Dealerships have, typically overprice their products in order to have “bargaining room.” They are also more familiar with the going rates than you are, so the private seller price is more realistic to the products actual value.

Not only are private sellers more likely to have realistic prices, but it will be easier to bargain with them. Private sellers are typically your average working person just like yourself.

The fact that they are an ordinary working person works in your favor. People have needs, wants, and desires. If someone has fallen on some financially hard times and needs the money they will be more willing to bargain with you just so they can get some type of cash.

Here is a quick video that talks about some helpful questions that you should ask whenever purchasing a vehicle. He references cars here but these tips are applicable to the purchase of any used vehicle.

7. Save Your Money Wherever You Can

This seems like a pretty obvious tip. Of course you are going to want to cut corners and save money where you can, however, I say this in the sense of getting things thrown into your purchase.

Free stuff:

If you are working with a dealership, or even a private seller, then try to get free gear when you can. Whether that may be a free helmet, a winch, riding jackets, or even a full tank of gas.

If the seller really just wants to get rid of the vehicle, you probably will be able to get some of their riding gear thrown into the deal for free, or even if you just offer them an extra hundred dollars or so for the trouble.

Passed Over Ads:

When you are searching for a side-by-side and looking at various ads, be sure to pay attention to the oldest listings. Sometimes people will pass over different ads because the post is vague, doesn’t have good pictures, or they live super far away and people just are not willing to drive out that far.

It may take a little extra time but check up on these ads in particular. Since they have been up for so long, that seller is probably impatient at that point and just wants the vehicle gone. With that kind of mentality, it will be easy to haggle and get a good deal.

Do Not Be Too Picky:

The worst thing that you can be is too picky when trying to buy a side-by-side for cheap. If you are looking for something specific that is fine but do not limit yourself if you are just looking for something to ride.

Too many people read various forums, look at reviews, and then hop on the hottest brand bandwagon that there is. Perhaps their buddy owns a Honda and swears by them and so this new buyer decides he will only buy a Honda.

There are so many different brands out there and various models, that in reality, are similar or almost the same. Do not limit yourself to a certain brand because then you are discarding possibly hundreds of options just because you have decided to be brand loyal.

If you are just looking for a general side-by-side to work in, ride around on, and have the occasional fun time with, then go see what is available, do the proper research on what vehicles are available and in your price range, and then make an educated decision.

Do Not Get Scammed:

The last bit of advice that I give people with many of my posts about buying a side-by-side is to be careful. Be sure to check up on any potential list or buyer.

Call ahead of time to confirm a place to meet, if it is a private buyer, and let people know where you will be. If you are buying from a dealership then follow the various tips above.

Remember to establish a budget, shop around, do your homework, and learn how to bargain. If you follow any or all of these tips then I am sure that you will be able to get a side-by-side on the cheap.

Related Reading: Best UTVs Under $10,000

Why are UTVs so Expensive?

Now, that you’ve been looking more into UTVs, you’ll notice the high price tags. But why do they cost so much?

You may have sticker shock looking at side-by-side prices. Here’s why:

  1. Specialty Status: Unlike regular vehicles, UTVs serve specific purposes. While farmers rely on them, the average person doesn’t, making them more specialized and costly.
  2. Big-Name Brands: Major automakers like Yamaha, Suzuki, and Polaris produce UTVs. These renowned names drive up prices, as with any branded product.
  3. Technological Leaps: UTVs have evolved since 2009, with advancements in suspension, power, and speed. This constant improvement adds to their price.
  4. Consistent Demand: Despite their niche appeal, UTVs enjoy steady demand. Buyers are willing to pay more, encouraging price hikes.

While side-by-sides cost more, they offer enhanced performance and durability, justifying their higher price tags.

To read more on why these specialty vehicles are so expensive, click here!

Some of the Cheapest Side-by-Sides

Looking for an affordable side-by-side under $10,000? You’re in luck! Here are some budget-friendly options:

  1. Cub Cadet Challenger 400LX: The Challenger 400LX is versatile and cost-effective. It offers a robust 404cc engine, a 350-pound cargo bed, and can tow up to 500 pounds. Durable off-road tires and a hard roof make it a great choice.
  2. Kawasaki Mule SX: The Kawasaki Mule SX boasts reliability and brand recognition. With a spacious cargo bed, excellent suspension, and a powerful 401cc engine, it’s a solid value.
  3. Honda Pioneer 500: Just under $10,000, the Pioneer 500 provides a liquid-cooled 475cc engine, 1,000-pound towing capacity, and safety features like rollover protection. It’s designed for productivity and fun.
  4. John Deere Gator XUV560E : The Gator XUV560E offers a 16-HP engine, a large cargo box, and robust suspension for cornering and rough terrain. It’s built for tasks like towing and hauling.

These side-by-sides offer quality and affordability, proving that you don’t need to break the bank for off-road adventures.

How Much is UTV Insurance?

When buying a UTV, considering insurance is wise. UTV insurance, on average, costs around $25 per month, but rates depend on factors similar to car insurance. To find the best deal, shop around and consult friends for recommendations.

Several factors influence your insurance costs:

  1. Choice of Insurance Company: Your insurer greatly impacts your rates. Different companies offer various premiums and deductibles.
  2. Age and Driving Record: Younger individuals often face higher premiums, and a poor driving record can increase rates.
  3. UTV Make, Model, and Year: Newer and higher-end UTVs typically cost more to insure than older or lesser-known brands.
  4. Coverage Amount: Your insurance price depends on how much coverage you purchase. Extra coverage, like property damage or liability, increases costs.
  5. Deductibles: Opting for higher deductibles can lower your premiums.
  6. Safety Courses: Completing a UTV/ATV safety course may reduce costs.
  7. Storage and Riding Location: Where you store and ride your UTV can impact rates. Areas prone to accidents or rough terrains might result in higher premiums.
  8. Riding Frequency: The more you ride, the more you may pay in premiums.

Typically, UTV insurance covers:

  • Medical Costs: Often covers medical bills resulting from accidents, depending on fault.
  • Collision: Covers damages from collisions with vehicles or objects, including rollovers.
  • Liability Coverage: Protects you if you cause damages or injuries to others.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Covers non-accident-related damages like fire, vandalism, and theft.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Helps when at-fault parties lack insurance or adequate coverage.

Remember, if an incident occurs on your property, your homeowner’s insurance might cover it. Specifics may vary by provider.

To read more about UTV insurance, click here!

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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