Buying a Motorcycle? Here's Everything You Need to Know About What Fees to Expect at the Dealership

Buying a Motorcycle? Here’s Everything You Need to Know About What Fees to Expect at the Dealership

You’ve done your research, you’ve picked out a bike you can afford, but what about those fees? Not only do you have to buy the bike, but an official out-the-door price will include shipping and receiving fees, setup fees, doc fees, tags/title fees, and sales tax. Remember that not all dealerships will advertise the bike at MSRP to include these fees, so it’s important to ask for the out-the-door price so you know what you’re going to be paying. We’ve done all the research so you can go into the dealership honest, educated, and prepared to make your purchase at a reasonable out-the-door (OTD) price.

Out-the-Door Price: 5 Fees You Need To Plan For


  1. Destination Charge or Freight Fee (Shipping/Receiving)
  2. Setup/Prep Fee  
  3. Doc Fee
  4. Tags/Title Fee
  5. Sales Tax

How much to expect in fees and taxes?
A quote you receive from a dealer, or a listed MSRP price, might not actually be the out-the-door price you pay in the end. Why? Dealer fees and taxes. Dealers need to pay for things like moving the bike from the warehouse to the dealership and setting up your bike. And of course, you always need to pay the government.
Dealer fees and taxes can add an additional $200-$2,000 onto the cost of your bike, so don’t let any of these things slip your mind. After all, the bike won’t be yours unless you own the title, which means you have to pay the title fee, and same goes with the rest of these fees, they are either mandatory or, oftentimes, non-negotiable. You’ll feel a lot better by studying up before you go to the dealership.

Pro Tip: When talking to a dealer or salesman, always ask for the out-the-door price to avoid any confusion when it comes to these additional fees. That way, you know what you’re really going to be paying.

Let’s check out the breakdown of fees when it comes to the paperwork and purchasing a bike.
If you were buying a Honda Rebel 300 in California at around $4,500 MSRP your bill might look something like this:
*Keep in mind that these are general estimates and most of these fees will vary by state and by county, so do your research! You can find information and pricing on titles and registration fees by state here.
Not entirely sure why you’re paying these fees? We’ve got it all covered!

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Dealer Fees: 5 Fees You Need To Pay Before You Walk Out The Door


  1. Destination Charge or Freight Fee

Dealers are charged freight fees from the manufacturer to move the product out of the warehouse, which means you’re going to be charged a fee as well. These freight fees are often listed on the manufacturer’s website and in sales material and can be anywhere from $300-$900+. Destination charges are ultimately determined by the value of the bike, almost like a tax, and are typically not negotiable.

  1. Setup/Prep Fee

The destination charge may cover the cost to get your bike to the dealer, but who’s going to put your bike together? Setup (or prep) fees are necessary to get your bike out of the crate, put together, and ready for you to ride.

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  1. Document “Doc” Fees

Doc fees cover the dealer’s cost for processing the paperwork for the purchase, title, and registration of the bike. Some states even limit this fee or have laws that guarantee all customers be charged the same, no negotiations. Doc fees can range anything from around $100 to $500+ depending on the state and where your dealer is located.    

  1. Tags/Title Fees

You can’t own a vehicle without a title! Which means yes, these charges are also mandatory. Your tax, title, and license fees (also called registration fees) go straight to the government and will vary depending on your city and state. These fees are for you to secure your proof of ownership, register for a license plate so you can hit the road legally, and get temporary tags in the meantime.   

Pro Tip: If you don’t pay these fees at the dealership, you’re going to have to go to your nearest DMV and pay them anyways, so they are saving you a trip here.


  1. Sales Tax  

Just like nearly everything else you buy, you’re going to be hit with a sales tax, which of course, varies by state. You can check out more information on the sales tax for your state here.
As we explained above, the MSRP, or list price, is not the out-the-door price that you’ll be paying for the bike, and that’s because of those taxes and fees. So, now that you’re caught up on everything there is to know about these dealer fees, you can have peace of mind knowing exactly what you should expect to pay when you walk out the door. Remember, a dealership may advertise a motorcycle for $8,000, but if it does not explicitly list setup fees, doc fees, taxes, and title/tags etc. you need to consider those fees in order to get an accurate OTD price.

Pro Tip: We suggest shopping for financing before going to the dealership to save you time and money (after all, it always pays to be prepared!). And remember to ALWAYS ask for an OTD price if you’re unsure!

Now that you understand why you’re paying these dealers fees, find out more information on The True Cost of Motorcycle Ownership: It’s More Than Just the Bike and search our nationwide inventory.

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