Vehicle Acquisition and Disposal

Sound decisions come from good intelligence and weighing a number of requisite factors


Evaluating and pricing equipment to determine the true value is important before deciding to trade, wholesale, retail or auction, says CAFM. Consider the quantity and pricing of similar trucks currently in the marketplace. This will impact the value of your trades."

EYE APPEAL

"Regardless of how a vehicle is disposed of, vehicle appearance and condition can pay big dividends by improving both its value and sales appeal," says Jim Gleason, a veteran commercial truck sales professional and equipment broker based in Micco, FL. "It is best to maintain a vehicle's appearance by taking good care of the vehicle with regular preventive maintenance and automotive hygiene throughout its use, rather than having to invest time and money into cleaning it up at replacement time.

"The visual appearance of a vehicle makes the most lasting impression," he gores on. "That old expression - ‘eye appeal is buy appeal' - is true. Some buyers will overlook certain mechanical defects if they like the look of the vehicle."

Improving vehicle appearance can be as simple are cleaning out the interior; repairing ripped seats; removing stains from carpets and seats; making sure there are no missing knobs and buttons; removing stickers and decals; and repairing or replacing cracked windows and windshields, Gleason says.

The exterior should be washed and detailed, the engine compartment cleaned, tires should match and have ample tread depth and sound casings, and on sleeper tractors, the mattress should be replaced with a new one, adds Eddie Walker, a long-time used truck sales professional and owner of the Best Used Trucks used truck dealership in Fort Worth, TX.

Additionally, Walker and Gleason advise making all needed repairs so that any commercial vehicle can pass a U.S. DOT safety inspection, and having all service, maintenance and repair records for each vehicle. They also say fleets might consider vehicle adding warranties to equipment for sale as a way to increase appeal and value.

There are several providers that offer truck engine and powertrain warranties, including National Truck Protection, Premium 2000+ and American Truck Protection.

TRADE TERMS

It is important to decide upon trade terms and conditions for vehicles that are to be traded or returned, says Marty Crawford, president of the Used Truck Association (UTA) and senior account manager for dealer sales development at Arrow Truck Sales, a used truck dealer with locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.

"Many times the maintenance department is not told in what condition the trucks are to be traded or sold, and this slows the process and causes great confusion between the maintenance department and management, often placing the maintenance department in the middle without authority to correct the problem," he explains.

The UTA - an impartial organization comprised of used truck professionals and associated businesses committed to strengthening the used truck industry - has created a set of guidelines for industry-standard trade terms and conditions for establishing the condition of a used truck, as agreed to by both seller and buyer. Meant to reduce confusion in the marketplace, the guideline covers engines, drivetrains, brakes, tires, frame, cabs, sleepers and bodies.

Crawford suggests not having potential buyers or resellers inspect vehicles to be sold or traded-in trucks until they have been repaired, as most buyers or sellers won't pay for the vehicles until they are in "trade terms."

Companies often used their trades as partial payment for the new trucks, he says. If the trades are not ready, this can slow the delivery on the new trucks.

Don't overlook establishing when the buyer will remove the used vehicles, adds Crawford. Some buyers will leave vehicles on the company's lot until they are sold, which could be months later. "It is best to have a stated schedule for removal."

VEHICLE RECONDITIONING

Fleet managers should carefully weigh the costs involved with "reconditioning" against the costs of a replacement unit, advises CAFM. Its definition of reconditioning is not repairing parts or systems that are defective, but rather replacing a set number of components and systems to bring the vehicle back to like-new standards. This may involve replacing some components that appear to be functioning perfectly or strictly performing cosmetic reconditioning.

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