When your trucks show high wear and tear, your resale value will decline, but some trucks will...

When your trucks show high wear and tear, your resale value will decline, but some trucks will have damage regardless.

Photo: Gettyimages.com/roman023

When a fleet decides to sell a fleet asset, it wants to get top dollar. A little bit of work before it goes on the market and good care during the life of the truck can up those chances significantly.

These seven tips can help you get ready to sell:

1. Choose a Common Exterior Truck Color

Sometimes a truck’s resale value goes back to the choices made when it was first acquired. One of those choices is the exterior color.

While a bright paint job may help your brand stand out to the public, a loud exterior can also make buyers shy away from choosing your truck, so purchasing a common color in the first place can help trucks sell.

An alternative to choosing a non-traditional color is to use a vehicle wrap that includes the desired colors and branding elements — although fleets should be warned that if the wrap is difficult to remove, you’ll still need to spring for a paint job.

If brand awareness and on-road marketing are lucrative, opting to repaint a truck before you sell it may be the better investment. In any case, it’s wise to de-identify the truck, so buyers don’t see it as a hassle that other non-branded trucks don’t present.

2. Don’t Allow Smoking in Fleet Trucks

The condition of the interior matters, too — and that includes the smell, not just the appearance. Smoke is one odor that can be tough to get rid of completely, so the only way to avoid that sales deterrent is not to allow smoking in the truck in the first place. This can also help prevent burn marks.

Some operators may also bring their pets along for the ride, contributing to the smell and hard-to-remove pet hair that inhibits a sale.

3. Reduce Signs of Wear-and-Tear on Units

Of course, the appearance of the interior still matters.

While the truck is in your possession, keep the inside clean and take measures to reduce signs of wear. Consistent detailing or seat covers can help avoid built-up dirt, debris, and damage to the interior over time.

“If owners have reason to sell their equipment, clean used trucks that are in usable order always bring more money than ones that are not,” said Brian Daniels, director of sales and distribution at Daimler Trucks Remarketing Corp. “As a practice, rough trucks hold less value.”  

One way to ensure a higher resale value is by selecting trucks with a common color, such as white.

One way to ensure a higher resale value is by selecting trucks with a common color, such as white.

Photo: Gettyimages.com/fullvalue

4. Do the Maintenance and Keep the Paperwork

If you don’t have a regular maintenance schedule, consider it an investment in avoiding costly repairs, extending the lifecycle, and increasing resale value.

Maintaining trucks properly and saving the documentation of those services can prove to a buyer that your truck is in excellent running condition — and it edges out a seemingly similar truck that doesn’t have the paperwork.

5. Stand Out for the Right Reasons

Depending on the unit you’re selling, it may be one in a sea of similar units, so you’ll need to find a way to ensure it gets noticed.

“The make, model, year, mileage, and condition are probably the biggest factors impacting resale values, so make sure your truck stands out for the right reasons,” said Rob Slavin, senior valuation analyst at Ritchie Bros. “The number of available like-units may also impact the sale of your item.”

Finding ways to make a truck more attractive than the competition can help it sell faster and at a better return. Conversely, your unit may be the hard-to-find gem with precisely the right equipment another fleet can’t live without. Either way, highlighting it for its best features can help attract the highest-paying bidder.

“Often, a work truck is specified or equipped with purpose-built equipment,” said Daniels of Daimler Trucks Remarketing Corp. “The market looks for what is current.” 

Daniels pointed to fuel efficiency, safety features, and automated manual transmissions as features to highlight.

“With fewer drivers getting CDLs that know how to drive a manual transmission, automated manual transmissions are the best spec to have in a truck,” he said. “Safety equipment, such as collision mitigation and lane departure warning, is becoming a desired feature by fleets and insurance companies. Any truck that makes money by the mile needs to be as fuel efficient as possible, so address fuel efficiency options and aerodynamics.”If you’ve invested in specialized equipment, document ways it has yielded positive outcomes for your business along the way, then use those as selling points.

6. Present a Prize, not a Project

If your units have any obvious items needing repair, it can be a big turnoff for buyers. So, if your truck has something as small as a broken side mirror and you think, “Why fix it if I’m only going to sell it?” ditch that mentality. Any needed repair can look like work to the buyer and turn them away from considering your asset.

“Spend time getting your truck ready for sale. I suggest you clean and detail the truck, make sure it has been recently serviced, repair or replace broken or worn parts as needed, and provide service records or history,” advised Slavin of Ritchie Bros. “Your goal should be to attract end users to get a maximum return — and end-users generally aren’t looking for a project — they want a truck ready to go to work!”

7. Carve Out Technician Time & Plan for Parts Timelines

Nick Lombardo, purchasing & wholesale manager for Arrow Truck Sales and a Used Truck Association board member, also recommended repairs but warns of how improper planning for timelines can make fleets decide otherwise.

“Repair shops are all super busy and shorthanded, and parts availability is still short in some cases. Your mechanics are focused on keeping the trucks that are hauling freight running, so the driver can earn revenue. They’re not worried so much about the truck you’re selling that needs a windshield or something else, and they can’t get to it for four or five, six weeks. Then the fleet owner is going to resort to just selling it as it is,” Lombardo said.

If a truck needs to be sent out for repair, Lombardo said that takes additional time in today’s environment.

“What would normally take a week to two weeks to get a truck ready may take a month, depending on parts availability,” he said.

Properly prioritizing repairs and planning for parts can help intended repairs stay on track.

What is the top maintenance-related factor to worry about when resale is on your mind? What should you avoid spending money on? What matters the most? Maintain your work trucks with resale in mind by following these tips. And stay update on all resale and remarketing content by signing up for our newsletters today!

Originally posted on Work Truck Online

About the author
Shelley Mika

Shelley Mika

Freelance Writer

Shelley Mika is a freelance writer for Bobit Business Media. She writes regularly for Government Fleet and Work Truck magazines.

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