March 2011, Business Fleet - Feature
7 Tenets of a Good Fleet Dealer
The best fleet dealers offer fair pricing, dedicated staff and multiple options for selection, trade-in and upfitting. Does your dealership make the grade?
Knowing that out-of-service vehicles represent lost revenue for their customers, many dealers offer dedicated service bays or priority scheduling for fleet-vehicle repairs.
6. The Service Priority
Fleet dealers understand that out-of-service vehicles mean lost revenue. Thus they should bend over backward to get fleet vehicles in and out as quickly as possible. Most fleet dealers offer priority servicing for fleet customers and/or a dedicated bay, as well as appropriate replacement transportation during the repair.
For out-of-state drivers, good fleet dealers will offer factory fleet centralized billing programs for service and parts.
“Go to the fleet department and find out who the fleet service advisor is,” Thompson recommends. “Ask about extended service hours and what type of alternate transportation is available.”
7. Help on Resale
When it comes to resale, there are a few options for the small fleet that uses a fleet dealer. The first step is to get the vehicle appraised. Fleet dealers should do this regardless of whether they will take the vehicle on trade-in.
“We’ve often asked our dealer how much he’d give us for a vehicle and how much they’d sell it for,” says Sfreddo. “And then we’ve sold it ourselves.”
Thompson advises fellow small fleet customers to expect a fair market price dictated by auction values. Dealers understand that fleet customers may choose to sell the vehicle themselves. Dealers will take the vehicles as trade-ins but they generally do not run the vehicles through auction for fleet customers. Most dealers have wholesale brokers who will bid on the vehicles.
For out-of-state drivers, the fleet dealer should have a way to trade in the vehicle for a new one.
Some of the larger fleet dealers have programs set up to allow the small fleet customer to sell used vehicles directly to employees via an Internet auction.