Fine-Tune Remarketing Strategies to Get Top Dollar
There are steps you can take when purchasing a vehicle that will increase your fleet's resale value. Proactive maintenance, smart reconditioning and a good driver policy are also important factors.
Small fleets usually replace a only a few vehicles every cycle, so their fleet managers will typically trade in their used vehicles or offer to sell a vehicle to its driver. They may put a car or two on the back lot with a "for sale" sign on it, or place an ad in their local paper. Their remarketing channels are minimal.
"Managers of small fleets, in most cases, don't specialize in remarketing," says Tom Chelew, VP of Fleet Management for Enterprise. "When we meet with small fleet managers, they are often surprised at how much more they could potentially get for a well-maintained and cared-for vehicle that is sold at the right time."
The best-maintained vehicles fetch the highest prices, and the best way to offer a well-maintained vehicle is to make your drivers accountable. There are also many other ways to increase resale value. Chelew recommends various steps to follow throughout a fleet vehicle's lifecycle.
Make Purchases with an Eye toward Resale
- Compare the cost of series levels within a model as well as optional equipment. It may cost less to buy a lower-priced model and add the features you want than to purchase the upgraded model. "You can sell the vehicle for more at the end, but you didn't pay as much up front," says Chelew.
- Spend extra money on such items as seat covers, cargo mats, vinyl bed liners, side panels and proper shelving. Any items that reduce the appearance of wear and tear can help. Also, properly outfitted vehicles sell better.
- Choose standard vehicle colors-red, white, and silver-particularly if your fleet has larger vehicles such as pick-up trucks. With sedans, you can be more flexible, but the larger vehicles with standard colors are generally more attractive to a buyer.
- In hot or cold climates, do not cut corners on air conditioning or heating. In the Midwest and in New England, drivers may need optional equipment including rear window defrost and heated seats.
- Choose engine size carefully. Some fleet managers try to save money and reduce fuel costs by buying a six- versus an eight-cylinder engine. "Choose your engine for your true needs. Don't underpower or overpower it," says Chelew. "If the incorrect engine size is chosen, it can impact your residual values." A too-small engine used to haul heavy loads can lead to increased wear and tear, while a larger engine, such as a V-8 in a compact pickup, may be overkill.
- For signage, use vinyl stickers or wraps, or magnetic material. These types of adhesives allow for easy removal at resale time.