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May 2010, Business Fleet - Cover Story

Get More for Your Truck

by - Also by this author

SHARING TOOLS        | Print Subscribe

This old workhorse may put $1,000 back in your pocket if you sold it to a dealer or broker. But with minimum remarketing effort, you could substantially increase your ROI.

So it's time to retire that half-ton with the utility body and some hard miles.

"If it's a trade-in situation, a lot of times we'll just take what the dealer offers," says George White of Reynolds Asphalt and Construction Co. in Euless, Texas. "The owner of our company is not interested in what we can get out of them; he just wants to get rid of them."

This is a common situation for a small fleet, especially for a truck with a vocation-specific upfit. That's OK, because the workhorse is paid for and its use has been taken.

But you could be getting a better return on your investment by understanding the truck's true value and investigating alternative remarketing options.

Truck guidebooks include adds for common equipment such as dump, refrigerated, stake bed, flatbed and rollback bodies, though they don’t value the more specific utility bodies. NADA’s Official Commercial Truck Guide offers an online “Mini Pack” of three values for $25.

Know the Value: Guidebooks

Just as you wouldn't sell a passenger car without knowing its value, you should have at least a basic understanding of what your truck is worth. The problem is, unlike a Toyota Camry, a truck can be configured a thousand different ways - from contractor, utility, stakebed, refrigerated or dump bodies to vans with interiors for HVAC, telecom, locksmiths, electricians and many more.

Truck Blue Book (truckbluebook.com), Black Book (blackbookusa.com) and NADA (nada.com/b2b) produce printed and online valuation guides for medium- and heavy-duty trucks that include adds for common equipment, though they are not brand specific and do not include highly specified bodies. All three guides are updated monthly and provide retail, loan/finance and wholesale values with vehicle make, mileage, condition, option and configuration adjustments.

One way to value a specific body is to price the cab and chassis, with appropriate options, and then depreciate the cost of the body from new along with the truck, says Chris Visser, editor of ATD/NADA's Official Commercial Truck Guide. Another option is to call the body maker directly for its idea of the value, Visser says.

Truck Blue Book costs $340 for a one-year, online subscription; Black Book's Official Medium and Heavy Duty Truck and Trailer Guide costs $174 per year. The NADA Commercial Truck Guide will run you $300 for 850 valuations. While these guides may not be cost effective for small fleets, NADA offers an online "Mini Pack" of three values for $25.

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