Disposition and Remarketing: Top Strategies for Selling Fleet Vehicles and the Most Overlooked Aspect of Fleet Management
A top strategy for selling fleet vehicles starts years earlier with vehicle selection and continues with proper maintenance. Selecting the proper options, colors, and features when acquiring vehicles yields greater returns when selling vehicles at the end of their holding periods. For example, an extended cargo van costs $900 more initially. It will yield a $1,500 premium over a traditional van at resale. Picking the right model, color, and options are paramount. Maintenance, condition, and cleanliness have meaningful impact on resale as well. Properly maintaining a vehicle throughout the lifecycle will make your vehicle stand out from its peers and command a premium.
When to Sell
When it comes to selling a vehicle, timing is everything. The value of vehicles steadily decrease but not at an even rate through the holding period.
There are certain triggers during the lifecycle of a vehicle that cause a steeper decline in value, also known as a value cliff.
The vehicle should be sold before it hits specific “cliffs” where the value will drop significantly. If not, it must be kept for quite a while to recover from the step down in value. Value cliffs include mileage benchmarks (for example, when certain vehicles hit 100,000 miles) or a change in body style.
The fleet management plan should include expected holding periods for all categories of vehicles in your fleet. This is defined in years and miles. It is not an absolute, but is a guide. Certain vehicles retain their values better than others and have lower repair costs as they age. Therefore, these vehicles can be kept longer to minimize the total cost of ownership. In the example above, 100k was a value cliff for some vehicles. The mileage value cliff is different depending on the class of vehicle. Your fleet program should also evaluate the number of actual miles put on a vehicle each year versus the plan. If you have outliers where they are incurring significantly more or less than the average, you should consider fleet rebalancing © . This allows you to hold onto the vehicles for the maximum amount of years per your plan vs. running into excessive miles, which decreases the value when you want to sell.
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Seasonality also plays a factor in when to sell. In certain regions of the country, sports cars will fetch a much higher price in the spring than in the fall. If your fleet vehicles are attractive to the retail buyer, tax return time typically will drive up demand because buyers have their tax refunds and are ready to buy. Four-wheel drive vehicles are more in demand in fall than they are in spring.
Where to Sell
There is a multitude of options when deciding where to sell your fleet vehicles. Many companies opt to sell their vehicles to their employees, although problems arise with this method of disposition. Some companies may attempt to sell their vehicles on the private market. This is uncommon. Some companies list the vehicles on popular vehicle sale sites, but due to a variety of pitfalls, others avoid this method. Why? Administrative and time output, and the risk of a transaction gone bad. Selling on high demand vehicle sale sites is risky. Company representatives have to deal with strangers, coordinate test drives, and navigate payment methods for the sale. Issues with reconditioning also poses a problem: Who will perform reconditioning and de-lettering if needed and at what cost?
Many companies work with professional fleet management companies to remarket their vehicles, saving them time, money, and minimizing risk. Most fleet management companies have a list of preferred vendors they can work with to recondition vehicles for the most competitive price.
Fleet management companies have access to many resale channels including physical and online auctions all over the country, wholesalers, and used vehicle dealers. They can select the best channel to get top dollarand can sell vehicles much faster than those who do not have access to multiple channels.
When prepping your vehicles for resale, reconditioning your fleet can enhance demand. Taking time to make a final investment into your fleet can net you the most money at resale. Ways to recondition your vehicles include:
- Cleaning (a thorough detailing increases resale value)
- Repairing damages
- Removing equipment
- Restoring to like-new condition
- Paint touch-ups
- Proper wheel installation
Show potential buyers the vehicles were properly cared for and maintained while in your possession. Finally, make sure to follow steps for proper de-identification to avoid damage.
Maximizing Resale Value
Whether you are in the purchasing period, ownership period, or preparing to sell, there are fleet services that can pay off. Select a fleet management company that knows the market and can help position the vehicles for sale for the highest return saving you time, effort, and money.