Whether it's buying or selling, building firms can get a great deal at auction, says Duncan Ward of CBA.
All good building firms know the importance of having reliable, high quality vehicles. The van may be just another tool of the builder's trade, but it is also a mobile billboard and a reflection of the business itself. Arrive to give a quote in a tired and wheezing clapped out panel van and the customer might just go elsewhere.
Any shrewd business will be looking for the best deal when buying a commercial vehicle, as well as finding a quick and efficient way to sell their old one. But the challenge is how to do this without it taking an inordinate amount of time whilst making sure you get the best possible deal.
If you are buying you could look at a range of stock from different manufacturers. If you are selling, a private sale can be a time-consuming and often fruitless task, while retail dealers rarely want older stock.
However, there is one avenue that is good for buying and selling and offers a professional service - vehicle auctions. Auctions offer both a wide variety of vehicles and good value for the buyer. Plus they take the stress out of the situation for sellers.
Selling business vehicles
Once the decision has been taken to sell a vehicle, it’s important to do it quickly – the longer the process takes, the further the van will devalue. Finding the right method to market your old commercial vehicle is crucial and involves more than just sticking a ‘For Sale’ sign in the window and hoping for the best.
One of the easiest and quickest routes to sell is through auction. The process is hassle free and water-tight, with the auction company handling all the pre-sale marketing, appraisal and valuation, vehicle preparation and the transaction itself. This leaves you to get on with running your business and gets cash back to the bottom line within a few working days.
Going, Going, Gone
Sellers need to deliver their van to auction with all the relevant paperwork, including registration details, MOT and service history. Alternatively, some companies will collect the vehicle from you for a small fee. Vendors then need to complete an entry form, which is a legally binding document, giving the auctioneer permission to sell the vehicle on your behalf and confirming its details and specifications.
A good auction house will provide information and advice on the price, as well as offering a range of pre-sale preparation services to help the van sell for the best possible price on the day. These include taking off decals and other branding, valeting and repairing any minor dents and scratches.
Choose an auction house that will market the vehicle using a variety of channels such as searchable online catalogues, emarketing and even SMS messaging. And make sure the company will take care of payments and the VAT element. After it is sold you will be sent a cheque - less the commission and charges - in a few working days.
Selling at auction saves a lot of precious time and hassle compared to selling privately, making it the ideal solution for a busy company.
A wide choice of vehicles to buy
Of course, the flip side of disposing of old work vehicles is finding their replacement. When buying vehicles for business – whether they are cars or small vans - the majority of builders want value for money, reliability and a vehicle that suits their specific business needs. Deciding on what to buy and sorting out finances is relatively easy, but choosing where to buy from is trickier. Buying at auction can be the best way for a building company to source a good quality, well-priced vehicle.
Building firms will find plenty of commercial vehicles to choose from at auction and it is a simple solution that can save a considerable amount of time, especially when compared with searching for what’s available elsewhere.
Know what you want
Be prepared by getting a sneak preview of what’s on offer by going online and looking at a pre-sale catalogue. For example, BCA offers a free online stock locator so if there is a specific type of van you are after, you can see when the next examples will be sold. Then it’s just a question of getting to the auction to get the vehicle you need.
Arrive in good time on the morning of the sale, especially if you are looking for a specific vehicle. Select a couple of ‘back-ups’. Then if you’re unlucky in bidding for your first vehicle, you still have a chance with your subsequent choices.
From a seller’s point of view, auctions provide an efficient and quick way to sell, with generally all commercial vehicles ‘sold as seen’. So it is crucial to give the vehicle you are interested in a thorough inspection before the auction starts. Checking the overall visible condition is up to you, so look for damage on the panels and check the interior load-space, for example. All these factors are ‘sold as seen’, so take every opportunity to examine prior to entering the auction hall.
Then it’s just down to getting your bidding right. Try not to get too caught up in the moment! Remember, you are there to buy the vehicle you need for the best price possible. And if bidding doesn’t reach the reserve value set by the seller, the vehicle will be sold provisionally to the top bidder. So you could get a great deal on your next vehicle.
So whether selling old work vehicles, or looking for the next additions to the company fleet, an auction could save both time and money.
For more information
For more information on the latest sales visit:
The BCA commercial stock locator is at