Keeping It Clean and Other Inventory Maintenance

In my travels to many dealers, I see that the commercial truck inventory does not get cleaned like the rest of the inventory. The mobile car wash team just doesn't do the same job and it is probably because the commercial truck is larger and a bit more challenging to get clean--and, it may also be because they have never been instructed on how to clean them. A clean vehicle regardless of type helps a great deal to make the sale, so it is worth the extra effort to make sure that the commercial trucks get cared for.

I also have seen many small things that should be fixed to make the truck more saleable; things like paint runs, rust showing in spots, drip stains, faded wood on flatbeds, warped wood on flatbeds, trash in the back of service bodies, dead batteries, no fuel.

Here are a few tips that might help:
  • Instruct the wash team to make sure and wash off the floor of the bed in all the service bodies, flatbeds and dump bodies. If this costs extra (and that is reasonable), it will be worth the difference. They should be washing out the floor of the pickup truck beds as well. Any part of the truck that the prospect can see should be cleaned. Even the side rails of the frame should be cleaned periodically since they show. It is a good idea to raise the dumps from time to time and clean the hoist and sub frame too.
  • Keep the glass clean. The windows tend to get coated with vinyl sweat faster in the commercial truck, so the windows should be cleaned once or twice a month depending on the time of year. In the summer, it might be once a week.
  • Not a clean idea, but surely a great one: make sure there is always sufficient fuel for a good long demo ride or two or three.
  • Flatbed gates and floors made of wood. A lot of companies may use wood and put a coat or two of linseed oil or stain to help preserve the look. After a couple of months in the open air on the lot, the wood begins to change color and look dingy. This is an easy fix. If it is linseed oil, just keep a gallon of that product with the detail department and reapply it as needed. You may have to take some sandpaper and just rough the surface slightly prior to applying the linseed oil. If it is stain, it is probably easier, just apply another coat of stain to keep the gates and/or floor looking good. In the case of some flatbeds where the wood or steel floor is painted and the paint begins to peel, it will take more effort to deal with this, but it will be worth paying attention to it.
  • It is a good idea to reapply tire dressing from time to time especially if it was used when the truck was first detailed.
  • I highly recommend that you do not allow the detail department to apply the liquid vinyl treatment to any of the vinyl flooring or steering wheel. These products are meant to make it shine and leave a slick residue that is very slippery and dangerous. Just cleaning is sufficient and preferred. If any product like that is needed to get the vinyl clean, make sure it is wiped off so that there is no residue.
  • If you notice any rust anywhere--especially on a white body--it should be dealt with right away. Sometimes with a commercial truck, a small wire brush and a can of spray paint can do wonders quickly.
  • Paint sags or runs. These should be handled at the time of check in if possible, but if one is found later, get it taken care of right away.
  • Under the hood. With dust and wind, it is easy for the engine compartment to get pretty dusty. Have the mobile wash hit the engine compartment every once in a while to keep it clean. A new vehicle should look new whether it is a Corvette or a F450 Combo Body.
  • Dead batteries. Just like on the main lot, dead batteries can be very frustrating when a prospect is standing there. Start the trucks every few days just like they do on the retail lot (another good reason to make sure there is sufficient fuel). If dumps are put up in the air, disconnect the dump up light switch.

Making sure these small things get the focus they deserve will make a guaranteed return on the investment required to get them done. Get your body companies involved in helping you make sure each truck is saleable and looking good. Most of them will be happy to help you because it also helps them. It's not an occasional thought, but a strategy.

1 comment:

Inventory POS System said...

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