Through the Eyes Of the Bold, Part 10

As we continue discussing the inventory mix body by body, today the Flatbed is next in line. It is one of the most versatile bodies.

  • Contractor Body 10-15%
  • Combo Body 5-10%
  • Flatbed 20-30%
  • Service Bodies 30-45%
  • Plumber Bodies 5-10%
  • Van Bodies 15-25%
  • Dumps 5-10%
  • Other Bodies 5-10%

Since flatbed is one of the most versatile bodies, it deserves a good selection of models. Here again, at most dealerships, you will find most of the flatbeds in stock are 12'. The dealer will stock different trucks underneath, but the bodies are the much the same. I'll see a dealer with as many as 10 flatbeds in stock and have 9 of them be 12' models. Once again, there is a high percentage of 450 and 550 in regular cab and crew cab, 2 and 4 wheel drive. Boring, ineffective and doesn't represent the market at all. I think it is just a lack of creativity or fear.

So, let's get over that and I'll tell you what I think will help you make more sales and make more money. First of all, the plain Flatbed is not a money maker. When you add features to it, that changes. The gross profit on a Contractor Body is somewhat higher (or should be) than the Flatbed, and the Contractor Body is just a fancy Flatbed in reality. So, when you add features that are useful to a customer, they will pay more money for it because it deserves more money. So, we want some plain Flatbeds that we will probably use as price leaders, but most of our Flatbeds need some accessories or changes because we want to make some good profits.

I will continue to use the smaller dealer stocking 25 upfits as our example. Based on the formula, the range is 20-30%. We will use 24% for this example and that will be 6 units.

I will have to begin again with the gas 350 as our main player in this mix. Since a Flatbed is designed and used in picking things up, carrying them somewhere, and taking them off, the Flatbed is not loaded all the time and rarely loaded to capacity. I am far less concerned about overloading on a Flatbed for that reason. On the Ford F350 V8 with a 12' flatbed, the cargo capacity is right at about 5,000 lbs. in round numbers. That is a lot of weight. It would be rare to carry more on this size flatbed, but if they needed it, there is still the 450 and 550.

Next, there are different kinds of Flatbeds. There are Flatbeds with wood decks, steel decks, steel over wood, aluminum Flatbeds. Aluminum has some advantage in that it is lighter, so you can carry more payload. It will last for a long, long time with minimal maintenance as well. It does cost more, but it is worth more. So, out of 6 units, I am stocking a 12' Aluminum Flatbed. I have a preference for ProTech's Flatbed, but Intercontinental makes a good one and there are others available. It will have some matching underbed boxes, a hitch, a tapered headboard and we will buff the siderails so they have a shine to them. The chassis will have Alcoa wheels. Next, I want two price leaders to use as a draw. Those will be 350 with V8 gas and both are 12' models with no other options, not even a hitch.

Next, I want a 16' Stakebed on an F450 V10 Gas 120" CA with underbed boxes and hitch (a 14' on a 108" CA would work as well). Next, a super cab dually 350 with a 9' Flatbed with a tapered headboard, short contractor style gates 12" max, hitch and underbed boxes. This unit will also have a tapered leg forklift loadable rack. The last unit will be 10' Flatbed with steel overlay over the wood bed with a hitch and this will go on a regular cab 350 diesel.

Now that is a good mix of things that you can show your prospects. It offers a number of different solutions that will bring gross. You can find all the 450 diesel 12' units you want in an hour. Use your own creativity in mixing this mix up a bit. This is my suggestion, but you can modify it. I suggest that you just keep in mind the overall goal and the strategy of selling more of them by stocking more gas rigs. Have different lengths. Don't just stock the same old 12' bodies on different chassis, stock different flatbeds. The Aluminum bed will give you a good return and is a wonderful eye-catching display piece, especially with the polished side rails and the Alcoa wheels.

When we get to the Dump bodies, this will give us even more of a creative mix. Be bold and try some new things.

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