Through the Eyes Of the Bold, Part 7

As I stated in Part 4 of this series, I would come back to stocking color and some of the special attention and issues that surround it.

When it comes to selling color, you cannot leave this little talk out. It must be included or there will be trouble down the road. Here's the talk: "Mr. Jones, when it comes to color on commercial trucks with bodies, every effort to match the paint is taken; however, it is impossible to match it exactly. Here's why. The metal on the chassis and the metal on the body are two different thicknesses, and they have different shapes. The chassis is painted at the factory under the most ideal conditions possible since the assembly line is constantly moving. The factory also uses less paint as a result of the ideal conditions. So, on a pickup at the factory, the cab can match the body perfectly because the shapes match, the metal is the same, it has the same under treatments and the same ideal paint conditions. When the commercial body is painted, these conditions do not and cannot exist. At certain angles and in certain light, you may notice some differences and this is why. All in all, our customers are very satisfied with their colored trucks."

The reason for this little talk is called taken a lemon and making lemonade. If this talk is done up front, the likelihood of having a paint issue down the road is very slim. If the talk is not done, the likelihood of a paint issue is extremely high. Trust me. I've learned this well. Once you make the statement, it should make perfect sense to the customer. Feel free to reword that slightly, but keep the same message in a similar presentation.

It is usually a well-meaning friend that points out that the paint doesn't match exactly. When the customer has had this talk, they handle this situation with ease, repeating essentially the talk I gave you. All is well then. Without the talk, here is big trouble.

The same paint differences apply to white, but it is just that you can't easily see them. I assure you, that if you look hard enough, you will see differences from the cab to the body on all of your white units. The more color, the more it can be seen.

That is all about your customer. Now, let's deal with the body company that painted the truck. I suggest you have high expectations of quality, but remember that perfection is not possible under these conditions. When you order a colored unit, look it over carefully on arrival for any issues that need to be addressed. Ask them to do a much more thorough job at their plant prior to shipment in examining it themselves. Build a strong relationship on doing colored units with those select body companies you've chosen. That will make a large difference.

You will need to negotiate paint pricing with your body company partners. Some companies charge an exorbitant amount of money to do the other color paint. Part of the reason in their mind is higher warranty claims. This won't happen with you because of your disclosure up front with your customers. You might even consider that 'talk' being put on paper for a customer to take home.

When a body company is painting a non-metallic color, you should be able to negotiate a deal where the paint cost is $300-500 (or less) higher from the standard white. That is a reasonable amount. When it comes to metallic, some body companies will sublet the job to an associate vendor, so the cost is higher. Even so, I don't think it should go higher than $1500 and I think $1000 would be great. Many body companies could do that because they would keep the job in house. So, when you are building your business and including color, you need to negotiate a deal and that may determine who your main body companies are. The ones who are taking care of you and your business best should deserve the majority of your business. You need to be partners in this.

When you order a black non-metallic painted chassis and have a Contractor body on it, to have the boxes, bed rail and headboard painted black should be no charge at best or about $100 maximum. There is no good reason to charge extra for the color on this body in this color.

Just because non-metallic is less cost, don't stock only non-metallic colors. The customer will pay the amount without any trouble. Get it out of your mind. They want what they want and the cost is secondary. Most real price objections are in your head first.

Sometimes it is good to paint the rack black and have some contrast. If the rack is mounted on the inside edge of the service body as a straight leg forklift loadable rack is generally mounted, painting it black works very nicely. When the rack is mounted to the outside edge of the body, it doesn't work very well. Not painting the rack the body color can save you a bit in your cost, so when that makes sense, take advantage of it. Racks get scratched easily, so having it black is another advantage for quick and easy touch up. On colored units you may find yourself ordering more straight leg inside mount racks.

Well, that's pretty much the extent of the issues. The biggest issue is how you handle the explanation up front of the color differences between the body and the cab. Get that right and it will serve you very well. Take advantage of the larger profit opportunities that exist in colored trucks.

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