It stands to reason that all van fleet operators want to get the maximum price for their vehicles when selling them. And it’s pretty obvious that the way to do this is to present those vehicles in as clean and orderly a fashion as possible, so that buyers will bid for them ahead of dirtier more damaged examples.
But it is amazing how many sellers send their vans to auction damaged, without the correct paperwork and sometimes even with rubbish still on board.
With profit margins for many companies wafer-thin, there has never been a more important time to save every penny possible so this lax attitude to residual values amazes the auction experts, especially as there is plenty of help and advice on offer from the major players.
Duncan Ward, BCA’s general manager, commercial vehicles, says: “We are seeing increasing instances where waste such as batteries, concrete, building rubble, rubber tyres and wood are left in vehicles. The costs of disposals can range from £75 for a small load to upwards of £250 for large loads.
“For hazardous waste the costs can escalate again as they have to be handled and disposed of according to strict health and safety guidelines.
“Vendors focus very closely on the performance in the remarketing arena, but by sending vehicles full of waste and in effectively unsaleable condition, some are incurring spiralling waste disposal costs and delays that could be avoided.
“It is vital for owners and operators to make sure these costs are minimised and to keep up to date with this legislation.”
At Manheim Remarketing, staff have to clear the equivalent of 10 Olympic-sized swimming pools of rubbish from vans they sell every year.
Items left in vans include food waste, brochures and papers, building materials, protective clothing and trade waste.
James Davis, director of commercial vehicles at Manheim, says: “The issue of rubbish removal is serious and one that Manheim is particularly keen to draw attention to in order to drive up standards in our industry.
“Against our advice there are still vendors who instruct us to sell unprepared vehicles full of rubbish. Ultimately, someone has to pay to remove it. This should surely fall to the operator or individual who left it there in the first place.
“Traders benchmark a vendor’s stock against that of others. They are attracted to those vehicles that require the least work to sell on and expect vehicles to be prepared to an industry standard. Failure to take action could, in extreme cases, cost vendors and their reputations dearly.
“Consider the sale of a vehicle containing a discarded corporate branded uniform. If this were to fall into the wrong hands the outcome could be very serious.”
But there’s more to successful remarketing than simply making sure vans are clean before being sold.
The problem with commercial vehicles is that by their very nature, they tend to be used and abused during their working lives, so damage is inevitable and to a certain extent will be accepted by trade buyers.
So a florist who has been using vehicles for delivering bunches of flowers will expect to obtain better sale prices than, say, a builder who has been chucking bricks and concrete in the back end of his vehicles for three years.
But, according to Guy Pearce, sales director at the Fleet Auction Group, the secret of successful remarketing begins when fleet operators actually buy their vehicles.