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How about this approach. New apparatus cost limit up front?

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  • How about this approach. New apparatus cost limit up front?

    What would be the result of requesting a new pumper bid, but providing the required specifications and price limit up front. We are likely to be awarded an AFG grant for a pumper and the grant amount will be public knowledge. We are required to spend the dollars equal to the grant amount plus our cost share. It really doesnt do the FEMA grant any good to create price competition. For example, if we have $200,000 to spend why would we want folks to compete on price if best bidding ends at $188,000, (all spec's met), will only result in requesting a few add ons to bring the price to the award amount of $200k. What would be wrong with performance/accessory/component type of requirements, AND where the vendor would submit a bid proposal based on the specifications, but knowing the cities max price up front, may be willing to provide additional performance/accessory/components greater than the basic requirements in an effort to obtain the bid. Would this work? The issue may be how to evaluate the benefit of something extra or bigger or more of.
    Hope this makes sense.

  • #2
    Not exactly sure how to answer your entire question but this is where I'd start. I'd sit down with the companies providing a bid and lay out your specs. Then I'd tell them, this is how much you have to work with. Keep it short, say right around 190k-195k. Then if you have any change-orders or add-ons, and you will, you can use the cushion amount to deal with those.

    I've helped spec out a few of my department's vehicles. I know on the last two, we've done exactly that. In the end, we spent our cushion money that we set aside for items that we either overlooked, wanted to upgrade or for equipment to be carried on the vehicle itself.

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    • #3
      I would highly suggest NOT going this route. The salesman will take that number and will do what they can to keep the price as low as possible. This is his incentive so that he can then reap the largest commission.
      My suggestion is this... Get a set truck spec of all the features that you want. Take that to each manufacturer for quoting and see what exceptions they may have... as well as the cost associated with those exceptions. You can then compare apples to apples (or as close to it as possible) and make a better decision. Doing this will allow you to be in control of pricing rather than the salesman.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by 93Cobra View Post
        I would highly suggest NOT going this route. The salesman will take that number and will do what they can to keep the price as low as possible. This is his incentive so that he can then reap the largest commission.
        My suggestion is this... Get a set truck spec of all the features that you want. Take that to each manufacturer for quoting and see what exceptions they may have... as well as the cost associated with those exceptions. You can then compare apples to apples (or as close to it as possible) and make a better decision. Doing this will allow you to be in control of pricing rather than the salesman.
        I totally disagree. Put your spec together, get a wish list of options and or upgrades to go with it, see what manufacturer can give you the highest quality truck that is best equipped to fit your budget. Don't make a mistake in buying a lesser quality truck because you "more stuff" with it. The grant is a blessing, get all the truck you can now and work on getting "stuff" later. By knowing the amount of your budget upfront will sometimes get a manufacturer to try and sweeten pot to insure they get the bid, it can work in your favor especially in these current economic times.

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        • #5
          Correct... you should have all that info up front, but NEVER, EVER tell a salesman that you have $XXX,XXX to spend. You will get taken advantage of every single time.

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          • #6
            I would have to agree with don't tell the salesman how much you have to spend. Write the spec for the truck you want and then see what the prices are. You can always trim stuff off if the price is more than you can afford.

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            • #7
              I do the specification writing for a truck dealer. I see lots of bids over the course of time. Why don't you want a vendor to know the price? If it's a AFG award, the price is already out there in the public domian. Those departments aren't getting screwed. By knowing the price (or at least a resonable price range) it stops having to create a specification way out of line. If I know you have $200K to buy a truck, it does me no good to bid $210K, unless that's the only price that covers all the things the department requests. If all the vendors know the price it limits being taken advantage of. We all know the price so we all have to be close to it or under it. Figuring out which bid suits the FD best is the responsibility of the end user. We have bid a truck twice to an AFG award winner whose grant was way below what they want on the truck. All the vendors knew that when they bid, but we can't just substitute a 4 x 2 chassis for the required 4 x 4 chassis. We live with want we get sent by the FD. On this particular truck the chassis made up 53% of the total cost of the truck. That doesn't leave a lot of room for a full size pumper body and profit. Had they (the FD) did some research before the grant was written they would have figured out to ask for more money. But if you ask for more money, you may not get the grant. So, what's the best answer?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by 93Cobra View Post
                Correct... you should have all that info up front, but NEVER, EVER tell a salesman that you have $XXX,XXX to spend. You will get taken advantage of every single time.
                Also, don't forget that the initial pricing sales reps generally give a customer are high estimates just in case the number gets back to a competitor. That and the fact that it looks better to come in lower than a quote rather than higher. Then they can say they really sharpened the pencil or begged the builder for a concession for their loyal and valued customer. If they say $200,000.00 initially and then bid $250,000.00 they look like a crook.

                I have always advised dealer reps to quote high and bid low for these very reasons.

                If you tell the sales reps you have $300,000.00 to spend do not be surprised if you receive four bids for $299,999.00. It is the nature of the beast. No sales rep likes to leave money on the table.

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                • #9
                  AFG grant funding is public knowledge. Any intelligent manufacture will know what we have to spend. As a reminder, AFG places limits on funding various types of apparatus, and generally wants the awarded FD to go Chevrolet, not Cadillac, thus they have funding limits.
                  That said, there seems to be opinions all over the place.
                  It seems logical, that if we have $200k to spend, then we dont want to have to trim down a $240k bid. Manufacturers would know what the limit is and perhaps in an effort to provide the best value and secure the sale may throw in some extra value somewhere in the performance/accessory/components area. If my specs only require a truck for $180k, I doubt a manufacturer would bid $199k and expect profit only to fill the margin. Other dealers will likely add in features which leave them a reasonable profit and boost our value in our vehicle.
                  At least thats my thinking.......but I've never ordered a new truck before.

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                  • #10
                    Every sales rep worth their salt within 500 miles of your location knows what you were awarded when the grants are posted. They also know that they have to make a difference in getting your confidence that he can sell you what you want within your budget.
                    As was mentioned above a commercial chassis will run right about 100k, a Custom starts at 140K. Then you have to get a pump, tank and a body to wrap it all in along with ladders ,hose, a deck gun, compartment space, and lets not forget all the required nfpa accessories such as an AED, seat belt warning systems, tire pressure monitoring, a black box computer, and lets not forget those fugly chevrons on the back.

                    Talk to the vendors in your area that have a program truck to offer as the engineering costs are spread out over many units. Then compare what they have to offer with the list of your requirements.

                    Ferrara, KME, Pierce, HME, Rosy all offer a program pumper line, as do some of the smaller regional builders. Most of them will fall within the pricing of the AFG grant. Your not going to get a custom high end truck within your budget limitations.

                    I see you were posting while I was typing.
                    You are correct the AFG folks are suppling the "BASIC" needs to make your jobs safer. They are not paying for parade trucks, just good safe new functional work trucks.
                    Anything will be better than Barney by a long shot. He really deserves retirement.
                    Last edited by islandfire03; 12-28-2010, 07:58 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Upfront Price Range...

                      This is exactly what we did when we ordered our last (2) Type 3 Brush Engines. Boise Mobile built a great Rig for our money. If I knew how to, I would post the pics of them here..... LOL.
                      "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

                      Life on the Truck (Quint) is good.....

                      Eat til you're sleepy..... Sleep til you're hungry..... And repeat.....

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 93Cobra View Post
                        Correct... you should have all that info up front, but NEVER, EVER tell a salesman that you have $XXX,XXX to spend. You will get taken advantage of every single time.
                        Not true. I used to be one of those salesman, and and never once took advantage of anyone. You have to remember, the guys selling the trucks need to make a decent profit off of the truck, because they're not going to sell hundreds of them per year. Everyone needs to make a living, and the brick and mortar shops need to pay their bills too. Is it nice to make a little more here and there? Of course... but by no means are they all crooks. That being said, yes, some are a little more shady than others.

                        The amount of your grant will be public knowledge, so there's no hiding that one. Here's what I would do: Request a quote from each manufacturer that you're considering requesting the most truck they can build for you, based around your "must have" parameters and the money you got from the grant, and your 5% match... don't let them know you have any extra (if that's even the case). Once you get those back, compare them, and see which ones are cutting corners or going the cheap route on everything. When it's time to go to bid, request the "must-haves", and then also request an itemized list of the options you would like along with the differences between your first round of quotes... as in, one manufacturer offered you H.O. Bostrom Secure-All seats, but another one offered you seats out of a 1988 Dodge Omni. This way you can really get the final word on where the cost differences are coming from. It may be a little more work for you, but you'll end up with the most truck in the long run.
                        Last edited by Tim1118; 12-30-2010, 02:05 PM. Reason: Added a little more info.
                        TruckCommittee.com

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                        • #13
                          Upfront Budget Number

                          If you’re buying a car, you don't spend a lot of time putting together a Mercedes Spec with a Chevy budget. Is a complete waste of time and no dealer in his right mind would spend a lot of time on you. Sit down with several fire truck dealers and give them your budget numbers and they will show you what they can do. Bidding is an expensive process for you and the dealers and most dealers are not going to spend much time with you when you have Champaign Tastes on a Beer Budget.

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                          • #14
                            Upfront Budget Number

                            I'm a rep for a small OEM, my territory is New England. You need to find a company and a dealer you TRUST. Then let them know how much you have to spend. There is nothing worse than doing specs, drawings, putting your best truck forward... and then finding out you were $100,000 over budget. You need to communicate with the company/dealer.

                            IF you find someone you trust, and you give them your budget number, they will tell you what you can afford. The TRUSTWORTHY dealer will facilitate the design, work hard for the dpeartment and come up with the best truck for the money (and still make thier proifit!)

                            I routinely will tell customers that they cannot afford us, or will have to buy less truck than they wanted if they want to purchase from us. When you build quality it makes no sense to do anything less. And no, you cynical guys out there, we are not all out to screw whomever we can.

                            The smart ones among us know that it's better to be honest and up front now, and reap the benefits later than to screw departments now and get a bad reputation that will follow you around.

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                            • #15
                              Yep..........

                              Originally posted by jrcarespfd View Post
                              I'm a rep for a small OEM, my territory is New England. You need to find a company and a dealer you TRUST. Then let them know how much you have to spend. There is nothing worse than doing specs, drawings, putting your best truck forward... and then finding out you were $100,000 over budget. You need to communicate with the company/dealer.

                              IF you find someone you trust, and you give them your budget number, they will tell you what you can afford. The TRUSTWORTHY dealer will facilitate the design, work hard for the dpeartment and come up with the best truck for the money (and still make their profit!)

                              I routinely will tell customers that they cannot afford us, or will have to buy less truck than they wanted if they want to purchase from us. When you build quality it makes no sense to do anything less. And no, you cynical guys out there, we are not all out to screw whomever we can.

                              The smart ones among us know that it's better to be honest and up front now, and reap the benefits later than to screw departments now and get a bad reputation that will follow you around.

                              Very well said. Your remarks pretty well sum the Sales person we bought our last 2 apparatus from. Honesty and integrity go a long way........
                              Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
                              In memory of
                              Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
                              Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

                              IACOJ Budget Analyst

                              I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

                              www.gdvfd18.com

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