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Haggling with a used equipment broker?

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  • Haggling with a used equipment broker?

    We have found a used fire engine that we would very much like but of course it costs too much. I would like to know what kind of technique I should use in haggling with the broker who is selling it. My thought is to start with roughly 60% of asking price or even less, how low should I go? And are there any other tips anyone can give regarding getting it for as cheap as I can.


  • #2
    The first thing I would do is try to determine what market value of the truck is. Since there is not a "blue book" for fire trucks, at least not that I have seen, it can be tricky. If you can find examples of similar trucks that have sold for less, that might give you some ammunition.

    I'm kind of bored. If you want, post some spec's of the truck and I'll help you do some checking around.
    Jeremy Quist
    Laurel, NE

    Not the end of the earth, but you can see clods falling off from here.


    • #3


      • #4
        I am one of those used apparatus folks you mentioned and I have an honest suggestion for you.

        Why don't you look for a unit that is in your price range?

        Its much easier to be fair to everyone involved and be direct and honest and upfront than try to find a way to get something at a lesser value.

        I want you to think for a second about what you asked and how different it is from the basic mission of the fire service.

        Honesty and integrity go both ways. You'll get more respect if you give the dealer and the selling fire department a fair shake, instead of trying to turn this into an episode of Let's Make a DEAL.

        Just ask the dealer what the bottom dollar on the unit is and if its not in your range, look for another unit.


        • #5
          It would not be right to the taxpayers who pay my salary to not get the lowest possible price for something I am going to be buying with THEIR money.

          You don't mean to tell me you get asking price for everything you sell?



          • #6
            Well obviously we have different values and core beliefs. You are entitled to yours and I'll stick with mine.

            Using the logic that you used, every department would always buy everything on low bid and price alone, because its the taxpayers money. In fact, using the same logic, companies selling equipment to the fire service shouldn't make a profit because the equipment is for such a noble cause, right?

            See how long you would have anyone around to make anything for our departments if there was no profit in the mix.

            There are hundreds of threads on here about the poor quality of items bought on low bid alone. I'm happy that my department buys the vehicles we want, rather than accepting low bid because its taxpayer money.

            When price is the deciding factor, nobody wins.

            I know I won't sell units to everyone, but the customers I've sold to know they paid me a fair price and got a good unit. When you get the price of something down to the point that nobody makes anything, there is no room to stand behind the product.

            As far as asking price, my policy has always been to sell the units at the advertised price. Once you open the door to dickering on price, do you really know if YOU got the best price? How do you know that the next person in line wouldn't be a better negotiator and get a lower price? Hmmm.

            Oh, one other key factor, while you are trying to get the price down, another department will probably see the value of that unit and come in and buy it at close to asking price. Then your negotiating tactic leaves you empty handed.

            But anyway, they sell vanilla and chocolate because everyone doesn't agree on flavors. The world would be boring if we all agreed on everything.

            I wish you the best and hope the unit serves your needs. We're all doing this for the same reason and we are allowed to view things differently. Be safe.


            • #7
              Certainly, if they don't want to haggle then they can say "no, price is fixed." And I will walk away because it ain't worth what they have posted. But that is "asking price" straight from the company. When they use a phrase like that it is open to negotiation. If it just said "price" I would still try but if they said "no" then that is that. That is all you've got to do. They don't have to sell it for no profit if they don't want to. And besides they are probably selling it on commission anyway. So it is really up to the owner.



              • #8

                Don't take the comments too seriously - as I would bet every broker prices the rigs at different levels. The broker we use prices the rigs fairly, and they usually sell fairly quickly. This is what we want, the rig out the door and some money for it, and we usually load the thing up with enough extra equipment that the department buying it gets a heck of a deal.

                Having said that though, I see brokers listing some used rigs as such ridiculously high prices, you might as well buy new. Two or three year old rigs that are priced very close to new prices. Yeah, you'll have your truck instantly, but it won't be new, and it won't be your custom rig.

                I don't think it can hurt to negotiate price. If the broker doesn't want to sell it lower than his asking price, he can say no. I had an offer on a demo - I couldn't go that low, does that mean that the customer hates me? I don't think so, but he's acting in his department's best interest by trying to get the absolute best price for the rig.

                Why would departments solicit bids for new rigs if they weren't responsible for getting the best bang for the buck? We aren't obligated to buy low bid, but I'm certainly not going to let my preferred builder be the only proposal. Might as well walk around in pants with an a**-flap, for easy access.
                Last edited by npfd801; 09-14-2006, 01:46 AM.
                "Share your knowledge - it's a way to achieve immortality." - Stolen from Chase Sargent's Buddy to Boss program


                • #9
                  Bingo, you finally hit the nail on the head!

                  The pricing is really set by the selling department, not the broker. So those ridiculously over-priced units....the broker didn't set the price, the SELLERS did. Who are the sellers? Another fire department.

                  People call me up all day wanting pie in the sky numbers for their used units. Its not my fault if they want too much. In my case I am actually a dealer so I buy the units, and the ones that are not priced right, I pass on buying them. But a broker has no choice and has to list the vehicle.

                  And the bulk of the money goes back to the selling department. The broker is only getting a small percentage of the total sale.

                  So my biggest issue with the original posters premise about getting the broker down in price was that this would result in the department selling the unit would get less money to offset the purchase of the new unit.

                  So who really gets screwed in the end, not the broker, but another FD! Great, one FD screws another...not exactly brothers helping brothers. Which was my whole point.

                  Your department sounds like they got it just right, price the equipment just right, get rid of stuff you are never gonna use and let them go.


                  • #10
                    I'm with Birken on this. Everything we buy is with the taxpayers dollars. To not try and get a better price would be foolish and will not sit well with most taxpayers. Of course they are ill informed that buying fire apparatus is not quite like cars. There are not many dealerships with 50 models on the lot to choose from! If you're asking price is the bottom dollar say so up front and don't waste anyones time. Unfortuneately this is not the case a good part of the time. Brokers want to make as much as possible and usually its tied to the sale price, so not always, but most of the time the price is a little higher thant the true bottom dollar. I know one FD here on the East Coast that have had a 95ft scope for sale for over 3 years, todays price is 60-80K less than they asked at first. We would have bought it with todays price, but now we're taking delivery of a new ALF in November.

                    While we do not buy low bid on all things, we do conduct "due diligence" on most purchases. Its paid off, our taxpayers and councilors don't try and slash our budget because they know we put forth an honest budget and spend their money wisely. Compared to other departments who go in high with fat in their budget, expecting to get cut.

                    So I say haggle away Birken I'll bet you'll get something that works for less than the sticker.


                    • #11
                      "It would not be right to the taxpayers who pay my salary to not get the lowest possible price for something I am going to be buying with THEIR money."

                      Isnt it also right to the taxpayers of the dept selling a rig to get the most they can for it?


                      • #12
                        I have to say that I'm a little confused by what chief has said. I'm a broker of a different type (a dreaded freight broker) so I know what he goes through to some extent. I also know that if a price is way over value of the equipment, the broker knows it ahead of time. That broker SHOULD feel responsible by expecting a fellow department to come in and pay that without at least attempting to get a better price.
                        I'm sure there are departments out there that would go out and spend more for a truck than it's actually worth, but most departments just can't afford to do that. The comment that chief made I felt was slightly out of line without knowing the whole situation.
                        Originally posted by chief66
                        Why don't you look for a unit that is in your price range?

                        Its much easier to be fair to everyone involved and be direct and honest and upfront than try to find a way to get something at a lesser value.
                        Just because a broker is asking X dollars for a unit doesn't mean that it's a fair price and a department should pay that immediately without question. I know from doing sales that a sales person and/or broker would rarely list a price that is completely fair to the buyer...it would be great for the broker and selling department to get that amount, but the seller has to have some expectation of not getting their asking price and price it accordingly.
                        Maybe I'm incorrect on this as well, but shouldn't it be the brokers responsibility to advise the selling department of the fair market value of the equipment and advise them of what they should expect to sell the equipment for? Obviously the department is looking for assistance in selling the truck if they're willing to pay a broker. Along with that, the broker acts as a mediator between the buyer and seller and should make sure that the sale is fair for both parties.
                        I agree that the buyer shouldn't expect to pay less than the equipment is worth just as the seller shouldn't expect to be paid more than the equipment is worth.


                        • #13
                          We bought used pieces in the past, both from brokers and directly from the department. Both times were good experiences with apparatus that fit our needs, but without the new price tag. We bought one piece at the asking price, as we werent' the only company looking at it. Considering we bought it at half what the new piece would be, we were very happy. It hit our specs 100%. The piece that we bought directly we started at a very fair asking price, subtracted what we needed to add to fit our department, threw in some misc equipment, and the deal was done.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ffp8106
                            Isnt it also right to the taxpayers of the dept selling a rig to get the most they can for it?
                            Of course, I believe the situation created is called a negotiation. One side doen't have to sell and the other doesn't have to buy. Unless there is some negotiation nethier will get what they need from each other. Both can look elsewhere and as long as time is on their side, more power to them.


                            • #15
                              Make an offer! They will either agree, make a counter offer, or say no! Pretty simple. But you will never know until you make an offer! I guess they could tell you to go pound sand but they won't sell much with that attitude!!


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