Across the country, students are returning to school (or virtual classrooms) to learn new things. And for those who are in the market for a new commercial vehicle, it’s time to go back to school too. There’s plenty to review about purchasing best practices, and now there’s a new subject: buying during COVID-19. So, before you purchase your next vehicle, hit the road with Commercial Truck Trader‘s ABCs of Buying a Commercial Vehicle During a Pandemic:
It can be easy to dismiss the look of a truck or van, as long as it works. But if a dealer hasn’t taken care of the outside of the vehicle, have they really taken care of the engine and other components? Also, remember that commercial vehicles can be your company’s best — or worst — advertisement to potential clients as you drive and park in your community, even during coronavirus.
To know you’re getting a quality truck or van, you want to buy from a trustworthy dealer. You can research the owner/dealer through online background checks. You can also ask your industry contacts to see if any of them have purchased from the seller previously, if they purchased during the pandemic, what that experience was like, and if the vehicle turned out to be a quality unit.
Cost is the most important consideration for many buyers, especially during economic uncertainty brought on by COVID-19. Have an idea of your price range when searching; you should be able to filter your vehicle search by cost on most online marketplaces or dealership websites. If a truck or van is outside of your price range, don’t give up. Contact the dealer and make them an offer; you may be able to negotiate a more manageable price.
You should review as many available details about a vehicle as possible to make your purchase decision. To learn about the truck or van’s details, from its structural components to the mileage, check the key details provided in the listing description. Also feel free to contact the dealer with questions or to request additional photos or videos of the unit.
To evaluate a potential purchase, you need to compare listings. Just because you’ve found one vehicle that could be a good fit doesn’t mean there’s not a better deal or more relevant vehicle out there. You don’t even have to venture out into the pandemic; from your own home you can research local dealership websites and leading online marketplaces to fully compare and evaluate a potential purchase.
Once you’re interested in a truck or van, contact the dealer. You can reach out to the seller by phone call, email, text, or live-chat (depending on what contact options they offer). When following-up, don’t hesitate to request more photos, seek out additional details, ask questions, talk financing, negotiate price, and/or ask about their social distancing policies if you were to visit the dealership.
Once initial contact is established, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with the dealer, either by going to the dealership lot or, if you’re worried about coronavirus risks, by setting up a live video chat. Whether in-person or virtual, an appointment allows you to view the vehicle and its parts in real time, observe unit functionality, ask any relevant questions, and hear the dealer’s sales pitch.
When viewing a listing and/or when speaking with a dealer, it is important to learn the vehicle history, including use, maintenance, repair, and accident history. In addition to asking the dealer for this information, you may also search through public records using the vehicle’s VIN.
Whether in-person or during a live video chat, inspecting the truck or van is absolutely essential. When inspecting a vehicle, listen to the running engine, make note of the mileage, have the dealer point out any unique specs or damage, take a closer look at any specific functionality or part you’re interested in, and inspect anything else you think is relevant.
Just do it
Eventually, it’s time to take the leap and make the purchase. Sign the required paperwork, make your down payment, obtain a warranty or insurance, and get any training you may need, all of which you may be able to do online during the pandemic, depending on state laws and dealership policies. Finally, get out there and enjoy the open road!