Keep Resale in Mind When Speccing Out Your Next Rig

It isn’t always easy to sell your used trucks but the process can be made easier by planning ahead.
Keep Resale in Mind When Speccing Out Your Next Rig
Mike Oberg purchases only Kenworth trucks partly because he likes them for his own operations, but also because he finds them more attractive to buyers once it's time to sell. "They hold their value a bit better," he says.

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If septic pumping is one of your service offerings and you purchase a new truck, the thought of eventually selling it can never be too far from your mind.

To that end, Mike Humbert, owner of Humbert Sanitary Service in North Canton, Ohio, focuses on keeping his vehicles in the best shape possible.

“I run my trucks as long as I can and I keep them in good condition since that not only helps me with my business, but also when I turn around to sell them,” he says.

Some pumpers, including Mike Oberg of Eagle River, Wisconsin-based Mike’s Septic, have a game plan for when it’s time to sell their vehicles. “I usually sell them after about seven or eight years,” he says.

Humbert doesn’t look at mileage or truck age when he plans to sell.

“When payments on a new vehicle become cheaper than the maintenance of a current one, then I know it’s time,” he says. “I have three trucks that are more than 10 years old so I really try to keep them in good shape.”

Oberg usually sells his vehicles to the same person, the owner of a portable sanitation company.

“He doesn’t mind that the trucks are purple,” says Oberg, whose company is known for its bright purple vehicles. “I know I’m fortunate I have the same person to sell to.”

Vehicle specs can play a role in a truck’s resale value. Some owners may put a premium on driver comfort, for example, and look for air-ride suspension and air conditioning.

“Air conditioning is important, but everything else I can pass on,” Humbert says. “I don’t normally get a lot of extras, such as power windows, power doors — those gadgets break down.”

While Oberg is fortunate his truck buyer does not mind his vehicle’s bright exterior, Humbert looks to keep his as versatile as possible.

“I keep the outside of my trucks the same. I have a white cab and then I’m moving to wraps on the tanks,” he says. That way the next vehicle’s owner can easily change the exterior to match the rest of his other trucks.

But despite those efforts, Humbert says selling his used trucks is not always easy.

“There’s a limited market around here for people to buy pumper trucks,” he says. “I lucked out and sold one to a guy who has a campground and used it to empty tanks there, and then I also found a farmer who used one for spreading on his fields.”

Oberg purchases his trucks from Kenworth, and they are attractive to other buyers.

“They hold their value a bit better and it’s a truck people want to buy,” he says. So if his current buyer isn’t interested, Oberg believes he would still have other people interested in his trucks.


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