Sunday, August 14, 2011

Buying A Bus: Part 3 of 3 – The Purchase

By: Jim Michaud

Now comes the most important part of any buying process: the actual purchase. You’ve researched which vehicle would work best for your specific application, narrowed your search for a good candidate, fully inspected and drove the equipment, and now…you have picked “The One” you’d like to purchase. But wait...there are still a few things you need to work out. The most important thing is PRICE.

Negotiating a final purchase price can sometimes be difficult. The seller wants as much as he/she can get, and the buyer wants to pay as little as possible. The trick is to find a middle point that both parties are comfortable with. This can be an easy or complicated process. Here are a few things to keep in mind to make it as painless as possible for BOTH parties.

• Buyer: Remember that the seller is proud of their vehicle. In most cases, it has served them well and they have taken great pains to maintain it properly. When pointing out “issues” or “trouble areas”, keep in mind that some owners might take offense to that.  Just remember the old saying “It’s not WHAT you say - it’s HOW you say it”.

• Seller: Don’t take it personally. Understand their position and be prepared for it. After-all…if they do find problems, you should already be aware of it and know what it would cost to repair. It is good practice to point these “issues” out to the potential buyer during their inspection. This instills credibility to your buyer. Don’t try to hide it – be honest and forthcoming. It will reward you in the end. Your asking price should have already accounted for such “issues”. If not, be prepared to adjust your price to accommodate repair.

• Buyer & Seller: Remember that condition varies greatly. Two buses operating from the same region for the same amount of time can look and perform completely different. Many factors come into play such as: driver’s habits, maintenance practices, cleaning and updating regiments. If the vehicle you would like to purchase is weak in one area, it will most likely be stronger in another. Be flexible and understanding.
• Buyer & Seller: Of course, form of payment is extremely important. Make sure BEFORE the delivery date that both parties have agreed to payment type and final amount. Doing this ahead of time will surely make for an easy and hassle-free delivery.

The last thing to think about is the delivery. Because buses aren’t found on every street corner, often times you will have to travel to find the right bus. Make sure you are familiar with the registration laws of the state where you are purchasing the vehicle. Some states allow the seller to offer a temporary “tag” or license plate for transport. If not available, you must make arrangements to bring a tag with you. This might mean that you will have to actually purchase the vehicle before pick-up, have your insurance in place, and register the bus to receive your registration in order to get your tag. My motto is the same as the Army’s: “Be Prepared”

Here is a helpful check list for your delivery day:
1. Bank check, wire transfer or cash (for purchase of vehicle)
2. Transport tag / License plate
3. Insurance verification (usually a faxed copy from insurance co.)
4. Money or charge cards for fuel, tolls and food
5. Cash (for the unknown or unexpected)
6. Miscellaneous tools (adjustable wrench, pliers, vise-grips, screw drivers, hammer, duck tape, misc. sized tie-wraps, WD-40, extra wire, etc)
7. Map/GPS
8. Sunglasses/reading glasses (if necessary)
9. Pen & notepad (to keep track of mileage in case fuel gauge is not working, expenses, phone numbers, etc.)
10. Water & snacks

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