The 5 Things You Should Look for in a Diesel Truck Dealer
It’s certainly not difficult to find someone to sell you a diesel truck, or perhaps several of them, for your company. But, choosing the right diesel truck dealership isn’t necessarily a matter of finding the closest business or digging around for the lowest price.
That’s because diesel truck dealerships are like any other category of company. Some are more knowledgeable and trustworthy than others. In a perfect world, you’d be able to work with anyone and get the right terms, one-on-one attention, and follow-up service. But as we all know, not everyone will stand behind their word… or the products they sell.
The point we are trying to make here is that it can be very easy to find a diesel truck dealership, but not necessarily as simple to choose the one you should work with. It’s good to start your search by looking online, getting suggestions from friends and colleagues, or even checking business directories. To ensure you aren’t overlooking any important details, however, it’s always smart to work from a checklist. Luckily, we can help.
In today’s post, we want to give you an inside look into our business. We are going to share the top five things we would look for in a diesel truck dealership if we suddenly found ourselves as customers. Below you’ll find the handful of criteria we would consider to be most important.
Let’s start with one of the basics.
#1 A Strong Knowledge of the Diesel Truck Business
It seems almost too obvious to point out that your diesel engine dealership should know quite a bit about trucks and equipment. However, we have to begin here for a couple of reasons.
The first is that some dealerships might know a lot about selling trucks, or about the models they sell, but not the industry in general. That can be problematic if you want to make comparisons or get into the finer points of your potential investment. You don’t need someone who will simply read information you could find from a webpage or printed manual. You want to work with a dealer who has first-hand experience with the trucks you’re looking at, along with others in the same category.
The second reason we have to bring this up is that some dealers don’t work with diesel trucks as their main business. They might lease and sell hundreds of equipment categories, for example, or serve as brokers for larger corporations that want to get rid of inventory. In that case they might have some basic information and seem knowledgeable, but still won’t have the level of insight you’re looking for.
Although knowledge and experience aren’t exactly the same thing, one usually leads to the other. So, if you’re thinking about making a big investment into your business, then try to find a dealer who has been working with top brands – and dozens or hundreds of customers – for many years. That’s going to be the surest way you can tell they’ll be able to answer your questions in an accurate and complete way.
The other suggestions we’ll have for choosing the right diesel truck dealership are all important, but nothing matters unless your vendor has the right baseline of knowledge to work with. Keep that in mind as you shop around and meet with potential suppliers.
#2 Established Relationships With Top Diesel Engine Brands
As we have written before on our blog, one of the best things you can do for your business is buy a diesel truck from a trusted brand. When you factor in things like warranties, reliability, and resale value, it just doesn’t make sense to cut corners. You want to have a truck that will perform the way it should, year after year, in a variety of environments.
Of course, to buy a diesel truck from a trusted brand, you have to find a dealer that works with that manufacturer (or ideally, several leading companies). Otherwise you won’t have access to the equipment you really need to keep your business moving forward.
Again, this might seem like a simple point, but there are a couple of caveats. The first is that some dealerships might have inventory from a top brand even if they don’t have a relationship with them. For instance, they could have purchased a few used trucks from someone else without actually being established with the supplier. So it’s always good to ask questions if there is any confusion.
The second is that you want to know that your dealer has been working with that brand or manufacturer for a long time. We have already made the point that experience matters a great deal in this industry, and that pertains to the knowledge of certain diesel truck product lines.
Your vendor shouldn’t just know what they are selling today. They should also have a sense of how other companies are using it, what the traditional pros and cons of the model have been, and how the truck has changed over time. Any of these details could inform your buying decision, and they all matter.
Buying from a strong brand is a good way to get reliable equipment that will serve you and your team well over time. So make sure you find a dealer who can offer you the best products and insights.
#3 A Friendly and Trustworthy Diesel Truck Sales Team
Every once in a while, we meet with a business owner or operations manager who has been doing business with an uncooperative dealership for years. They say that every transaction is a struggle and that it is difficult to get clear answers or follow-up service.
Why do they tolerate these hassles, particularly when six- and seven-figure investments are on the line? The short answer is usually that they didn’t think they had a choice. Or maybe they felt like they were being held hostage because of prior agreements and relationships.
We are here to tell you that isn’t good enough. A diesel truck dealership needs to earn your business just as any other vendor would. That means providing fast, friendly, and trustworthy service. If you’re working with someone who isn’t meeting that standard, then you should switch. And you should never, ever sign an agreement with a dealer that doesn’t seem to be helpful or truthful.
It’s sad, but there are people in any business who just want to make a quick dollar. That’s particularly true when you have lots of money on the line. Additionally, some dealership owners think they don’t have to go above and beyond the minimum standard of service due to their location or product line.
When you talk to your diesel truck dealer about a purchase or maintenance request, you should feel confident that they are going to make your business their first priority. If they don’t, that’s a clear sign you need to look elsewhere.
There’s too much at stake for you to settle for anything less than the right level of service. So please, find a friendly and trustworthy diesel truck dealer if you haven’t already.
#4 In-House Service and Diesel Engine Maintenance Crews
It’s often the case that the diesel truck dealer that sells you your trucks will be the same company that takes care of ongoing maintenance. In those instances it’s obvious that you need them to have access to a fully staffed crew with the right tools and adequate parts.
But what if you aren’t planning on using your dealer for small repairs or regular visits? Even if you have your own team of mechanics and technicians, there are likely to be times when you could use the services of your shop dealership. That could be due to the need for emergency work, an adjustment suggested by the manufacturer, or even unexpected absences within your own team.
Given the reality that you will most likely need at least some level of help with maintenance, you will want to ensure your dealership can help out if and when they are needed. That means they have enough bays, the right diagnostic equipment, trained and certified technicians, and so on.
It may even be helpful for you to find a diesel truck dealership with mobile service you can call on in the event of a breakdown. Fortunately, the need for this kind of assistance is rare, but it can be invaluable when your drivers and products are stuck on the road.
While on the topic of service and maintenance, it’s worth pointing out that the caveats we have already given still apply. Just like the sales staff, the dealership’s service team should be knowledgeable, friendly, and experienced. You should get the sense that they listen to your questions, provide clear answers, and are always working to help your fleet and business run more smoothly.
Maintenance is a huge part of having a diesel truck fleet, and it’s easy to overlook when you’re comparing different dealers to one another. Remember that over the long run having access to the right parts and mechanics can have a very big impact on your ability to operate and stay profitable.
#5 The Right History and Reputation Within the Industry
While most of the other points we’ve mentioned have been fairly concrete and easy to verify, qualities like “history” and “reputation” are harder to define. However, we have to mention them because in the end they end up being the most important traits of all.
That’s because something like reputation encompasses so many different factors of a diesel truck dealership – and the experience you will have with them. When a business has a great reputation, with lots of positive reviews and testimonials, it’s a sign that they have been doing things the right way for many years. You can be sure they’ve been charging competitive rates, providing excellent service, and putting their customers first. They will have earned their referrals, along with all the kind words others have said about them.
The same goes for history. Older companies aren’t always better than newer ones, but in a business where you will eventually need advice or service from someone you can trust, it’s good to know that you’re dealing with an established enterprise that has stable leadership. If you doubt this, then imagine trying to get help with your fleet of trucks and finding out the company that sold them to you went out of business. How alarmed would you feel?
It’s worth reminding anyone reading this article that investing in a diesel truck, or fleet of them, is a decision that will eventually cost millions. It could literally make or break your company. Knowing that, there isn’t any reason to work with a company that doesn’t fill you with trust and confidence. Those qualities are built up over time and they can’t be mimicked.
You want a diesel truck dealership that has been around for a while, and one that has demonstrated that they’ve known what they are doing for many years running. Make that the focus of your search and you’ll probably find that the four other points we’ve already mentioned will largely take care of themselves.
Looking for the Right Diesel Dealer in California and Beyond?
At Valley Power, we have built a reputation for being a top diesel, power, and marine dealership throughout California and the West. This wasn’t accomplished with flashy brochures, social media posts, or any other marketing tricks – we did it the old-fashioned way by providing great service to our customers for decades.
If you’d like to know how a team of experienced dealers and professionals could help make your business more efficient, we are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a meeting with our group and see why so many of our customers would never get a diesel truck from anyone else.