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How Much Is My Semi Truck Worth?

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How Much is My Semi Truck Worth?

The answer is quite simple.  Whatever someone will pay for it.

The real question that people want answered is, how can I get the most for my commercial truck? This answer is a little more complicated.

First of all lets make a clear distinction between the value of your truck and what some one is willing to pay for your truck. Black Book, Truck Paper Fleet Evaluator, and dozens of other sites can give you book values but will they actually purchase your Peterbilt, Freightliner, Volvo or Kenworth for that price? The answer is no. What they are providing is insight from data they have collected.  This can be extremely helpful when you are negotiating a trade-in for a new truck or putting your truck up for sale but they don’t necessarily tell you what your truck is worth.

Are Truck Blue Book Sites Accurate?

While these used truck valuation sites are a good gauge of what you might be able to ask for your truck their accuracy can be off thousands of dollars.  Why? Commercial truck values are complex when compared to the automotive industry. The automotive industry is cut and dry. Every dealer today has an application on their phone that tells them in exact detail the trade-in value and the retail value of the car they are about to purchase. But comparing the auto industry to the heavy duty trucking industry is like comparing a GMC van to a Freightliner Cascadia 126″ sleeper.

Specs Are King

What separates semi truck values from car and truck values are specifications. Professional automotive buyers use a NADA guide to get a value on a vehicle. They plug in the year, the make, the model and it will know exactly what options are available. There is no such things in the commercial truck industry. There are sites that can tell you the basics by simply plugging in the vin, but they can not tell you the entire story. Most likely they will be able to provide you the engine, the horsepower, and number of axles but not much beyond that. Commercial trucks have hundreds of variables.  They are designed for specific applications that require specific specs that can influence the trucks value in a positive manner as well as a negative one.

What Are My Options In Selling My Semi-Truck?

To drill down to the value of your truck, the first thing you might do is contact a couple of reputable dealerships and get an offer on what they would pay for your truck today. That number is truly what your truck is worth.  Selling to a dealership is your best option if you need to sell your vehicle quickly, if you don’t want the hassle of dealing with the public or you don’t want liability. Questions to consider asking after your receive your dealership / wholesaler offer.

  1. How long does it take to get payment?
  2. How long is the offer good for?
  3. Is there a cost for the dealership/wholesaler to pick up the vehicle?
  4. What is the process if there is a loan on the equipment?

With an offer(s) in hand, you now have options.

Selling Your Commercial Truck Yourself

If you haven’t done so, you now need to do a detailed search of the asking price for a similar truck to yours.  Make sure you match spec for spec. If you have 400 horsepower and 10 speed do not compare it with the exact same make, model and mileage as someone with 600 horsepower and 18 speeds, these are not the same truck. Once you find out what people are asking for their truck, price yours competitively.  Hint: If someone bites, take a hard look at that first offer. If it is reasonable, you might want to consider it. Many times it is the best one you will receive.

Things to Consider When Selling Yourself

  • Beware of scams, they are a plenty and they are getting more sophisticated.
  • Unless you are selling to an auction or a dealer, remember there could be liability. Be careful that you don’t make claims that aren’t true, that the truck is safe to drive and you don’t make any statements that could be considered a warranty.
  • Stay away from committing to some one who doesn’t have cash on hand or doesn’t have financing in place. You could end up waiting weeks to get paid, or worse yet, the deal could fall through.
  • If you owe money on the vehicle, make sure you understand the process and the time lines for getting release of title.

Sites to consider when selling your truck yourself:  Truckpaper.com, Commercialtrucktrader.com,  Craigslist.com (we advise you to stay local)

Selling Your Commercial Truck At Auction

Selling your truck at an auction is a viable option if you don’t want to deal with the public, don’t want to worry about the liability and believe your vehicle has an upside. But before you sign up for an auction, you still need to do your homework.  As with selling yourself, find out what similar trucks have sold for at Auction in the past. We wouldn’t recommend going more than six months back to find your comparisons.  If you can find a good sample size, throw out the high and the low.

Advantages to selling at an auction? Once your unit has sold, you never have to see it again and who knows there could be a huge upside financially.

Things To Consider

  • Make sure you include fees and transportation when you are crunching the numbers. Yes, your sale price may be greater than what a dealer or the general public would offer but when you account for time, moving expenses and fees, how much did you net?
  • See how many units like yours are at the auction. If you are selling a long haul sleeper and the auction has 90% yellow iron, you could be at a disadvantage. The more buyers at the auction the better your odds.
  • If your truck has a seasonal application, you might want to consider waiting until your semi is in demand.
  • Auctions can be a gamble. They are not for the faint at heart.

Auctions to consider:  Ritchie BrothersTaylor Martin, or Auction Time

Finally

Data has been the buzzword for the last several years and more and more companies are investing in ways to collect data and distribute data. At the end of the day, you need to look around and see with your own eyes whats happening in the market place. Trucking seems to be a game of runs both good and bad. Data can only tell you what happened or what is happening. Truck prices like the future is unpredictable but if you do your homework the odds will be in your favor.

Good luck.

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