Tapping into Commercial Vehicles

By Jeffrey Bellant July 19, 2022
Working Men: Gerry Ogris (left) and Russell Savage, at the recent NIADA Convention & Expo in Las Vegas. Working Men: Gerry Ogris (left) and Russell Savage, at the recent NIADA Convention & Expo in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS – Work Truck Solutions made a pitch for independent dealers at its booth during the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association Convention & Expo last month.

Gerry Ogris, in charge of business development, discussed the company’s presence in Las Vegas for the show.

“This is our first time at NIADA,” he said. “We serve the commercial-buying public and the commercial-selling dealerships. Our interest is in finding dealers that are selling commercial vehicles.”

He said the company focuses on helping dealers acquire these vehicles and showing them how to present these vehicles to the buying public.

Ogris said the term “commercial vehicles” or “work trucks” cover a broad range of vehicles.

“You can drive down the street and see a plumber in his work truck,  landscapers in theirs, or even a dump truck,” he said. “You can even see a refrigerated upfit on the back of a chassis.

“It’s very broad range of vehicles.”

A buyer might be a sole proprietor with a single work van or there could be a plumbing company with a fleet of 20 or 30 vehicles with special configurations,

One difference in the work truck buyers is that their vehicle is their job or business. Without it, they are not working.

“Whenever a work truck is out of commission, that business is losing money,” Ogris said. “With the current inventory shortage – and buyers looking for that right vehicle – if they find it at a dealer, they don’t ask about the price. They just need the vehicle.”

He added that if you find a truck for that customer in need, you will have a customer for life.

Ogris said Work Truck Solutions helps dealers present the vehicles they have to the professionals that are looking for those types of units.

The company uses comvoy.com, a website specialized for commercial sellers.

“Then on the buying side, we help the dealers source vehicles for their customers,” Ogris said. “We take all the feeds we get from Manheim, SmartAuction – and a number of other fleet companies like Ryder – and we augment the data they give us to make it highly searchable on any kind of search engine.”

The company also uses VAST (vehicle acquisition search tool), which is a backend tool only for dealers to find vehicles.

To make searches faster, Work Truck Solutions uses over 200 data points to sort vehicles – such as chassis and upfit – to allow very specific searches on size, weight and specs, Ogris said.

Which commercial vehicles are most in demand?

“I think they’re all in demand,” he said. “There’s no specific one that (is in higher demand) than another.”

Ogris said one benefit makes commercial vehicles stand out amongst other markets.

“Being in this business gives you more margin per vehicle for both an independent dealer and franchise dealer,” he said.

Prices have gone up on the acquisition and selling side.

As the U.S., boosts manufacturing of parts and supplies, it means more commercial trucks are needed to ship those items, Ogris added.

For independents exploring this type of business, they should look around their local market and see what types of businesses there are and what types of trucks might serve that market.

In areas where there is new residential building, maybe landscaping businesses are in demand, so those trucks are needed, for example.

Also, dealers should look at competitors who might be selling commercial and see what they’re moving. Lastly, dealers should search online within their ZIP codes to see what is selling.

“It starts with a dealer making a decision,” Ogris said.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 19 July 2022 14:19