Got a brand-new coach? You may be too distracted by that new-coach smell to think about the day you'll trade it in three, five or 10 years from now. But you should. What you buy and how you treat it can make a big difference when it comes to getting top dollar for your coach.
"Resale value is very important to our customers, and they need to focus on it more," says Walter Sturdivant, pre-owned coach sales manager. "When they drive away in their new coach, they need to be thinking about three to five years in the future, or whenever they want to update."
Here are our tips for making sure your investment pays off in the long run:
It should go without saying that a coach that's been kept in good condition is worth more than one that arrives on the sales lot with mechanical problems that haven't been addressed. Follow recommended maintenance schedules, and stay on top of inspections. Take advantage of MCI's Technical Training Institute to keep your mechanics in top form.
Elaborate custom paint jobs and overly-bright colors can really make your coach stand out on the road. But they won't necessarily make it stand out on the sales floor — at least not in a good way. More neutral colors make a coach more marketable. Same goes for the inside. If you're pining to have your logo on every seat, stick to headrest covers and other easily replaceable items.
Now is a good time to think about what the next owner of your coach might want. While some buyers are buying mostly on price and will accept a stripped-down model, plenty are looking for coaches with amenities aplenty. Try to be savvy about what you choose.
You are required to keep your maintenance and repair records for at least 1 year; however, if you've stayed on top of preventative maintenance and can document it, that makes your coach more desirable to its next owner — and an asset at trade-in time.
Sturdivant advises that operators think twice before sending coaches out on cut-rate runs and other trips that add lots of miles but not much revenue. Though MCI models are renowned for their ability to endure, low mileage is always an asset.
This is where driver training comes in. A coach operated by drivers who favor quick starts, hard braking and aggressive maneuvering is more likely to feel and/or sound older than its years.
Customers never like to board a bus with a dirty interior; however, when dirt accumulates on the exterior, it can not only dull the finish, but it can also trap moisture and lead to corrosion.
Keep the undercarriage clean, and reapply undercoating as needed.
A coach that comes in with good brakes, good wheel bearings, tight tie-rod ends and free of dings is worth more, because it's work that MCI won't have to do.
Sturdivant says that some operators have such good reputations and maintenance programs that pre-owned coach customers eagerly await their trade-ins. You want to be one of those operators.
Wondering what your next trade-in might be worth? Contact your MCI sales representative today and ask for a pre-sale evaluation.
Please click here to view MCI's current pre-owned coach offerings.
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