1. #1
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    Default Dealers blowing you off!!

    We are in the process of specing a new engine. We currently house 2 engines, a rescue-engine, and a tower-ladder. All but one engine are Pierce, the other engine is an E-One.

    While attempting to meet with dealers/manufacturer's, a few have blew us off by saying "you are going to go Pierce anyway" and therefore haven't submitted bids of sat down with us. The same thing occured when we purchased our last engine.

    We initially selected 5 manufacturer's that we would deal with, and 2 have thrown in the towels after basically a few minutes, or have not even talked to us at all.

    Has anyone else dealt with situations like this and/or have any advice on how to deal with them??

    The funny part is, we really aren't looking at Peirce that much, but dealers seem to think we are.

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    I recently talked to a FD who had all one brand of truck and the dealer for that brand blew them off, so they bought from the competition. No need to name names...

    Sorry I don't have any advice, but thought I'd mention how it could happen the other way around.

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    Default What to do?

    I understand that it requires a lot of time and resources to put together a bid package, and a bidder might be reluctant to waste their time. But that is part of the business.

    Has anyone ever heard how much it costs to put together a bid package?

    The only advice I would have is to look at your specs. Most dealers can thumb through a spec and can tell you in five minutes which manufacturer's was used.

    Get specs from 3-5 manufacturers and review them closely. Anything with the NO EXCEPTION notation is proprietary to one manufacturer and no one else does it. Other manufacturer exclusives are more sneaky.

    Do you know the previous dealings between your FD and the other brands? I am sure you've made it clear to the other brands that P***ce will not be the only brand considered. If you open things up, P***ce will be unhappy, because in my experience (we have 3 of them), they are on upper end of the pricing scale.

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    Wink Dealers not responding.

    If your specs say things like a Tak-4 front suspension and a Velocity cab, you probably won't get much response. If it says an independent front suspension and a cab that meets ECE R-29 Crash standards you might get more response. Make your specs a performance based document and leave out brand names.

    If you are a truck committee with multiple members, it might be possible one or two biased members are making comments to potential bidders about their preference for one particular brand that may be discouraging potential bidders. I've seen that happen before!
    Just some thoughts!

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    I've been getting some of that from a couple of the larger companies on our rapid attack truck we're working on. I got some when we did our pumper/tanker a couple of years ago, too.

    One of the companies you mentioned wouldn't even call me back. I tried 4 times, leaving messages each time. I have another smaller company that's fairly local I tried calling 6 times on the pumper/tanker, and three on the rapid attack, never a call back.

    I think a lot of it has to do with the dealer/salesperson. I got in contact with a couple of the companies' home offices who had dealers I didn't want to deal with. Each time they were more than happy to put me in contact with someone else, most of the time dealing factory-direct. Might be worth a try for you if you really want to use them as an option.

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    In the area where I live, Pierce has a huge market domination. Sure Pierce makes a good product, but there are plenty of other manufacturers out there that make just a good of a product.

    At my VFD, the apparatus committee has been working for 18 months on a new rescue-pumper spec. We've been very open with the three main vendors we're working with (including the Big P) about the status of our process, our intention to have an "open" spec that a lot of vendors can comply with, and things we like or don't like about their products. This open dialogue has been very beneficial for us.

    I have to agree that if the local salesperson, or the dealership itself isn't giving you the satisfaction you desire, take the time to call the manufacturer itself. I've seen these factory-direct sales work well in the past ... even though the local dealer will be disgruntled about the situation, it still allows the purchaser to come away with the product they desire.

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    Hi JT. I feel for you. Just recheck your specs and make sure you don’t have it completely full of “specific proprietary features” from only one Mfg. When times are good and sales are up, a Dealer may not “chase” a spec.

    Double check with the committee members too and make sure nothing too terrible is going on -- I bet everything is fine there.

    This may not be just your dealer either – sometimes a Mfg is arrogant as well and even if the dealer wants to try for it, the Mfg can put the ka-bosh down on it. No, a Mfg wouldn’t do that would they? Um, yeah, they would. TL

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    We had Pierce write our specs, then we went through the specs and deleted EVERYTHING that was propietary. As we were buying a commercial cab, it was not too hard. We then deleted a few items, added a few others.

    3 companies would not even bid, as you say - they said we already were going to buy Pierce. In the end, Rosenbauer, Pierce, and KME bid.

    Rosenbauer was the lowest bid, but service was a concern, as was delays we were hearing about from the factory. Pierce was the middle bid, totally ignoring the changes in the bid specs we made. KME was the most expensive, but the most responsive. After a couple of meetings, we decided to go with the KME engine.

    To be very blunt, after seeing a Rosenbauer that was delivered to a neighboring department, I am so very glad that we went with the KME. I just feel that for our department, the KME is a much better fit.

    Bottom line, I have wanted to go back to the companies that would not bid because they knew we were going with Pierce, and show them pictures of the new KME........

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    We had similar issues at first convincing bidders that we weren't looking for low bid only. After years of low bid our apparatus floor looked like an off-brand used car lot. We had to convince them that we had proven to the City Council that we needed to spend more money to buy quality apparatus.

    As for the P-boys: if another brand salesman comes into your station and sees mostly Peirce, and no one complains about the P trucks, and you have a BIG budget, they probably figure you'll end up with a Peirce. Not worth their time.

    I know if they paid me for all the time I spent working on specs, info gathering and dealing with salesmen, it would have been cheaper to use a Peirce spec and just buy one.

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    The best way is to write your own spec. With the things you absolutely want and need. If you use a particular manufacturers spec you will eliminate some companies from bidding because of proprietary items they simply can't or won't do. And frankly, as a fire truck salesman, if you send me a spec from Brand X and ask me to quote on that truck I usually will not. My assumption is if you use their spec you want their truck and it is a waste of time and resources for me to bid.

    When my volly FD was looking to buy a truck we wrote up a list, very detailed, of what we wanted on the rig. We did not however write a detailed spec. When we spoke to dealers we gave them our list and discussed further things that we had missed. The ones that we found were in tune with us were asked to submit a detailed spec that included drawings and pricing. These were then fine tuned and resubmitted for the changes and price changes. After all the tuning up was done we selected the best rig for the money. Low price was not a determining factor but the lowest priced rig did meet everything we wanted and in fact better than some of the higher priced rigs.

    Good luck. Just realize what ever you do and no matter how great the rig is...someone will tell you you screwed it all up.

    FyredUp

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Good luck. Just realize what ever you do and no matter how great the rig is...someone will tell you you screwed it all up.

    FyredUp
    Heh...and that person will probably be an individual from your own department who was "too busy" to come to any one of the three dozen apparatus committe meetings that were held, but had no problem being there the day the rig was delivered to render their opinion...

    Am I bitter? Nahhhh. Too bad the individual in question isn't on the department any longer.
    "Share your knowledge - it's a way to achieve immortality." - Stolen from Chase Sargent's Buddy to Boss program

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    When it comes to specing the chassis items on a truck i think most fire depts are in the dark. What we have done in the past is we talk to our local trucking company. They tell us what to spec as far as axles, braking,engines,moisture seperators etc. Remember this is what they do, if their trucks aren't on the road, they loose money. A dealer is looking at the bid price not what's best for you in the long run. I have seen some mis matched axle / braking combos because the dept didn't know what they were specing. These normally get discovered during your first brake job when the mechanic points it out and you get stuck with a major repair. Use independant resources...not a dealer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by buckdog View Post
    A dealer is looking at the bid price not what's best for you in the long run. I have seen some mis matched axle / braking combos because the dept didn't know what they were specing. These normally get discovered during your first brake job when the mechanic points it out and you get stuck with a major repair. Use independant resources...not a dealer.
    I very much disagree, and I'm sure the other salesman on here will too. I specifically point out what I feel are weaknesses in a rig spec: whether it be brakes, powertrain, etc. - because if I deliver you a rig that is a destined to have problems, you won't come back to me for another. Not to mention that you'll tell everyone you know what problems you had. Our axles are so forth are not determined by me, but by the folks at the plant who engineer the rig and know better than I ever will.

    We've walked away or taken exception on a number of bids where we wouldn't do the amount of water requested because our engineers felt the rig would be unsafe, etc. We're not all greedy, shady used car salesman in it for the quick buck. If I sell you a quality rig today, have integrity and am honest through the whole process, you'll buy from me again. If you don't buy from me this time, you'll still remember those same qualities when some other guy promised you the world and didn't deliver.

    Having said that, there is nothing wrong with getting outside opinions either...
    Last edited by npfd801; 08-22-2007 at 11:44 PM.
    "Share your knowledge - it's a way to achieve immortality." - Stolen from Chase Sargent's Buddy to Boss program

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    I have to agree with npfd801 here. There are a few kinds of dealers who are out there (and on here on Firehouse). Some are so slick you will never even see them coming. Believe me I know a few.

    Others Dealers, Firefighters, and people like me are just stupid enough to give a crap about there own integrity and trying to do what is right.

    Just use your best judgement. TL

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    Talking

    I guess that would be one way to get more business!!!

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    I didn't mean to say that all dealers are shady, what I meant was use a checks and balance system. If you get a truly open bid process some dealers will be trying to sharpen their pencils to get the bid and they may do it on components that the average fire dept has no idea on what's best. If they have a resource that they can use to cross check these items, they should take full advantage of them. We have a 75' quint on a single axle (1990) and they cringe everytime it goes down the road due to the close GVW numbers. Unfortunately many depts only check the bids to see if the shiny items have been included on the bid.

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    When we built our last one,we had Spartan come to the station and as a commitee we went over every chassis issue and option.Each was carefully looked at and the final product has proved to be most satisfactory.So I would say work with your dealer to get the best results,T.C.

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