Should we sell our used emergency vehicle by sealed bid?

Some municipalities require that their assets to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Others that are not funded by tax dollars have other options available to advertise and sell their used fire truck, ambulance or other emergency apparatus. In todays climate of long delivery times for new emergency apparatus, selling by sealed bid is a very good option for all sellers. Time is on your side to plan and advertise your sealed bid. The key to selling by sealed bid to is announce your sale far and wide. Be clear in describing what is included in the sale, your timeline (bids due by date), your minimum bid that will be accepted, where to mail the bid to, date vehicle will be available and what your payment terms are.

What is a sealed bid?

A sealed bid is a form of auction – when there is significant interest in a used fire truck or other emergency vehicle, the seller will invite those interested in purchasing the vehicle or equipment to submit a sealed bid. Ideally, the seller then chooses the best bid. This may not always be the highest bid, but can be based on other factors, like how quickly they are able to take delivery, or whether they are a cash buyer that is able to close immediately.

How does the process work?

A sealed bid advertisement will be created by the seller, and a time limit will be given. You can still inspect the vehicle, and in many ways, the process is the same as a traditional purchase, right up until the deadline on the offers. You hand over an offer letter, containing the bid and other relevant information. Making a connection with the seller can be helpful, and getting a sense of what they want from a bidder when you inspect the vehicle might help you be remembered when the time to bid comes around. After the deadline has passed, the seller might get in touch to say you were the chosen winning bid, or to let you know someone else offered a higher bid, and invite you to up your offer. Whether you decide to get involved at this point is up to you – the bid is not legally binding and you are under no obligation to go through with the purchase if you think the prices are being inflated.

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