If you own and operate on-road commercial trucks in California, you may need an auctioneer, and you don’t even know it!

Recently, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) implemented new emissions regulations for cars and trucks in California. Most older trucks will not make the cut. These trucks will need to be sold and those funds redeployed into newer, California-compliant units.

Commercial trucks and buses manufactured before 2010 are now illegal to operate in California, with few exceptions. Trucks must meet the conditions set forth by CARB to be allowed to register in the state, effective immediately. The rule applies to diesel vehicles that weigh at least 14,000 pounds. CARB has stated there are approximately 200,000 vehicles that have yet to comply with the regulation. 

Many truck owners might consider trading these pre-2010 trucks into a local truck dealer. Think again. New and used truck dealers usually only offer a minimal amount on any trade. They may offer over the market value on a trade-in, then add that back to your loan, drowning the new truck’s equity underwater.

Trying to sell your truck yourself on Facebook, TruckPaper, Craigslist, etc., is equally challenging and time-consuming. You’ll wait weeks or months for offers. Unserious buyers and tire kickers will try to haggle down any price you’ve set. Then, you must deal with title transfers and collecting payment. Lastly, you can be left dealing with the buyer post-sale if there’s any issue with the truck or its documentation (mechanical, lost title, back taxes on registration, etc.).

On the contrary, auctions are fast, fun, and transparent.

Auctions offer significant advantages over dealer trades and self-selling and are often the best financial solution. 

1. Auctions reach a broader market and serious buyers, delivering true market value.

Well-run auctions attract large numbers of qualified buyers and generate competitive bidding. Dealers, brokers, and end-users compete at auctions, driving up each other’s bids and providing more money to you, the owner.  The market reach of most auctions dwarfs any online listing service. Out-of-state and out-of-country buyers value your trucks and are ready to buy. A good auction company will reach thousands of potential buyers through its advertising and outreach.

2. Auctions provide cash quickly.

When you list and try to sell your truck online, you’re not sure when or if your truck will sell. Auctions are different. An auctioneer will sell the unit, collect the payment, and deliver your money all within a defined timeframe.  

3. Auctioneers deal with any post-sale issues.

The auction house will complete the sale, deliver the title, and collect the payment. They can also address any questions or issues from the buyer, keeping you separate from the transaction. With an auction, there will be no calls for you to deal with months later.

4. Good auction houses employ subject matter experts.

The best auction companies employ truck professionals with expertise in current market trends, pricing, and marketing. They take the time and effort to determine the best market for your truck and advertise to qualified customers in these regions. This delivers the highest price come auction day. They can also provide guidance on expected returns and what reconditioning may be needed to achieve the best price at auction. 

Auctions provide owners with an effective and efficient method to liquidate their non-compliant California trucks. The trucking industry has a successful history using auctions. Auctions offer a simple process that converts trucks to cash quickly. Selling by auction is your best option for trucks and buses impacted by California’s new restrictions.   

Find an auctioneer near you

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Peter D. Gehres, CAI, CES, CAS, Chief Operating Officer of Jeff Martin Auctioneers contributed to this article.