CandlerWhether it’s using coupons or haggling with the car salesman, people enjoy getting a good deal. But as the Board of Commissioners in Candler County, Ga., recently learned firsthand, previously owned equipment may not always be the best deal. As for County Administrator Jim Flynt, he saw how the best deal also could go beyond price to encompass customization and service.

Located within Candler County, the area’s landfill receives approximately 1,600 tons of garbage each year. From this waste comes leachate — the runoff produced from the decomposition of waste within the landfill. Most counties commonly transport this toxic fluid to treatment centers to avoid further environmental issues.

The Candler County Board of Commissioners has always taken the appropriate steps to be sure its county landfill is safe for residents and sanitation department workers. The department’s tanker truck, which it used to haul leach water, had been in operation for a long time and seen better days. In fact, the unit had been patched so many times it would no longer hold a weld.

Candler County considers

Flynt began researching options. Like most local governments, Candler County needed a good price as well as something that would last for years to come. Flynt called several dealers, quoting out used tankers that would meet the county’s sanitation needs. After a fair amount of talk, he was surprised by the high prices for used tanker trucks. Ten-year-old tankers came at a high price — around $44,000.

Eventually, someone steered Flynt toward Toledo, Ill.-headquartered Ervin Equipment. “They priced a brand-new 165-barrel aluminum tanker. They specified a tanker truck with a lined interior specific to leach water transport.”

Jeff Weber, a company VP, notes the competition for good used trailers is hot. He explained that it’s common for an unnaturally steep drop in supply to sometimes occur because manufacturers feel the pinch of a down economy. Customers begin to curb purchases, so they cut production even further.

In a tight market

Still, every carrier needs to replace equipment, so finding the right model year with the right specifications becomes extremely difficult. And, for those who are fortunate enough to find what they need, the price can be unusually high.

“Availability is tight and will remain that way for a while,” said Weber. “Trailer models from 2008 to 2010 are hard to come by because production of trailers was down during that time due to the recession. The most recent models available were manufactured from 2005 to 2007, and everyone is trying to get those. Buyers are forced to choose between purchasing a trailer that is at least eight years old or one that is brand new.”

But Ervin was able to supply a new tanker for just $19,000 more than a used unit. Considering the extra life a new unit would provide, Flynt determined a new tanker truck would be the best route. He figured the new aluminum tanker should last 20 years or longer with proper maintenance.

Ervin Equipment says new and used semi-trailer fleets is its business, including dry vans, reefers, low boys, chassis, flatbeds and tankers.