What are school bus dealers telling us in the School Bus Fleet survey about market trends, challenges, and areas for improvement? We’re still gathering data, but we have already heard from dealerships across the United States - from New York to Minnesota to Florida to Kansas.
Check out this preview of results we’ve collected and, if you’re a dealer and haven’t filled out the survey yet, please do so! We want to make sure the market is fairly and accurately represented.
School Bus Dealer Challenges and Insights
The top challenges reported by dealers thus far:
- Meeting customer demands and preferences.
- Increasing competition in the market.
- Dealing with regulatory requirements and compliance.
- Recruiting and training knowledgeable sales staff.
100% of the dealers so far have been in business at least nine years, but the majority of those have been selling school buses for more than 16 years.
Nearly two-thirds of dealers responding indicated that technology and innovation in the school bus industry are very important to their success.
87% report they’re satisfied or very satisfied with current market demand for school buses.
Nearly 69% sell two or three bus brands, while 25% are exclusive dealers of a single brand.
About 63% of responding dealers indicate they are satisfied or very satisfied with the support and services provided by their school bus manufacturers.
What School Bus Dealers Think Needs Fixing
But that doesn’t mean dealerships can’t see room to improve. Areas that need work, according to the survey results so far:
- A need for more investment in non-electric alternative fuels.
- End-user training on electric school buses.
- Shorter lead times and more factory on-hand inventory to supply dealerships.
- More competitive aftermarket parts pricing.
Wrote one respondent: “The push for electric bus has been tough to navigate with many advocates and companies trying to provide factual assistance or enter the market for a profit. Every state and school bus market is different with duty cycles, specifications, funding/reimbursement eligibility, procurement cycles, etc. From gasoline, to diesel, back to gasoline, propane, CNG, and now electric. The school bus dealers are the industry leaders which have implemented new technologies and new fuels into the marketplace; why should the dealer be overlooked in the conversation? It can be argued that the dealer is the most critical part to process as it is likely that the dealer will be the first phone call when a request in needed by an end user.”
We appreciate the responses we’ve collected to date. We’re accepting them until July 7. If you run a school bus dealership, share your insights in our School Bus Fleet survey.