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don’t know about you, but after Christmas sales are always a great place for me to grab a deal on some end-of-the-year merchandise. Did you find some good bargains this post-holiday season? I sure did.

But the dread of going to the mall and wondering around in a treasure hunt with huge crowds, stress and chaos, isn’t a fun experience, to say the least. Like many others, I’ve turned to the internet for

everything from clothes to food, and toys to consumer electronics. However, the vast majority of school bus industry professionals we have surveyed are telling us they only look to the internet to conduct research on equipment. Tey say they are not buying products and services directly through vendor websites. In a recent readership study, 213 STN readers said

a vendor advertisement they saw in the magazine influenced their buying decision. Did any ads catch your eye in this issue or in the 2019 Buyer’s Guide? Be sure to reach out by phone or email to connect with the advertisers. You can tell them what you are looking for and what influenced you to connect with them. Don’t know who to call? Email me directly, and I’d be happy to provide a proper introduction. Being proactive in your product search is always advisable when considering your buying options. Today’s buyers are overwhelmed with a bombardment of information. One could debate the quality of the information they have received, but not the quantity. Fear not, STN can help assist you in the new year. You also might have noticed that we launched a brand-new website after Christmas, which replaced the long-standing version. It provides considerable content, research, tools and search capabilities to help you with your ongoing quest of buying new school buses, technology, parts and equipment. Be sure to visit to experience it for yourself. Also, don’t forget to search the 2019 Buyer’s Guide.

On page 98, you’ll find the Components & Services Suppliers section that reviews specific products you might want to add to your operation. Search prospective company websites or even call them direct to learn more. Many component suppliers, school bus dealers and parts distributors offer users search tools to find specific products by category, model, price and more options.

58 School Transportation News • JANUARY 2019

Many industry professionals I speak with are always looking for the best pricing, as if they are shopping an after Christmas sale. But many are also seeking timely delivery, in-stock parts and quality service. Tere are so many sources in our industry for school buses and quality parts: OEMs, school dealers and independent parts distributors. Where do you turn to buy new/used buses and parts? I’m sure you have your loyalties. Many companies offer parts purchasing incentives for first-time buyers. For example, Harlow’s Bus Sales offers a 10-percent discount to STN readers on first-time parts purchases, simply by mentioning you’re a subscriber. Other companies offer email specials to new and existing clients, or a special deal of the day. Are you taking advantage of these deals? Trade shows are another great place to meet, connect and interact with supplier partners. You can create rapport with potential partners, which can improve your level of service and assist with negotiating favorable pricing, too. Plus, you can touch, feel and interact with exciting

new products and services available to you. Be sure to mark your calendars for the TSD Conference on March 15-20 in Dallas/Frisco, STN EXPO Indianapolis on June 7-12 and STN EXPO Reno on July 26-31. What you want to buy and from whom depends on

your circumstances. But in general, it’s better to trend toward the service end of the spectrum when selecting a supplier partner. Te reason is simple, if counter intuitive. Within broad limits, price is not usually the determining factor in customer purchase decisions. Studies have shown that within a broad range, 10-to-15

percent of customers won’t switch because of a lower price. However, studies also show that up to three-quarters of customers who do switch, do so due to inadequate service. With budgets being extremely tight and financial accountability on the rise, you can’t afford to not to take advantage of these special offers and shop around. But don’t forget the lowest price isn’t always the most important factor when ordering products or services. ●

Tony Corpin Publisher

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