Dealer Spotlight: Blue Bird Sales of Pittsburgh
Dealer: Blue Bird Sales of Pittsburgh
Interviewee: Mark Schmitt
Title: President / CEO
Why do you promote propane to your customers?
The propane program with Blue Bird, ROUSH CleanTech and Ford is the best relationship I’ve ever experienced in my entire 45 years. That’s enough in itself to get on board.
Propane is good for America. It’s an affordable fuel. And the propane bus itself is simple — not complicated like a diesel bus. We use the total cost of ownership information available to show customers the savings. Also, propane fueling is easy to put on site and cheaper than putting above- or below-ground diesel or gas tanks at your facility.
What have you done that’s made you so successful with propane?
We give customers a hands-on experience through bus demos and facility tours.
We always have demos on site of every type of bus we sell. Without demos, I don’t know how people can be in the business.
For our tours, we trained our sales staff and technicians on propane and they’re all-in. We’re building a new facility with a 30,000-gallon commercial (public) fueling station on the property. This is the first dedicated school bus facility in the state of West Virginia!
Do you have any advice for dealers looking to sell more propane?
Plant propane buses like seeds, and then they grow. You don’t have to go in and convert an entire fleet. Start with one or two or five buses and then see how it goes. Soon, the district will have a majority of propane buses.
The success of the product comes with service after the sale. Get your technicians up to speed and certified through ROUSH CleanTech and Ford. ROUSH CleanTech is very serious about getting service issues resolved quickly. We don’t hear “we’re working on it” from them. ROUSH CleanTech has assembled a great team. They’re for real.
Training is also important. Train your sales reps and technicians on the product. That, along with the support from the manufacturing side, makes it successful.