Booming business in tough times

Everybody loves Sanford and Son, right?

It’s a hilarious comedy about a junk dealer, his son and their exploits, and they often conquer a social issue or two along the way.

A lot of things have changed since the 70s, including the concept of a “junk yard.”

You won’t find too many bathtubs and coffins mixed in with truck differentials and transmissions these days.

Too, the term “junk yard” has become outdated.

Today you’ll find “salvage yards” and the haphazard organization of the Sanfords have been replaced by electronic catalogs that rival most libraries.

In an effort to combat an economic crunch, an increasing number of drivers, owners and operators have turned to salvage yards in search of replacement parts.

With cost savings of approximately 50 percent on most replacement parts, it’s easy to see why.

If you’re a fleet owner, multiply that percentage by your annual parts expense and you can see how the saving could stack up quickly.

Most refurbished parts have been rebuilt by mechanics near their top of their field. They’re not new, obviously, but they’re pretty close.

I spent the better part of two days calling around to used and refurbished parts suppliers and was surprised at what I found.

In an economic climate where everyone’s mortified at the potential of falling off a “fiscal cliff” – and where all the news you hear is bad – here’s this one segment of a huge industry that is absolutely exploding.

I spoke with dealers from coast to coast, around the south and the Midwest. Each estimated that they would close the books on 2012 with revenues between 40 and 50 percent above 2011.

That’s pretty incredible.

 

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