Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Financing Fire Apparatus: Money Saving Idea #1

If you finance a fire truck, you'll spend between 10% and 50% of the truck price on financing cost.

What can you do to make sure you're not wasting any money unneccesarily?

The biggest money saving idea is to be financially prepared for the purchase

That means recognizing before you need the truck that you need the truck.  And start saving money towards the purchase so you can finance less.

How much you borrow is the biggest factor in determining how much you pay for financing.  Think about it this way, if you don't use it, you won't pay for it.  So, start saving for the new truck to reduce the amount of money you borrow.  NOTHING ELSE will save as much money as this simple thing.


Borrow less money to save money.  It's the biggest savings idea.

Stay safe!
John R. Hill
First Bankers

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Justify Fire Truck Purchase: Overcoming the objections

It's only natural that local politicians don't want to waste money.  

So, an expensive fire truck purchase is always an uphill battle as they work with their limited budget.

What can you, as chief, do to overcome this resistance to buying a new fire apparatus?

Every chief I talk to can present a strong case about the operational need for a new fire truck.  Things like the truck is old, can't get parts, is unsafe, doesn't meet NFPA, etc.

But few chiefs can also back up that argument with a financial presentation to show why it makes financial sense to buy a new fire truck.

How to overcome the 3 objections to buying a new fire truck

Last week, I shared the 3 objections that a council can make as an alternative to buying the truck you need now.

On the surface, each of these objections seem "free", that they don't cost anything and are financially smart.  The truth is that they all cost something ("there are no free lunches") and a chief must compare the cost of buying versus not buying.  That's how you can show a financial and operational case to buy a new fire truck.

We've provided a free set of tools to help with the 3 objections:  You can download the free tools here at


A smart chief doesn't fight the council who doesn't want to waste money.  She shows them why not buying is a more costly alternative.

Stay safe!
John R. Hill
First Bankers

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Justify Fire Truck Purchase: The objections you'll hear

When trying to justify a new fire truck, you'll hear 3 objections.

In the last couple of weeks, we shared the right and wrong question to answer when requesting a new apparatus.

How do you handle the objections?

Your council members want to show that they are prudent with the taxpayers money.  So, they will be doing their job and come up with alternatives to spending money on a new fire truck.

The 3 objections are:

  1. Let's do nothing. This is no commitment to buying and no plan to buy.
  2. Let's save up for the purchase.  We know the truck is needed now but we'll save up to buy it in a few years.
  3. Let's repair the old truck.  Or buy used.  A new truck costs so much money, can we spend less and keep the truck we have now.
The problem is that each of these objections assume there is no cost to their plan.  Which is incorrect.

The savvy chief will have a case to study the financial impact of buying versus any of the 3 objections.

You can download a free tool to help with these objections here:


It's natural for your council to board to resist spending money on a new truck.  You'll be more successful when you have a plan to compare buying a new truck versus any of the 3 objections.

Stay safe!
John R. Hill
First Bankers

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Justify Fire Truck Purchase: The Right Question to Answer

Last week, we shared that most chiefs answer the wrong question when approaching their council or board to justify a new truck purchase.

They load up on information and end up overloading the decision makers.

So, what is the only question to answer when justifying a new apparatus purchase?

It's this: 
Does it make sense to buy the truck now rather than later?


How do you help the council answer the question?

All chiefs know how to make the operational argument that the truck needs to be replaced - it doesn't meet standards, it's old, unsafe, can't get parts.

The savvy chief also provides a financial argument that buying a truck now makes more sense than not buying.  That means comparing the financial consequences of buying vs. not buying.

It's not about how much you can spend.  It's not about how you should pay for it.  Those questions are to be answered ONLY after the first question is answered positively.

You can download a free Fire Truck Justification Kit to help answer the 1 question.  It's at

A successful justification means a focus on the 1 question that begins the process.  If you focus and answer only this question, your chances for a new truck increase.

Stay safe!
John R. Hill
First Bankers