But that’s not all. If it’s got wheels, a motor or both, he’s probably sold it over the course of his 27-year career.
The Discovery Bay resident acquires repossessed assets, then fixes and shines them up and resells them for profit. While he used to resell the assets through auction houses, Hensley now runs his business solely through eBay, selling dozens of units and an average of 65 Harleys per month through the online auction site.
“We sell the most unique items,” Hensley said. “Rare cars, collector bikes, jet skis, horse trailers – the list goes on. New products are coming in daily, and most of the inventory is posted online within a week. We run seven-day, no-reserve auctions, so the person with the highest bids get the unit.”
Hensley collects units through bank and corporate repossessions, dealer trade-ins and local municipalities. Items currently up for bid include a 2003 Mercedes-Benz G-Class G500 G Wagon, a 1989 Vanhool 54-passenger bus and a 2006 Harley-Davidson Touring Electra Glide Classic.
Since the unit goes to the highest bidder, there are plenty of deals to be made. Hensley and his son Travis always guess what an item will go for, but sometimes it goes for less than expected, and sometimes the bidding war escalates and Nationwide Fleet brings in $10,000 more than expected. The Hensley family averages $6 million in sales annually since moving the business online.
In the early years, Tim ran ads in newspapers to announce his auctions; his offerings would occasionally attract interest from out of state. But now, Nationwide Fleet deals regularly with international clients from Australia to Switzerland.
“I remember when getting a call from someone in Denver was a big deal,” Tim said. “That was huge. But now, we’re doing business with people from all over the world. I’ve sold boats to people in Hong Kong; Harleys to folks in New Zealand. There is a college, the Ohio Technical Institute, that buys a lot of bikes for the students to train on. When I was first told about eBay, I thought, ‘Who is going to buy a car without getting a chance to sit in it, smell it, touch it?’ But people trust in our services.”
Since moving the business to eBay in 2008, Nationwide Fleet has garnered the “Top-rated Seller” distinction, boasting more than 1,000 sales and a customer feedback score of 100 percent. Satisfied customers have been volunteering praises for years. “These guys were great to work with. Helped us in every way,” raved a customer who bought a 2006 Weekend Warrior 3000 Toy Hauler earlier this month. “Another Flawless Transaction. Will Be Back. Thanks!” posted a satisfied repeat customer who purchased a Harley Softail.
Despite a diverse, international fan base, Tim does little local business. But when he does, customers are often surprised to find such an eclectic collection of products in the back roads of Byron. While the Hensleys own a large garage for storing and reconditioning products, no products are sold directly from the home base. Clients occasionally stop by to look over a potential purchase, but all sales are done through the Internet.
To check out Nationwide Fleet’s latest offerings, visit www.nationwide-fleet.com. For more information, call Tim at 925-980-9803 or Travis at 925-437-9820.