After eliminating local dealers, it took another three weeks to work my way through the used accessible van ads on my local Craigslist. There weren’t a lot of listings on Craigslist during the period when I was looking, maybe no more than six or so, and I probably had contact with the owners — or putative owners — of a total of five vans. Having a long lead time for a search would definitely be an advantage. The pickings at any given time were pretty slim.
I’d also checked other local Internet listings, with no luck, and made a few other calls around town. Our local (theoretically-consumer-oriented) mega-used-car dealership seemed surprised — and maybe a little interested — at the hint that there might be a market for used accessible vans, but that obviously wasn’t an option for us immediately.
My search for a van was turning out to be more time-consuming and ranging farther afield than I had expected. Having struck out at my local dealers and on Craigslist, though, I knew what the next step was.
It was Disabled Dealer. I’d seen the “magazine” at an expo in California; it’s like the weekly used car listings, usually with photos, that you can pick up at convenience stores, except for all kinds of “disabled” goods. They’re online, now, too, with national listings.
It’s not a particularly felicitous website, and the search function is so bad as to be useless. Maybe Disabled Dealer is aware of this — eventually you’ll end up on a page with this message:
If your search doesn’t locate what you are looking for, subscribe to your local Disabled Dealer Magazine in print for more listings.
Thanks, guys — that’s just what I want to see when I’m sitting in front of my computer, ready to buy.
I got zero results searching for used-van-pennsylvania, but listings all over the place when I typed in “van.” Since you can’t search on location, or even “used” vs “new,” expect to spend a lot of time ploughing through stuff you have no interest in.
(Parenthetically, it’s got to be virtually impossible to either sell or buy individual pieces of equipment — wheelchairs, bars, adaptive items — on this website. There’s just no convenient way to find those listings — you’d better know exactly the word the search uses or you’re out of luck. Type in “wheelchair” and you get a ton of van listings, some employment, financing offers and house listings, and, oh, yeah, eventually some wheelchairs. Not being able to specify even the state is another real killer here, too. But I digress.)
So the Disabled Dealer search was slow and tedious, but eventually it did turn up one listing in my state that looked promising. And that is the subject of Part 6 — Down to the Nitty-Gritty.
Photo from Flickr