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DIY Upfits Should Be Considered Carefully
DIY Vehicle Upfits Should be Considered Carefully
April 17, 2019

Over the last two decades of upfitting trucks and vans for fleets and the trades, you can bet we’ve seen plenty of “custom”, Do-It-Yourself work come into our facilities.  Scrap wood shelving, bungee cord tank racks, and boat cleats used as tie downs are just some of the “improvements” that owners and operators have used (successfully and unsuccessfully) to get the job done. 

Without sounding judgmental, though, there’s some critical problems that can occur when people decide to upfit a truck or van themselves and don’t have the background in fabrication or access to the right materials.  Let’s look at a few reasons why it makes more sense to have professionals build your work vehicle…

  • Safety. There’s simply no getting around this one.  Now more than ever, people are litigious, and a commercial vehicle that is involved in an accident is going to be scrutinized by law enforcement whenever an incident occurs.  “Homemade” shelves that don’t offer adequate support for the load they are carrying, shifting loads during a hard stop, or cargo that potentially can injure a driver or a passenger in the event of a collision all can result in legal actions.  The financial results can be devastating to small companies and even larger ones can find themselves paying for years through higher insurance premiums. 

The solution?  Having all your fleet and commercial vehicle upfitting done by a licensed facility, like Expertec, and making sure that all company vehicles are maintained by competent, trained staff – whether your company does it in-house or a certified shop. 

  • It might be easy to rationalize that bolting together a few shelves or some cargo tie-downs on the weekend is a cost-effective way to outfit your truck or van for commercial work, but let’s take a harder look at that.  You’re a professional and get paid skilled wages.  Even if you “did it for free” on the weekend, that took your time.  Time you could have been playing with the kids, spending time with your family, making memories with friends or enjoying your hobbies. 

The Solution?  It might be easy to think of “off duty” labor as “free” but the fact is, personal time is invaluable time.  What might take a competent installer two hours in our facility often takes inexperienced folks, even ones who know their ways around a toolbox and a vehicle, all day.  Besides, how many times will you have to “make an adjustment” to ensure your work is perfect?  How many times will that adjustment be during your workday?  In our experience, it’s far more cost effective to have our expert team do it once, the right way, than for inexperienced installers to do it three times the wrong way.

  • The fact is, “do it yourself” projects in vehicles – especially work vehicles – rarely last even a fraction of the time that purpose-built products do.  Of course people have been welding up ladder racks for decades, but how do you protect the metal on those racks once built?  The number of welders with powder coating facilities at their disposal is limited!  Inside a work van, it’s exactly the same – sure, you can knock together some shelving out of wood, but can that stand up to years of abuse, heavy tools, and shifting loads?  The answer, of course, is no.

The Solution? Purpose-built and specially installed items like shelving, racks, and even air compressors and power inverters offer the ability to be permanently installed in a truck or van.  More importantly, because they are designed to be used in a specific platform, like, say, a Transit van, they take up far less room than a “homemade” version that tries to do the same job.  The fact these units are usually far lighter also means the vehicle will have increased functionality in areas such as fuel economy and actual payload. 

DIY Vehicle Upfits Should be Considered CarefullyFor commercial vehicles purposes, we suggest having upfitting done by trained vehicle technicians at a licensed facility, like Expertec.

These are just a few the ways some companies make a critical mistake in their planning when they bring a new vehicle into the fleet.  The fact is, it’s far easier and ultimately less expensive to have your truck or van outfitted by a professional team like Expertec.  The results are safer, more cost effective vehicles that will perform far longer than any “do it yourself” solution can ever give you.