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Bottom Line on Upfitting Work Trucks and Vans
The Bottom Line on Upfitting Work Trucks and Vans
October 7, 2019

It’s no secret that work trucks (and vans) live hard lives.  Loads of miles, sometimes deferred maintenance, and plenty of dents and dings often mark the life of a vehicle in the trades or used by fleets.  The question we are so often asked, in a variety of ways, is simple: “Is upfitting a truck or van worth it?”

Our answer is always the same – Absolutely!

There’s more to it than that, though.  Deciding to spend business capital on a new vehicle is a big decision in the first place, but when you consider the additional costs of upfitting that truck or van to do a specific job – say, electrical contracting – you have to factor in more money.

Here’s where many customers get worried – Canada eats vehicles.  Yes, we’re talking about salt in the slush on the road for up to six months every year.  You can’t get around it and there’s only so many ways you can mitigate it.  For many people, upfitting that truck or van and knowing it will be rusted away to nothing in a decade is a big turnoff.

There’s another way to look at it, though, and that’s to appreciate that while your new vehicle has a “shelf life” measured in, let’s say,  a decade, how much more work can you get done in that decade by having a truck or van that makes you and your team more efficient?

Let’s assume there are, on average, 260 “workdays” in a year.  That gives us 2600 in a decade.

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Now, let’s look at some real metrics of how the job is done.

A well appointed, properly outfitted work truck or van is going to make you and your staff more efficient.  How much?  That is, of course, open for debate.  What we do know, after over a decade of upfitting fleets, is a vehicle set up to do the job saves time.  Less time in travel, less time looking for parts or tools, and less time loading and unloading.  Agreed?

Now, if we only saved that owner half an hour each day by ensuring they were more efficient in getting work done, over the same decade timespan, that’s 1300 hours.

Nuevoo.ca lists the average salaries of skilled labor in Canada as $18.49/hour.  If we only assumed one worker was using that truck or van, then over that decade long period, we will have saved, through efficiency, over $24,000!

Real money.  Real results.

Now, there are always doubters whenever we share ideas like this, and to be sure, we’d never guarantee this type of savings or efficiency improvements, but this example is at least as pertinent as the argument against upfitting based on “resale” value.

Another way to look at upfitting a truck or van for the job is this – are you paying your employees to work or to drive?  “Windshield time” might be pushed back to your customers in terms of fuel surcharges or service call minimums, but in the end, your company is looking for efficiency, not simply paying your team to drive somewhere.  It’s worth thinking about when it comes to understanding how a company truck or van can allow more work to get done over the lifetime of that asset.

One of the hallmarks of our philosophy at Expertec has always been to provide all of our customers with options.  We’d never give just one way for them to achieve their goals.  The very nature of business – in any industry – is every competitor in that field feels their system is better.

That’s true whether you’re an electrician or a commercial glass installer, and it helps to define your own company culture for your clients.

At Expertec, we don’t just sell van shelving or ladder racks or service bodies, we sell solutions – the ones you need – and we sell those solutions with the options you feel service your business the best.