Common Upfitting Mistakes
Upfitting is one of the most undervalued part of your business expenditure. If it’s undervalued, it can cost you in the long run. Time and time again we see businesses who purchase a new vehicle, & then throw something in the back quickly to get it on the road, one of many common upfitting mistakes. Rushing your upfit can jeopardize safety, incur additional costs, and in general be a pain rectify.
Vehicle upfitting should increase your business revenue, efficiency & instill confidence and happiness in your team as their mobile toolbox is right for their application needs. Upfitting of your van or truck involves looking at how your business performs on the road, and transports everything you need to the job site. From shelving, tool drawers, ladder racks, slip-in truck capsules, lighting; every upfitting option you choose to have installed in the vehicle will allow your business to perform at its best.
As a fleet manager, owner operator, lease company rep or franchise operator you need to factor in many things before getting your vehicle kitted out. We’re here to help in the overwhelming decision-making process and have developed some top tips to ensure that you’re prepared when starting the upfitting process and that you avoid these common upfitting mistakes.
If you think we have missed any common upfitting mistakes, or if any of our tips have helped you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
1. Consider What the Vehicle is Being Used For
First thing you need to look at is what is the vehicle being used for? Are you wanting the technicians to work in the rear? Is it only for transporting your equipment to the job site? Will a crew need to be transported in the vehicle? A good way to go about this is to meet with your team and get their feedback as they are the people who spend all day in the vehicles. Map out exactly what they need with them, and how they can be more efficient on the job site.
Next is to determine where the vehicle will be located. If you are in the heat, and working in the van/truck, will you require an A/C unit to keep the workspace cool and safe? If you are in the cold, think about getting insulated foam and a heater to trap the heat inside. If your team is not working from the van, what equipment needs to be transported? Are they wasting time making unnecessary trips due to lack or storage? Will they need to go under-ground? Will they need to tow machinery or trailers? It’s important to assess what the vehicle is going to be doing, before you purchase it. It is easier to size your vehicle based on your application and needs rather than trying to squeeze it all in too a vehicle that isn’t suitable.
2. Select the right vehicle for your business
Before you even consider your upfitting options, you need to ensure that you are selecting the right vehicle for your business. Is the vehicle going to be used only in the city? Or will it be going off road and need 4WD capabilities. Under/Over sizing vehicles happens all the time, we see vehicles that are either too big or too small for the client’s needs. Buying a vehicle that is too big can have negative effects such as increased mileage, increased purchase price or limited parking availability if all the work is located inner city.
Not only will oversizing a vehicle cost you more money upfront in the purchase, but will cost you more in fuel. Check out the below links to check out the different facts.
3. Don’t just consider the initial costs
By choosing the lowest cost of the upfit you are taking risks with the quality of equipment that is being installed into your vehicle. Are those cheaper shelves going to breakdown due to their inferior strength? Will you have to replace items down the road to get the vehicle back up and running? Having to continually repair your upfit is not only a disruption to your business, it also costs your business money. Paying for quality will save you in the long run.
4. Driver safety is the most important aspect to focus on
Ensuring your teams safety whilst on the road is paramount. Loose items in the rear will become projectiles in a sudden stop & equipment shifts when turning corners. Sterling specializes in driver safety. We have a wide range of products equipped to ensure everyone is safe; from safety partitions, tool drawers, tiedown straps, locking boxes and so much more. We specialize in layouts that will give all your equipment its own secure place.
The average cost of injury according to a 2018 a report from Injury Facts, states that the average cost of injury per year is $41,000. Other ways to help improve your company’s health and safety include installing grab handles in the right locations for three-point entry, and access ways to eliminate slipping or necessary lifting and twisting.
One good customer of ours found that by upgrading to a high roof van, from a low roof van, they were able to reduce back injuries enough to balance out the cost of purchasing a high roof van. Challenge yourself to think deeply about the problems you face, and about how investing a little more upfront in one area can save you a lot in a different area.
It’s not just a piece of equipment becoming a projectile that you have to watch out for. Overloading your vehicle can cause serious problems, not only for the increased repair and maintenance costs that you will incur; but ensuring there are no accidental roll overs due to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) being exceeded. We have products that are lightweight (while maintaining its durability) to ensure that you can get as much in your vehicle as possible, without exceeding your GVWR.
Contact us, and we can share with you a scenario where one of our products saved a driver during a roll over
5. Don’t Underestimate Security
We as people often have the ‘it’ll be right’ attitude when it comes to the security of your vehicle, and the contents inside. There is nothing more frustrating than losing a technician for a day while they do a shopping trip to your local industrial tool store to buy all new tools. By adding a simple Puck Lock, or Tufloc you can avoid having to replace all the equipment in the vehicle if a break in occurs. It’s the old saying of “spending money, to save money”. Even the visual of an additional lock will be enough to deter some opportunist. With additional security locks you can be rest assured that you have done everything you can to keep your equipment safe.
6. Selector Packages/Standardization
We have helped many fleet managers by offering a simple and effective solution when it comes to their fleet – Standardization. Not only does it make the repeat purchasing decision simple, it also allows for uniformity within the fleet. This will enable technicians to move from vehicle-to-vehicle and not waste time looking for equipment.
For those technicians that have a different need within the fleet, Selector Packages are simple and efficient as it gives them the same base to work off, whilst allowing the option to customize the smaller details.
7. In-depth Knowledge
We are here to help you! We want to work with you to ensure that you get what you need. We have been in business for over 18 years and can assist you with layouts, designs, customization and help make the process as easy as possible for you.
We can manage every aspect of your vehicle transformation: vehicle collection, customization design and planning, implementation, signage and delivery to your chosen location. If your vehicle requires something out of the ordinary, just ask and we can make it happen. Too many times we see fleet managers have multiple suppliers which ends up costing you time and money.
9. In person or Virtual Demonstrations
If you like what you see on the website, or hear something over the phone, but need more detail we can provide this. If you’re located in Vancouver, BC we can bring a demonstration vehicle to you to show off just how great the products we install are. If you are in another location we can arrange for a virtual demo and take you through our various products before you make the purchase. We hope this will put your mind to rest knowing that you are partnering with a reputable company that only offers the best products and services.
Still not sure? We can give you a variety of customer references for you to reach out to!
We also offer shipping directly to your door anywhere in North America!
10. How long does it all take?
A vehicle off the road isn’t making you money. A common question we get is “how long will I have to wait”. With our ability to work on multiple vehicles at once, this ensures customers won’t have to wait weeks for their transformation. We have the fastest turnaround times in the Canadian vehicle upfit industry and our ability to do everything on one site reduces the risk of transit damage to vehicles.
Bonus Tip: We have multiple locations; how can we make it work?
If you’re not located in the vicinity of Sterling Fleet Outfitters, we can arrange for a trusted service advisor to compete the install in your city, or we can ship the kit directly to your door and provide a full installation guide. We have a dedicated customer service rep for you to communicate with if you have any questions throughout the build.
Upfitting Guide To help with the upfitting process, we have created a ‘Getting Started’ guide which allows you to provide us with key information about the type of upfitting you are looking for. Our expert team will then review the document and work with you to achieve the best possible upfit and to avoid common upfitting mistakes.
We hope our top tips of avoiding common upfitting mistakes help with your upfitting process. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We look forward to working with you on your upfitting journey.