Overloading Concerns vs Body Type

After being in the car business only a year, I took the TMI Medium Duty Training Course because I wanted to learn more about trucks and how to help customers buy the right truck. We didn't stock commercial trucks. It is a home study course and if you study, it is easy to get a good score and pass the course. Shortly after passing the course, I got to work with a local business to give them a quote on a medium duty beverage truck to deliver beer or soda. With my new found knowledge, I chose the right GVWR, the specially hardened frame because I wanted to make sure that we got the right truck and that it wouldn't be overloaded.

After presenting the owner with my estimate and findings, he just laughed at me! I was devastated. When he stopped laughing, he told me that it was way too much truck. He didn't need all that because he had a constantly decreasing load. He said that they load it up in the morning and it is dropping stuff off at every stop, so even though it may be overloaded first thing out, it is under the rating in short order. Choosing the lower GVWR truck would allow him to save several thousand dollars and he has been doing this same thing for many years. That lesson has stayed with me for all these years and I think about it whenever someone wants to overload their truck.

There are three pictures in this article. One is a flatbed, the other is a van body and last is a service body with some extra compartments. I tell people that if you want to overload a truck, choose the flatbed or van body but not the service body. The reason is that the flatbed and van body are essentially delivery vehicles. They pick things up, take them somewhere and drop them off. They are generally not loaded all the time. The service body is the exception. It is loaded 100% of the time and considering the number and depth of compartments (I like to call them closets), there is a lot of stuff that can go in there and it rarely comes out and when it does, it is a brief exit. The service body is also generally a heavy tool carrier, so it is carrying heavy items in those closets. I have seen a lot of overloaded trucks, but I hate seeing an overloaded service body because it can be very dangerous. The fact that it is loaded all the time is the key. In addition to that, the back end is loaded up some more.

Another thing to consider is that generally speaking the truck chassis is not normally designed to run at 100% GVWR 100% of the time. Yet another consideration is the added stress and stability of the tires, brakes and other essential components that support and stabilize the truck. Considering the overloaded trucks I have seen over the years, I tend to be a stickler about the service body and overloading. Of course, I cannot prevent it, but I can express concern, try my best to steer the customer to the right vehicle, get the disclosure signed, and try and stock the right truck for the body type. So, for the service body shown here with the extra compartments on top, I would prefer it being on the F450 or F550 rather than the F350. I wouldn't turn a sale down on the F350 depending on what they intended to carry, but I probably would not have that in stock.

The flatbed shown is on an F350 and in round numbers will carry about 4,500 lbs., so if someone said they wanted to carry 6,000 lbs., this is not the right truck. They would need the F450 flatbed. Even though the flatbed might be overloaded a bit on occasion, to overload it that much would not do at all. Then, if they say they will carry 6,000 lbs., I am thinking it might be more like 7,000 lbs. so I want to ensure that the right truck is pointed out clearly and why. Since van bodies and flatbeds are very similar in how they are used, all of this logic will apply to the van body the same way.

Think about the kind of body the customer needs, the kind of load they typically carry and how that vehicle is generally used. The service body and those type of vehicles that will be loaded 100% of the time should be the biggest concern. What you know and how you apply that knowledge can make a major difference.

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