Nice Rugby Dump with Tommy Lift-N-Dump

Larry Zech with Harbor Truck Bodies sent me these shots of a Rugby 2-3 yard dump with fold-down sides and a Tommy Lift-N-Dump dumping liftgate. These shots really show off the usefulness of the liftgate and it doubles as a dumping tailgate when needed. This unit also has a tarp mounted in the cab guard and a hitch. Joel Cryer, the Fleet/BusinessLink Manager is the recipient of this great truck. Joel is the manager at Carson Dodge in Carson City, Nevada. You can reach him at 888-883-2028. Visit their website at www.carson-jeep.com.


Now, That's A Road Hazard!

I've seen a few things go through tires and I'm certain that Fairfield Tire Service has seen hundreds more. In visiting their store recently, I found a unique road hazard that took out a low profile tire: An adjustable wrench! I ask myself, "how in the world did that happen?" There must be a way, for there it is!


When You're Carrying Heavy Things. . .

When you're carrying heavy things like this load of rebar, you need a heavy duty chassis, and in this case, a heavy duty rack! Look at all those crossbars! In addition, it is made out of 2"x3" material. In this case this rack is sitting on a GM4500 crew cab with a contractor body. Considering that there is probably about 3,000 lbs. on the rack, it looks like the right choice for this job.

SRW Cutaway Van Body with Aluminum Wheels

I saw this truck the other day and just had to take some shots of it. I have seen a great number of cutaway van bodies, but so very few with nice aluminum wheels on it. And, what a difference they make in the way the truck looks. In this case, the wheels are pretty dirty, especially the front with brake dust, but they still make the truck look better than it would be without them.

This is also such a great unit because it is a single rear wheel van body made with FRP panels, and it has a Tommy Liftgate as well. Even though this unit is low to the ground, when you have heavy things to load, a liftgate is the way. This unit is owned by O'Connell Jetting Systems of Benicia, CA. They specialize in pressure washing systems. You can call them at 800-320-4848 and please check out their website at www.oconnelljettingsystems.com.


A Better Solution For The Typical Service Body?

Why should we let the First Response, Fire & Rescue have all the really cool and useful bodies?
I think that this particular body is a perfect service body to be well used by almost any service industry from mechanics to electricians to emergency road service.

I look at these pictures and I ignore the emergency red lights, yet I delight in the rest of it. Recently I wrote of the aluminum shutter doors on van bodies and other units and how valuable they are compared to typical, more common doors. On these First Response vehicles, the shutter door is very common and demonstrates its usefulness very nicely.

The top photo shows so nicely the fully open compartments with great, easily moveable shelving. I love the finish on the inside, the smart lighting, and especially the larger than normal compartments for maximum size storage of the important cargo each carries in service bodies. Notice also how the shutter doors roll up inside at the top of the compartment, giving up-close access. No more doors in the way to reach around or over. Notice them also closed and secure and they may be painted body color or left as aluminum finish.

Notice at the rear, the very nice and deep bumper and the great rear compartment that is fully accessed with a bedslider to make it extremely functional for even taller items. Another thing I love about this body is that it is approximately cab height, so causes no wind resistance, and looks great on the chassis. It is available for single rear and dual rear units as desired.

The unit shown was manufactured by Warner Bodies of Noblesville, Indiana. Warner Bodies was founded in 1939. You can see more examples of this kind of body at www.warnerbodies.com. You may call them at 317-773-2100.


Cab Chassis Frame vs Box Off Pickup Frame

In these photos it is easy to see the difference in frames comparing the pickup with the bed removed and a true cab chassis. The pickup box delete truck is exactly that: a pickup built without the pickup bed so a different body can be installed. The major manufacturers certify these as "box off" trucks and for all intents and purposes call them chassis cabs.

The true cab chassis has a straight rail frame of the same height and a standardized width of 34" because it is designed specifically to have aftermarket bodies of every different kind installed. This makes mounting bodies more uniform and it makes it easy to swap one from a Ford to a Chevy to a Dodge to an Isuzu to a Hino to a International and they are all so similar in dimensions and basic design for the body application.

The pickup frame is somewhat wider generally and is not usually flat. This makes it more challenging in various body applications and especially in swapping them from one manufacturer to the next. They are generally also limited to 56" CA and so typically take only an 8' bed or body whereas the chassis cab comes in various cab-to-axle dimensions to accommodate a wide variety of bodies.

This is too basic for many of you, but when I ran across these photos, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to show these two frame styles.


When I Hear Someone Say "Sale-Proof," I Get Excited!!

This is a rare combination--at least on dealer's lots. It is a "low pro" service body with a cargo bed enclosure. In this case it is a 3-piece cargo bed enclosure, which when opened, opens up two thirds of the bed area. It is a "low pro" because the top of the lids is approximately at the bottom of the rear window compared to the standard height body where the lids are at about the middle of the rear window. It is rare to find the low pro and the cargo bed enclosure. Matter of fact, I would probably hit 200 truck dealers and not find one.

I sold two of these once, or at least this is how they ended up. So the manager called me and told me they were "sale-proof" and he was unhappy about receiving them. I said I would find a way to take care of it, but before I could do that, someone came in and bought both of them. So, when people tell me sale-proof, I get excited because time and time again, when I have heard that, it was a very short time before they were sold. Everything is saleable.

And. . . I think this low pro and cargo bed enclosure is a great unit! I think it is more than saleable, and an excellent choice for stock. Of course, that would only be for the bold. . .


A Twist On A Combo Body From Harbor Truck

This is a little twist on a combo body from Harbor Truck Bodies in Brea, CA. Harbor calls this the ComboMaster Body and the twists are these:

This unit has a horizontal series on the curbside and vertical series on the streetside. It is very unusual to see a horizontal series on a combo body--matter of fact, this is the first I have seen in all the years I have been around bodies. Horizontal series means that the horizontal compartment extends beyond the normal place just over the wheel well and usually it extends to the end of the body to the rear and then instead of having a vertical door, there is a small square door and compartment.

In the case of the combo body, there is no rear vertical compartment, so in this case the horizontal compartment is extended through the second vertical compartment to the front and the smaller square compartment below. Very interesting mix on compartments. This style allows for longer tools and other objects to be stored in the much longer horizontal compartment.

The other twist which has become more common as time moves forward is the fold-down gates and then the spray-on liner has become very popular too. This particular body also has the Master Lock System, Stainless Steel Open Top Lids and a Forklift Loadable Rack which is bolted, not welded on and has no posts at the rear allowing full use of the work area which makes the combo such a popular unit.

Check out all the offerings at www.htbi.net or call Harbor at 800-433-9452. Tell them the blog sent you!


The Littlest Service Body from Warner Bodies

This is the Warner Bodies' Junior Select Series, and it is built to store and lock tools in its compartment while retaining the versatility of the smaller chassis it sits on. It could very well be the littlest service body.


• Warner Bodies' exclusive 5-year warranty guarantees life of unit
• Aluminum treadplate compartment tops give long lasting, abrasion resistant work area
• Stainless Steel lockable latches provide superior security and long life
• Lift and lock tailgate allows one-handed operation
• A60 Galvanneal steel has 50% more rust resistance than industry standards
• Stronger doors from double panel construction
• Clip on automotive door seals provide watertight compartments

Popular Options:

• Aluminum front rock guards eliminate paint chips from flying debris
• Sliding drawer unit in horizontal compartment allows for organized storage
• Top opening compartment for additional storage
• Master locking system provides improved ease-of-use and increased security
• Full FMVSS light system increases safety on the road and trail

See all the great bodies available from Warner Bodies, at www.warnerbodies.com. You can also call them at 317-773-2100.


A Bit Of Advice To Make More Sales - Part 3

Based on the response to the first article on this subject, I've decided to offer some other insights as I observe body reps calling on me in our capacity as managing consultants at a dealership commercial truck department. The first article was in two parts and the first part dealt with body company reps showing up without an appointment or a phone call. The second part dealt with a few things but mainly stated there was no selling being done, but in and out quickly. Even if you're not a body rep, you may find these insights valuable.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night and wrote down this phrase: "Tell me how to use it, how it will benefit the end user, how I can sell it and how it will benefit me." I'll tell you how that came to me so it makes more sense.

A body company has some 2008 van bodies already mounted on cutaway units they want to move. I got a printout of what they are and some of the specs. I see that they are odd sizes. The height very low on several and they are FRP bodies. They are 10' and 12' models on dual rear wheel cutaway chassis. With all my experience (I have a lot, but know that I can learn so much more), I am struggling trying to figure out how I might benefit from buying these. I get no help from the rep. No suggestions. Only this: they are negotiable.

Okay, so if I could buy them for a really good price, what then? What would I do with them? Who would I market them to? What would the end user use them for? What are the benefits of this combination of specs? Who else buys these and why? What options are available that might enhance this offering? Price is insignificant in comparison to these questions.

One would get the assumption that the reps are so used to just taking orders when times were good, that they have forgotten selling skills. I am certainly not hearing them. I did choose only one of the several of these units that are available and made a low offer. Frankly, I don't care if they turn it down, but if they take it, I will find a way to market that one piece. In the meantime, the clock is ticking on the other units.

I wish them well, of course. Yet, what would help more than anything is a different strategy that involves selling the benefits and features and value. This would allow them to help a dealer see an opportunity and know what to do with it and at the same time, the body company would move the unit much faster saving flooring costs and sell it for a better price since they would have something to sell besides price.

I also know of other body companies who have left over items, cancelled sale items, etc. that they want to move. A list of what they are and what the special price is will not do the job unless I have a customer in front of me asking for that item. The odds are not in their favor, nor mine. One better approach would be a separate flyer or email for a specific item with photos, features, benefits, people who use them and how they like it and so on. Price doesn't draw much. It is a secondary issue after interest in the item. Focus on the interest on the item and the price will be less of an issue.


The Premium Flatbed

This photo brought back some memories. About a year after I started my first commercial truck operation in Santa Rosa, CA, I wanted a flatbed that we could sort of use as a branding tool. I called it the "premium flatbed." The one in the photo above was built by Bob Dias at North Bay Truck Body in Cordelia, CA and he helped me write the specs for the body. I had all the body companies I dealt with build one to those specs and then we sold a serious number of them over the years.

The general specs were tapered headboard with mesh screen, tapered Forklift loadable, bolted-on, not welded on rack, hitch and wiring, short contractor style gates around the bed, cross members on 12" centers, painted black gloss, tie down hooks under rail, etc. We even went so far as to weld in short pipe sections into the rack for the pins to mount the crossbars so that no water could get into the rack tubing.

In this case, the unit has a Rugby dump hoist with subframe. The vast majority of the premium flatbeds we sold were non-dumping. This particular unit was built for my second commercial truck operation at Woodard Chevrolet in Fairfield, CA and was mounted on the 15,000 GVWR 3500HD. A sweet combination.

If you like this bed and want one for your operation, just call Bob Dias at 707-864-2700 and tell him you want a Minion Premium Flatbed. He will know what you mean.


Cargo Van Solutions from Extendo Bed Co.

Cargo Vans are great work units. They hold a lot of stuff and all in a relatively compact size. The only problem is climbing in there and accessing the items stored. Here are three ideas for solutions to make that an easy thing, and perhaps you might never need to crawl in there ever again. Just open the door and slide it out, pick your stuff and slide it back in. It couldn't be easier

These solutions are from Extendo Bed Co., of Caldwell, Idaho. You can reach them at 800-752-0706 and please visit their website for many, many interesting solutions for your business at www.extendobed.com.


Our Signature Truck Is A Red Beauty

This photo has sort of become the Commercial Truck Success signature photo. It's like having a mascot. It happens to be a Ford/International Tilt Cab. In this case it is the Ford LCF. It's not that were promoting Ford, but we are not not promoting Ford either.

We have this unit on our Blog header, and in other online products. It is there because it is a great unit that promotes upscale commercial trucks. It is not white. We love color in commercial trucks. It has a great body. In this case it happens to be a Harbor Truck Bodies 56" tall 14' long Combo Body with a forklift loadable rack in matching paint, treadbrite lid covers and painted to match the cab. It is a tilt cab truck which we are a fan of because of many positive features and benefits to customers, especially turning radius and shorter overall length. The truck has Alcoa Aluminum Wheels. In this case they are 19.5" wheels. We are huge fans of Alcoa wheels on commercial trucks.

All in all, this is a great unit and we are happy to show it off to the world. This photo was taken at Ron DuPratt Ford in Dixon, CA who owned this truck for a time. Here's to great commercial trucks.


A Truly Beautiful Dealership Design

This is one of the most beautiful dealerships I have ever seen. The design just takes my breath away. Everywhere I look, I see something so interesting, from the many levels, beautiful landscaping, to the awesome service drive, to the spectacular sales training room. The interior is as interesting as the exterior. Notice the high ceilings with skylights and standard height walls with displays on top creating such a visual delight whatever direction you might look.

This dealership is Wittmeier Ford and Wittmeier Honda in Chico, CA and separated by a driveway is Wittmeier Chevrolet. It is the Ford store that I relish each time I have visited over a period of many years. I have never even for a moment taken this design for granted. I just love to look around and take it all in with appreciation for the care and interest Ed Wittmeier had in putting this dealership together. It is spectacular to me. I hope you enjoy the slide show!

Check out their website at www.wittmeier.com.


Prime Design Aluminum Racks

Prime Design Aluminum Racks makes racks for every vehicle and here are just two great examples of their offerings. Prime Design Aluminum Racks is located in West Saint Paul, MN and they can be reached at 651-552-8554. Please visit their website for more information and photos at www.primedesign.net.


You Gotta Love A Nice, Tight Line

I couldn't help myself in taking this photo of the retail lot guy lining up the driver to make sure that all those units are exactly in line. I've seen other dealers take this to the extreme and use chalk lines.

How important is that?

So many car dealers speak two things to their driving public:

1. I have a lot of them!
2. I know how to line them up.

That is so good. I hope it helps.


Some Thoughts On Business

In talking with a number of people and watching the sales numbers, I've come to learn a few things about moving forward in a down economy that really, apply to any economy. Here are some ideas and thoughts to ponder:

  • Avoid, as if it were the plague, complaining people. They are contagious! Keep away from them. Do not listen except for a few moments of polite listening, then run quickly away. If possible inject something positive to them; however, most of the time, they will reject it. If you hear yourself start to complain about anything, shut up immediately and say something positive and uplifting no matter what it may be. Let there be zero tolerance for complaints and complainers. You will be amazed what this will do for you immediately.
  • Don't believe all the news. Matter of fact, make up your own news the way you want it. That's pretty much what they are doing because in the news you are almost always hearing bad news. Heck with that! I stopped reading the newspaper and watching the TV news about 5 years ago. I don't need any negativity regardless of how important the news people think it may be.
  • Now that we have the negativity under control, let's move out toward moving the needle to increase business. First up: visualize success, think success, feel success. Picture yourself moving units out the door, people being given new tools to do a better job in their businesses. Expect to hear yes instead of no. Ignore no's. Find a way to create yes's. Start it in your head.
  • Try new things. Be open to inspirations. When you are thinking and visualizing positive things, you will get inspirations. Pay attention to them. They will bring you answers you've been looking for.
  • Do the best you can with what you have where you are now. Don't be concerned about what you don't have or who is not helping you, etc. Just do the best job you can possibly do where you are now. Focus on quality work.
  • Create networks. Think creatively instead of competitively. Find ways to encourage partnerships and find new ways to network with others. Join the Chamber of Commerce and attend the mixers regularly. Consistency will get you a lot of business. You might want to join surrounding community Chambers as well. It may not pay off immediately, but will in the longer term very well. Network with other businesses. Create some joint promotions, offsite displays, etc. How can you help someone else and have the net effect of helping you at the same time. Focus on helping them and it will come.
  • Find some joy, fun and laughter every day. Watch an inspiring, uplifting movie or video. Laugh out loud. Decide you will have joy in your life.
  • Keep moving. Keep your marketing moving. Keep your prospecting moving. Keep your networking moving. If you're not making sales, you're making friends and building in influence.
  • Keep learning. Learn from the best. I am always reading, studying and listening and watching to learn something new or something old stated in a new way that helps me move forward. I am becoming more. That is more important than anything else. To get more, you must become more--and you must give more. See what happens when you focus on giving others to be of service--especially when there may not appear to be anything in it for you immediately.
  • Keep expanding. A business is either growing or dying. It is impossible for it to remain static. I've heard a couple of our website prospects say that they have all the business they want and they do not want any more business. That isn't a business. A business is always expanding in one way or another. It may not be expanding in sales, but it needs to be expanding somewhere. A business can expand its influence in a number of ways and only one of those would be sales.

To summarize, stop listening to all the negative things regardless of what they are and focus on the good things no matter what they are. See what you want and focus on it. Do the best you can do with what you have to work with, where you are right now with no concerns about what you do not have. Experience joy and laughter. Keep learning and keep moving and keep expanding.


Steel Gates On Harbor Flatbed

Here's a couple shots of a nice Dodge 4500 Crew Cab with Harbor Truck Bodies' new flatbed with steel gates and a Waltco Flipaway liftgate and underbed boxes.

Harbor recently began building their own flatbeds. Previously it was very rare to see their flatbeds adorned with steel gates, but here is proof positive they exist! They look great too! Thanks to Larry Zech from Harbor for the shots. Call Larry at 707-576-1369.


Nice Landscape Dump From North Bay

This is a nice Landscape Dump from North Bay Truck Body in Cordelia, CA.

What I like about this is the color! It's not white. I also love the super cab chassis, the matching body color. It has 36" gates, so the top is only a couple of inches above the cab. It has a built in tarp system and that is a great option.

Check out the great dump combinations that North Bay makes at www.nbtb.com, or call Bob Dias, owner at 707-864-2700.


A Bit Of Advice To Make More Sales, Parts 1 & 2

This is a bit of advice to help body companies make more sales with their customers and potential customers. I'm sure it will apply to pretty much any sales wherever you are.

I'm actively managing a dealership as part of our company's consulting program, so I'm acting in the same capacity as a commercial truck department manager would. I did this for a lot of years prior to leaving the dealership business. Then, I went to work for a body company for 10 years. When I first started, I made a list of what I disliked about body companies and I made it my strategy to not do any of those things and to make it known to my prospects.

First on the list was this: Never show up without an appointment!

I tell you that this one rule served me so well it was flat amazing. I broke it on purpose twice in 10 years to see what would happen and it was terrible. It is true that I might be passing through an area and on the spur of the moment decide that I would like to stop in, and here is how I would handle that: I would pull over and park, contact the manager and say I was in the area and would it be okay if I stopped by? Frankly, about 50% of the time, they said it was not a good time and I said, thank you and I'll call you again soon. Then, I'm back on the road. No harm, no foul.

Yesterday was a very busy day in a number of ways. The phone was going, I had appointments offsite and much more. Three body reps just decided to stop by unannounced. Three! Not one phone call, not one appointment. That is just so rude it is ridiculous. In addition--and here's the most important part--it is not conducive to getting my business. I am buying. I would have loved to spend some time with them talking about different ideas to improve sales--ours and theirs. Instead, they got nothing and I got nothing.

Then, I go in early this morning to get a couple things faxed and in pops yet another body rep from a company 500 miles away. I was polite, but quick with him. See ya. I like the company and the products, but their image is fading quickly because their own rep lacks basic courtesy himself.

Where is the training for these folks? I hope you sales reps out there reading this are better. Make an appointment. Give common courtesy. Treat them as you would want to be treated yourself. The Golden Rule is Golden. You want my business? Make an appointment and lets focus together. Do not show up without permission. You would be better off to send an email blast and save the fuel and the mileage!


A bonus sales suggestion for body reps (or owners).

Pay attention. Don't take no for an answer. Make suggestions. Over and over if you have to, but make suggestions. I sold so many bodies that way it was like magic. Pay attention to their inventory. Write it all down. Know their inventory. It was my strategy as a body rep and teaching body reps. I used to know my clients inventory better than they did. You can ask them, they will tell you it was true. Why? I knew what to suggest to make another sale. I always knew what my company wanted to move, but I focused on what would move the needle for my client. I could give you tons of stories of things that got sold that way and made the dealer a bunch of money too.

In today's market, it is a piece of cake to get rid of a body rep. Just tell them, the market sucks, nothing is selling, you're not buying and they will be out of there in just a few minutes. Sad, but true. They're believing it because they are hearing it a lot.

Matter of fact, there is almost zero selling at all with any reps that have been by except maybe one. That's not good. I know they know how to sell, but they aren't selling. They've given up. I talked with one rep yesterday and did not hear one suggestion, or offer to buy anything. What's up with that? You gotta be an ant in this time. Find a way!

Start finding ways to help the dealer move the needle. If there is a manager who is skilled, that should be easier than you might think. For example, I am quite open to suggestions even with all the knowledge I have. I am always looking for an opportunity. So, show me some! You never know what might light my fire and solve your problem at the same time and you for sure won't know if you never try. Matter of fact, it is so sad that most body reps don't even bother sending out their inventory lists anymore. Of course, that is not a great selling strategy anyway, but throw enough noodles to the wall and some might stick.

See a dealer with an out of balance inventory? See how you can help them right it and help you at the same time. It may not be the best gross you'll make, but you'll make some gross! As an example, I happen to have 5 inherited Landscape dump bodies all at the same time. Two would be great, but five is ridiculous. I would be totally open to some creative solutions there. Swap out the body, sell a new body, make a deal, create a long-term customer!

Got a customer who has had a body for a very, very long time? Find a way to take that lemon and make lemonade! There is always a way. You might be totally blown away as to how that would help move the needle for your company! So you get a few bodies on the ground for a while. You're a body company! Get creative. Help the dealer move a product, create a fresh sale, create a replacement sale, create a friend and advocate. It isn't going to be that costly. Just get in there and get to work!

Here's one benefit to the body company: you might take the contractor body in exchange for buying a specialized substantially more expensive body! Maybe that would change the way you might look at it. Take off a contractor body, install a crane body with crane. . . let's see. . . that could work! And, you're getting a new product into the dealership that could potentially improve your bottom line in years to come. It's not about what's wrong, it's about what we can do to move forward--TOGETHER. No, it won't be free, but, it will move the needle.

I can give you a list of suggestions. I might do some in tomorrow's post. If any of you would like to contact me, I will be happy to give you specific suggestions for specific clients that may be of great benefit. Email me at tminion@commercialtrucksuccess.com or call me at 707-434-9967.


Creativity and Workmanship from Brutus Bodies

I never tire of unique solutions and beautiful workmanship. This box is a perfect example of both and is a custom manufacture of Brutus Bodies. Just look at all the different kinds of items that can be stored and readily accessible from several locations including the top. What an interesting design. Mount something like this in front of your next body.


Carry Something Longer Than Normal

There is always a way to solve a problem of how to carry long items. This is one example from Harbor Truck Bodies of how to get that done.


When A Van Is More Than An Empty Box

These are van bodies that have been changed from an empty box to a nice workshop with equipment and ideas installed by Cascade Truck Body in Eugene, Oregon.

I love the top photo with the real work bench and electric outlets ready to use. I can only imagine they have an electric generator in an underbody box outside operating when needed. What a sweet setup!

I also love they way they have added what looks like indoor/outdoor carpeting. That changes the atmosphere immediately. Then, I love the way they have mounted the drawer assemblies on open pedestals to get them up where they are more useful and at the same time creating some storage space underneath. That's win-win for sure. See also on a couple shots, the translucent roof which brightens up the inside during the day.

There are so many van bodies out there on the road, and now, you might think of some of them being much more useful in other ways than just taking product from one place to another. Check out the other fine solutions at www.cascadetruckbody.com, or call them in Eugene, Oregon at 541-3742-5317.


Raised Cargo Bed Enclosure by Harbor Truck Bodies

This is a rare unit to find in dealer stock, and so cool. The Raised Cargo Bed Enclosure is an excellent addition to make a service body much more useful. Think about a bedslide inside the bed to make reaching for a part or a tool a piece of cake. Notice the nice rack and rackstraps! This unit also has the Harbor Master Lock System and the Harbor pop-out locks--when the lock is unlocked the button is out so you can see that it is unlocked. When locked the button is in. Easy to see from a distance of 50' or more.

This particular unit is a 3-piece Cargo Bed Enclosure which opens up two thirds of the bed when you roll it back. In addition, it doesn't really roll anymore since over ten years ago, Harbor started using special teflon pads instead of ball bearings. Their warranty issues went to zero since the teflon, but the best part is how easy it slides and how quiet it is, and it operates that way in virtually any weather conditions.

This is a 9' model mounted on a Ford F34 SRW chassis. This photo was taken at Future Ford of Concord in Concord, CA. Besides being extremely functional for a wide range of business applications, it looks gorgeous! One of the nicer looking bodies on the planet. Call Harbor Truck Bodies at 800-433-9452 or visit their website at www.htbi.net.