Thoughts On Business - What To Stock

If you were going to stock commercial upfitted trucks and wanted to know the best trucks to stock, here is a good way to get started. Find one of the busiest highways near your dealership and take a couple hours two or three time in a week and watch traffic.

I suggest that you take a notepad and on the left side top to bottom, name the types of bodies that are pretty common, such as, service body, flatbed, stakebed, van body, cargo van, dump body, crane body, contractor body, plumber style body, etc. Get a comfortable chair and as vehicles drive by, when you see a commercial truck, put a mark next to the body on your sheet.

When you are done, tabulate the results and this would be a great mix of vehicles to start with. This isn't scientific, but it is very effective. I've seen a number of dealers who stock items in quantity that you see few of on the road and also stock few things when there are plenty on the road. Obviously, the ones on the road have been purchased from someone. We can just call this the market.

If you take the time to analyze even more closely, you could then improve your mix to insure that you have the right mix of single rear wheel, the right mix of bed length, colors, styles and so on. You could even take quick photos of each truck, then look at the photos.

I did this yesterday for only about 5 minutes on busy Interstate 80 and saw 10 service bodies, 3 van bodies, 4 cargo vans, 2 crane bodies, 2 contractor bodies, 3 flatbeds/stakebeds, and 2 plumber style trucks. Interesting. As you pay attention to what is already on the road, this will help you stock better levels and mix of inventory to maximize sales. This would be the core stock.


Fleetwest Composite Truck Bodies

Here's a great selection of work solutions from Fleetwest Transferable Truck Bodies. Shown are the Durashell 90 for smaller light duty pickups, Durashell 170 & 140 for long bed and short bed pickups, Durashell 165 for longbed trucks, and Durashell 230 for longbed trucks. These shells offer many varied solutions for cargo handling, delivery, service and other needs. And, since they are made of super strong and lightweight composite material, they will outlast the truck they are installed on. It's a sweet deal all around.

For these and more offerings, contact Fleetwest Transferable Truck Bodies at 866-497-7200 and visit their website at www.fleetwest.net.


Scelzi Service Body with Western Mule Bumper Crane

This Scelzi 8' Service Body has a great option: Western Mule Bumper Crane. It takes up very little more space than the standard step bumper, yet has a great functional crane hidden in that space. Western Mule has a number of different models to suit many different needs.

With the high quality body that Scelzi is well known for, this combination is perfect. Call Scelzi at 800-858-2883 and see more great bodies from Scelzi at www.seinc.com.


Utilimaster Metromaster Parcel Delivery Van

The Metromaster Parcel Delivery Vehicle by Utilimaster delivers a fuel-efficient, smaller option in a parcel delivery vehicle. Built on a Ford, Chevy or GMC commercial cutaway chassis, this vehicle is essential to maximizing your company's productivity. Designed for tight, inner-city driving, the Metromaster is built tough to provide both reliability and durability.

The Metromaster is designed to provide the comfort of a commercial cab with the increased cargo capacity. With a large number of options available, the Metromaster can be designed to meet your operating requirements.

See many more options for cargo transport at www.utilimaster.com.


Thoughts On Business - Service Body Stocking Strategy

In the last ten or so years, I have visited a great number of commercial truck departments at dealerships and was very interested in seeing the inventory choices and trying to understand their strategy at commercial upfit stocking. In addition, I have started or been a part of building a number of them. And, last, I have a serious passion for commercial trucks in general.

With all of this, and testing a lot of stocking strategies, every operation has benefited greatly in gross profits and sales by stocking a good selection of service or utility bodies as the stocking leader. Every operation. Every time.

Now many of the dealers that I visited did not have this strategy, but it was obvious to me that they would have benefited if it were part of their strategy. The big difference is that the service body is useful to a much wider spectrum of clients compared to flatbeds, contractor bodies, van bodies and the like. In addition, there are so many standard variations on the service body theme, let alone the customizing that runs to infinity.

Now, I have really studied and tested this thoroughly. My strategy for a typical store would be about 45% service bodies plus or minus 5% with seasonal fluctuations of up to 15% maximum. This has proven time and time again in many different locations to be profitable and maximize sales.

I've seen dealers focus more on flatbeds or van bodies (which is especially true of tilt-cab and medium duty dealers). In some locations, I found so few service bodies on dealers lots that I was amazed and extremely curious. I just see a huge market being missed. Another thing is that with very small numbers of service bodies, there can be no selection of sizes, features, enclosures, etc.

Consider the service body and its vast and varied virtues. Now might be a good time to look at your stocking strategy and see where you are. Maybe it is time to change the mix and develop a new strategy.


Strattec Lock IS AWESOME!

Recently, Strattec sent me 3 locks to try, one for GM, Ford and Dodge. I have to tell you that this is one sweet lock. The lock "codes" itself. You just take your ignition key, put it into the lock, turn it and unlock the lock. Now the lock is "coded" to that key only. Try another key and it doesn't work. It is just that easy.

Whether you use padlocks on your vehicle or storage facility or around your home, now you can have all the lock keyed to the ignition key of your GM, Ford or Dodge. You have got to try one of these locks to believe it. They aren't cheap, but they are heavy duty and they are an excellent value in my opinion. Try one and I know you will want more.

Learn more at http://www.stratteclok.com/.


Unicell Billboard Van Body

I've seen a few of these kind of van bodies show up around the area with lighted billboards changing every few minutes while they drive around town and the freeway. It is hard not to notice them. I've seen some with signs on the back as well.

This particular one is very sleek looking as the body is made of composite material. Unicell makes a wide range of bodies using composites. Weight saving is part of the story, but there is so much more. Check out their website at www.unicell.com for more information.


Napa Hot Air Balloons Isuzu Delivery Vehicle

This is a custom flatbed made for Napa Valley Balloons, a hot air balloon company in the Napa Valley. It has been designed by Bob Dias of North Bay Truck Body in cooperation with Napa Valley Balloons. It is custom made to fit their equipment and to transport the balloon and gondola back to the point of origination.

The bed is 14' x 8' with HD rails and diamond plate floor over a 1-1/8" sub floor. Special railing and tie off points, plus bottle retention devices are also needed along with special tubular guides for the basket. This unit has a 48" underbed toolbox. Included is also a 2,000 lb. Tommy Gate Railgate with a large platform. North Bay has also included LED lighting from American Superlight, including back-up LED's.

This just goes to prove that there is a great truck for every important job. You can contact Bob Dias of North Bay Truck Body in Cordelia, CA at 707-864-2700 and visit his website at www.nbtb.com.

Napa Valley Balloons is in Napa, CA and you can reach them at 800-253-2224 and visit their website at www.napavalleyballoons.com.


Another Banner For Marketing Commercial Trucks

This banner gets attention, especially at a commercial truck lot. It is reminiscent of the old Macy's White Sale every January. I used that theme a long time ago and had the best sale ever! We also ran an ad along with the banner: If it's white, it's on sale! I remember starting the sale with 110 white units. Trucks and cars, we did the whole dealership. At the end of the sale, we had 48. It was a huge success.

Of course, times are a bit different now, but I can't just stop doing anything. Might as well have a White Sale! Lord knows I've got a bunch of white things to sell!


Truck Stop Lot Banner Works

At the dealership we are working with, we put up a couple of 24' signs. One is this one: Truck Stop. This one wasn't my idea, but the owner's and it is a great one! I do have to say that we actually get people off the freeway looking for the bathroom! Hey, it's traffic!

I think this sign is great and we have it in a prominent place so that the maximum freeway traffic can easily see it. You never know what might help. This one helps us. Maybe it would do the same for your operation!


Very Nice 14' ComboMaster by Harbor Truck Bodies

This truck will carry some stuff! It is a 14' ComboMaster Body with a raised front compartment, set up with bottle brackets and rings to accommodate gas bottles. In addition, it has a combination of Harbor's famous stainless steel open tops lids and closed top sections on both sides of the body! That is very unusual, but it allows for a variety of machines like compressors, generators and the like to be mounted on top and still have some open top space for some small parts and things.

In addition to the huge vise mounted on the work platform, notice all the night lights mounted on the rear of the cab and on the rack corners. Notice the forklift loadable HD rack design that extends the rack to the end of the body, but keeps the mounting points out of the work area. Sweet design! Of course, I cannot fail to mention one of my favorite things: Look at those drawers!

This is a standard 41" tall ComboMaster, but mounted on the GM4500, it looks like it is a low pro body. Looks great to me! This unit was built for Ranch Rock Products in Corona, CA. You can reach them at 951-280-2445.

Have Harbor Truck Bodies build you a great truck. Call them at 800-433-9452 and visit their website at www.htbi.net.


11' Silver Beauty of a Service Body from Scelzi Enterprises

Another great Scelzi slightly customized 11' Service Body with Interlift liftgate, E-Track, Storage Box in cargo area. This is mounted on a Ford F-450 chassis. Both the body and the cab are painted silver metallic, making this one sweet looking unit.

For more information on a unit like this or one of the million or so variations on this theme that Scelzi is so good at, call them at 800-858-2883 and visit their brand new, much improved website at www.seinc.com.


Alum-Line Service, Fire Rescue Bodies

Here's just a small selection of some of the fabulous aluminum service bodies and fire rescue bodies and what ever else you might find a use for these great bodies.

My favorite aspect of these shots is the shutter doors instead of the more common door assembly. I absolutely love the usefulness of these doors, how they go up and out of the way and don't take up any space outside the body to walk around, bang into or reach over or around. You just walk right up to the compartment and there it is. In addition, I think they just look great.

Look at the one with those long slide out trays! Then, look at all of them and notice how much compartment space is readily available. Lots and lots of space. Quality workmanship as well.

All in all, it adds up to a huge plus for doing business with Alum-Line, Inc., of Cresco, Iowa, just south of the Minnesota border in the upper right of the state and also near the Wisconsin border and the greater Chicago area in general. Out in the country, but close enough to the huge metropolis. Sweet. I'm an old Iowa boy myself.

Give Alum-Line an opportunity on your next purchase. Call them at 800-446-1407 and check out more great aluminum products including a full line of trailers at www.alum-line.com.


Royal Truck Body Transverse Compartment 8' Service Body

This is a tasty unit from Royal Truck Body in Paramount, CA mounted on an uplevel Chevrolet extended cab SRW chassis. It is their standard 40" high model with treadbrite lid overlay, HD forklift loadable rack and class IV receiver. But that's not all, this one has a bit of a twist. This one has the horizontal series on the curbside which has the horizontal compartment going all the way to the end of the body, unlike the streetside which has vertical compartments on either side of the more common standard horizontal compartment.

In addition, this unit has a transverse compartment that goes through the body to the back of the other side allowing longer items to be stored. In this case, there are two HD pull out drawers. One is at floor level, and the other near the top so that many small things can be carried in the top drawer and taller, larger items in the bottom drawer. Notice the rear shot shows the compartment taking up the front part of the center storage area. There is still plenty of space in the cargo area. On the streetside is normal compartment configuration with shelves installed.

If you would like one of these, contact Royal Truck Body at 800-834-7692 and visit their website at www.royaltruckbody.com.