There's no vehicle more skillful than a truck, but different trucks excel in various roles. When outfitting your commercial operation with vehicles, it's important to know what's available and how the different choices you make will make the job easier.
Not only do you need to consider features, but you also must take into consideration the vehicle's reliability and practicality. A truck that offers power and space but suffers from terrible gas mileage might end up costing your company more money than it saves, so here are some tips on how to pick fleet trucks you'll be happy with for many years.
Understand the Job
There are so many different vehicles available that you can’t possibly pick the right truck without knowing the job. Will you mostly be using the truck for highway miles or navigating technical off-road terrain? Does it need the power to tow and haul, or is it more important to save gas if your technician’s tools make it to the job?
Many jobs require specialized trucks. Unlike some fleet vehicles that are just simplified versions of the same commuter cars you'd see in a showroom, these types of trucks offer unique features and capabilities.
Some examples of specialized vehicles you might know include dump trucks, which come in sizes large and small. Utility trucks are another example, and while you might see one on the road and recognize the cab as a derivative of a standard automaker, you'll need to place the order for these trucks especially. For jobs that require you to protect and move large amounts of specialized tools, a van might be the best choice.
Think About Long-Term Costs
While you probably think of trucks as reliable in a general sense, it's important to do your homework before purchasing one for the company. Remember these are assets and might one day need to be liquidated.
You can learn a great deal about a given model’s reliability record by doing some research online. Websites like Consumer Reports and Edmunds and other more specialized sites offer real-world feedback from owners who’ve lived with the truck you’re shopping.
You might change your mind about a particularly comfortable vehicle if it's shown to break down frequently — a model with fewer features but better reliability would make a better choice for the business.
Work trucks tend to accumulate miles much quicker than their commuter cousins, which is why you need to keep close track of their maintenance. Ensure you’re servicing the truck regularly, and consider making some upgrades to help enhance the vehicle's longevity. A few dollars spent on upgrades will pay for themselves in the long run if they keep your vehicle safe from the wear and tear of everyday jobs.
Lastly, look up resale values and see if the truck you want to buy depreciates faster or slower than the rest of the market. When you’re all done with the truck, you want to be able to get some of your investment back.