Tops-in-Trucks 2013: Branding = Awareness = Sales Leads

Originally published: 06.01.13 by Terry Tanker

Welcome to our 2013 Tops-In-Trucks Fleet Design Contest issue. Six years ago we introduced this contest because we understood the large investment a fleet represents to a contractor. Whether you have three vehicles or three hundred, your fleet offers a great way to turn a large liability into a very large asset.

We believe the easiest place to start this process is with a great design for your fleet. We’ve shown you many examples over the years, and this year is no exception. My “educated guess” is approximately 85 percent of our readers carry some type of signage on their vehicles.  Others I’ve spoken with who don’t, point almost exclusively to theft as the single reason for passing up this opportunity. Most of those contractors have told me they do the majority of their business in major metro areas like New York City, Atlanta, and Los Angels, to name a few.

According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) a single service vehicle can generate between 30,000 and 70,000 impressions in a single day, depending on the size of the city. (The average American travels about 300 miles each week and sees an average of 20,000 unique vehicles during that time). These types of statistics are hard to ignore. Most owners realize their service fleet represents their single biggest and best marketing opportunity, though how owners take advantage of this varies.

When I interviewed Ray Isaac for 20 Questions (May 2013), we discussed his fleet at length. His philosophy is “less is more” and he opts for solid red vehicles with white lettering showing the name of the company: Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning. The design is very simple and bold. With over 150 vehicles on the road in the upper New York state area, I can only guess at the number of impressions made monthly – and brand Issac’s recognition has got to be off the charts.

Former 2007 Tops-In-Trucks winner Carmine Galletta, based in Long Island, opts for a bolder look for his two fleets (service fleet and energy conservation solutions fleet), which employ full vehicle wraps and chrome wheels.

Correctly implemented, either of these strategies can work, providing your firm with brand awareness, brand recognition and, in many cases, the all-important sales lead.

Our winners this year are: Air Control Corporation of Springdale, AR; AirExperts Heating & Air Conditioning of San Antonio, TX; Air Supply Heating & Air Conditioning of Waldorf, MA; and Pacific Air Systems of Lakewood, WA. See page 16 for our Tops-in-Trucks cover story featuring interviews with all the winners.

And, we’d like to give special thanks again to this year’s sponsors.

FLEETMATICS: A global provider of fleet management solutions for small and medium-sized businesses, Fleetmatics offers software-as-a-service (SaaS) products that enable businesses to meet the challenges associated with managing local fleets and improving the productivity of their mobile workforces by extracting actionable business intelligence from real-time and historical vehicle and driver behavioral data.

HILMOR: It all began with a simple tube bender in 1926. Today, hilmor is dedicated to making the jobs of HVACR technicians easier with smarter, more effective tools and equipment. The hilmor line includes bending tools, gauges, flaring tools, swaging tools, manifolds, electronics, hoses, service tools and worksite storage. Each hilmor tool is designed with all of the features technicians need, and none of the ones they don’t. And, they are made to work in the toughest environments – the kind HVACR service technicians encounter day in and day out.

MASTERACK: When it comes to choosing high quality, professional grade commercial vehicle equipment, Masterack is an industry leader with over 40 years of experience in product design, manufacturing, and installation. They have a large selection of steel and composite van interiors, pickup equipment, ladder racks, and accessories which are available as pre-designed trade packages or can easily be mixed-and-matched to customize your vehicle(s).

SAGEQUEST: Owned by Fleetmatics Group, the SageQuest brand offers GPS-based fleet management solutions for companies seeking ways to choose where and how to focus their field operations and need a system that can support more complex needs. SageQuest solutions are Web-based and provide fleet operators with visibility into vehicle location, fuel usage, speed and mileage, and other insights into their mobile workforce, enabling them to reduce operating and capital costs and increase revenue.

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