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Keep Your Trucks Clean

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In business, it is not typically any one big thing that makes or breaks a company, but a lot of little things that add up over time.  One of these little things that makes a huge impact and gets overlooked is the condition of your service vehicle.  All too often I see dirty trucks as I travel around town, and that makes an impression.  Have you ever pulled up at a gas station next to a tech that opens their door only to unleash an avalanche of paperwork and trash?  What kind of impression is this leaving for customers?  Businesses deploy tremendous amounts of marketing dollars to post billboard advertisements all around town, and that can be effective.   However, in the home service business we already have billboards that traverse all around town at all hours of the day.  We call them our “mobile billboards” and yet they are so much more.

Service vehicles are often the first impression a customer has of your company.  Do you want this impression to be that you do not take care of your vehicles as the lifeblood of your business or is it better for them to look at your vehicle and think, “wow, if they take that much pride in their trucks, I bet they will do the same for my home?”  Having a clean, well maintained vehicle demonstrates your professionalism to your customer and speaks volumes whether consciously or subconsciously.  Especially when you roll up to a home and the customer can visually see how clean and professional you look, that is just one less hurdle to overcome when handling any potential objections.

In addition, how often has a customer been curious to see the inside of the vehicle?  We often have curious customers that just want to peek into the truck.  When they look in, will that be a moment of pride or will you embarrass yourself right out of a sale?  As a matter of fact, at Jon Wayne Service Company, we believe in it so much that we have a multi-bay car wash with a vacuum at the facility so that our technicians can keep the trucks clean any time they are in the area (or even their own personal vehicles) which makes it easy and provides a great additional benefit for the whole team.

A clean and well-organized interior can also make the truck safer.  If the floor is cluttered a technician can easily trip or slip injuring themselves.  Equipment that shifts around because it is not properly secured can fall and injure someone.  Having a place for everything and everything in its place is just a safer way to conduct business, and it is more efficient.  If you spend just ten minutes on a call looking for the parts and materials, you need on every call it may not seem like much but if you can cut this time in half by having everything organized that is 5 minutes you save.  At first glance what is just 5 minutes? However, consider this:  as a technician, if you’re running an average of just 4 calls a day, that is 20 minutes.  If you factor this for 5 days a week that totals to an hour and forty minutes.  In a year, that can save you a minimum of 80 hours!  From an employer’s standpoint, you can imagine the impact this will have for your bottom line especially for multiple technicians.

On top of all of that, when parts and tools are properly organized and secured they are less likely to get damaged in transport.  How much waste and warranty can be prevented by making sure the parts the customer buys are in good working order?  There is also, the inventory management factor for this as well.  If parts are in the wrong place a technician may believe they are out and waste time, money and gas traveling to pick one up when they had it all along.  It may not be common, but it does happen.  The funny thing is, when you are saving time you are also saving your customer time which makes for a better overall experience for them.

Another aspect a lot of business owners do not consider is that trucks are a recruiting tool for good qualified technicians.  Think about the impact having a clean, well-stocked, professional, heavy duty truck makes on a technician.  It is a source of pride that he can take ownership of and be proud to drive around.  Think about it, if you were looking for employment and you had the choice of a company that has a sweet new looking truck that is clean, organized, and well maintained versus another company where the truck is run-down, dripping oil, parts strewn all over the back and has the smoke and BO smell from the last guy that drove it, where would you rather work?  Where do you think you will be more successful?  The point is, if you have a great truck you can better attract great technicians.

On that note, a well-maintained vehicle is going to consume less gas and break down less often saving time and allowing more calls to be run.  Obviously, a technician is not going to be productive sitting on the side of the road while other companies swoop in to your customer’s rescue.  How frustrating is it as a tech to come ready to work and must deal with getting the vehicle fixed?  Nobody wants that.  With such a large fleet, Jon Wayne Service Company found that it just makes sense to have a mechanic on staff at our office.  Anytime a vehicle comes up for maintenance it can be serviced while the tech comes in to turn in paperwork, restock their parts, or even while they are sitting in a continuing education course here at the shop.  This way, we minimize downtime and techs can focus on what they do best, taking care of customers and solving problems.  It’s a win-win for everyone and allows us to take care of more people.

When you began reading this article you may have wondered: What is the point of having an article about clean vehicles?  Hopefully, now you can see that something seemingly inconsequential can have a huge impact on business and make for more satisfied customers all the while saving us all time and money as well as making for a safer work environment and attracting talented technicians.  That is worth a good reminder of such a small basic practice.

Don Rackler
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Posted In: Vehicles & Fleets

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