How to Make Your Vehicles Speak for Your HVAC Business
No doubt you’ve seen the likes of business vehicles tricked out beyond the pale. It goes back as far as Oscar Mayer’s Wienermobile creation (the 1930s) and continues to this day with Volkswagen Beetles decked out from headlight to taillight in pastoral panoramas, cows and all (Kerrygold butter). As an HVAC business leader, you may not want to go too far—though if you want to build a cylindrical “central air conditioner mobile,” no one’s going to stop you…
Except, perhaps, for the reluctant employees you’d ask to drive it. After all, it’s mostly a given that technicians and installers need (and want) no-nonsense service vans and light trucks designed to get the job done right. When you’re a repairman wanting to exude confidence and competency, getting from point A to B in a rolling, gigantic swath of silver ductwork isn’t going to cut it.
Then again, a smart approach to promotion will dovetail well when it comes to your sales team. As any crack sales professional will tell you, half the game is making a great impression—and truly, a vehicle that has fun and/or memorable images helps customers to remember your company in a way that pitches alone can’t. What’s more, the car serves as a free advertising with millions of potential impressions as your salesman cruise from place to place along interstates.
Now, think about how much a roadside billboard would cost you to lease. In a city the size of Indianapolis, with its population of 1.5 million, it currently costs more than $15,000 to lease a minimum of five billboards that will stay up just four weeks, according to FitSmallBusiness.com.
How do you choose what’s best for you and the crew? Here are four tips to consider as you get the team ready to pull out of the parking lot:
Maybe it’s time to get another car. No, this is not your teenager talking: It’s a posse of small business experts. One new car with a distinctive body shape, specifically decked out for the purpose of selling your company, can be just the ticket you need to make high-profile appearances at street fairs, community events and the like. Grasshopper estimates the cost of buying, outfitting and driving a promotional Smart Car in Massachusetts at about $21,500, including gas and insurance for a year.
Granted, that’s far more dough than an ad on Google or Facebook. But this investment gets you into the public eye, making you a familiar sight among the potential clients in your backyard. Additionally, one branded vehicle can be specifically packed with giveaway items, for example, the same way your technicians travel with toolkits. And if you can only afford, or want to, brand one vehicle, it makes sense to devote it exclusively to promotion.
Vinyl sounds great. Kerrygold’s Beetles employ a full-body vinyl wrap to make their branding stand out, but many business owners might overlook another advantage. Costing about $2,000, full-body wraps also protect the bodies of vehicles from scratches and dings, as noted by Lifehacker. And if your business uses a particular color scheme, wrapping the car will prove much more easy (and reversible) than repainting it. To learn more about this option, you can check out the 3M website. It explains how the wrap works, the color options available and how computer printers can reproduce sharp designs and photos.
Get graphic: As in graphic arts, that is. Big bold numerals might parade your office hotline for all to see, but indelible images will make the most impact. This applies whether you go for a wrap—full or partial—or painting certain parts of the vehicle. So if you have a distinctive logo or design, use it; if not, now’s the time to get one. You can hire a professional designer—then again, this step need not be as expensive or complicated as you think, which brings us to…
Humor matters: Getting people to laugh need not be over the top, though it could drive your profits there. Three decades ago, two high school boys who started a part-time business could only afford the crude, hand-drawn logo they made of themselves in a moving truck. Odds are your 8 year old could do way better, but that funny line drawing sure made an impact. The Lansing, Mich.-based Two Men and a Truck franchise operation has experienced more than 60 consecutive months of growth—and that cartoonish sketch still adorns its moving vans… and pickup trucks… and company vehicles… and the outside of company’s corporate headquarters.
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