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Don't Overlook Fleet Improvements

Originally published: 03.01.10 by Terry Tanker

Don't Overlook Fleet Improvements

Toward the end of 2009, our industry needed a good shot in the arm, and I think we’ve had it in the form of extreme temperatures across most of the U.S. The bone-chilling winter has buried places like Dallas and D.C. in snow; we’ve had ice storms in the Carolinas; extended frigid temperatures in the North; and plenty of cold weather in the Deep South and West. What I’ve noticed everywhere I’ve traveled is the number of hvacr service vehicles on the highways, in commercial parking lots, and in neighborhood driveways. I’m sure that later this summer, statistics will show a nice up tick for heatingequipment sales in the first quarter.

I easily recognized the service fleets because so many of you are maximizing your marketing reach and branding with great logos and contact information by fully wrapping your vehicles; or with subtle paint schemes combined with creative lettering on vans, delivery trucks, and sales cars.

One of my first memories of how effective this type of strategic marketing could be was back in high school, seeing an 18- wheeler on the highway. It was a fully customized rig for Steelcase, the officefurniture manufacturer. The tractor and trailer were painted to

match, and it had shiny chrome wheels all the way around. Over the last 30 years, I’ve seen their trucks on just about every highway I’ve traveled. Another company that has done an outstanding job with fleet vehicles is UPS. No matter where you are, chances are you’ll run across “big brown.” Clean, simple, and expertly branded.

I’ve used examples outside of our industry because they are nationally recognized, and most of you have seen their fleets. Whether you have one vehicle or 101, customizing your fleet is one of the least-expensive marketing options you have with the highest ROI. Executed properly, these traveling billboards generate tens of thousands of impressions each month in your concentrated service areas.

This June, we will once again hold our Tops In Trucks Fleet Design contest, and I urge you to enter. It’s easy to do, and this year we have sponsors and prizes. You can enter in one of three categories: full wrap, lettering, or manufacturer- sponsored. Winners will have their vehicles shown on the cover of our June issue, along with being interviewed for the feature story inside the magazine. And, one winner determined to be “best of show” will win a $500 gas/gift card to help fill up their fleet. To register for the contest, simply go to our Web site (www.hvacrbusiness.com) and click on any one of the Tops In Trucks ads you see. You’ll be re-directed to an entry page that you can download. It contains all of the information you’ll need.

Additionally this year, we will be posting all photos that are submitted on our Web site, so you’ll be able to see more than just the winners throughout the contest. I hope you take us up on the opportunity to showcase your fleet.

P.S. Our first sponsor, AireServ, has more than 170 locations across the U.S. and Canada and has done a great job integrating their company design, logo, and brand on their fleet vehicles. You can see what their fleet looks like at www.aireserv.com.

Terry has more than 25 years of experience in the advertising and publishing industries. He began his career with a business-to-business advertising agency. Prior to forming Hutchinson Tanker Ltd. and HVACR Business in January 2006, he spent 20 years with a large national publishing and media firm where he was the publisher of several titles in the mechanical systems marketplace.

In addition to his experience in advertising and publishing, Terry has worked closely with numerous industry-related associations over the years including AHRI, AMCA and ABMA. He currently serves on the board of N.A.T.E  (North American Technicians Excellence Association). He has also served on the Board of Directors for the American Boiler Manufactures Association (ABMA) and as chairman for both the Associates Committee and the Marketing Communications Committee.


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