Fleet Management

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Fleet Management

Does Your Fleet Design Make the Cut?

Good Fleet Design is a Billboard on Wheels

Originally published
Originally published: 4/1/2023

As an HVACR field service company, it’s important to make sure your fleet design is competitive. Unlike a typical brick-and-mortar business, HVACR owners know that every time one of your service technicians goes to an appointment in a fleet-wrapped company vehicle it’s an opportunity to place an ad in front of potential customers. When the vehicle is stopped at a light, parked at a service call, or seen driving in a neighborhood or on the highway, your fleet design is being seen by potential customers. 

Tops In Trucks Tells the True Tale

Our June Tops in Trucks Issue where we choose the best designs annually and just happens to be one of our most popular monthly issues.

One of the reasons for that is that most competitive HVACR business owners understand the importance of fleet as their most important and least expensive marketing tool. The most consistent feedback we receive from entrants and overwhelmingly when interviewing the winners is that implementing customized fleet wrap design was and is the best marketing investment they’ve made. Some even report ROIs of 200% or more. However, if your design is not delivering, you may want to consider first, what might be lacking, and second, if it is time for a rebrand. (On the flip side, if you rebranded this year and you think your design does make the cut, what are you waiting for? Get your entry in!)

But, if you are still finding your way, how can you figure out if your design makes the grade? The most obvious way to gauge effectiveness is an uptick in business tied to the vans. Do you consistently get leads from the fleet design? Does your customer service team report back that customers call after seeing the fleet wraps on service vehicles? 

Let’s look at some ways to ensure that your current marketing is worth the “wrap” or if it’s time to redesign.

Be A Branding Beast

If you haven’t invested in fleet design or aren’t sure if the current design is paying off, likely, it isn’t. You want your fleet wraps to be powerful sellers. How do you become a fleet design branding beast? Simple – when considering a new design or reviewing your current one ask yourself these key questions:

1.    Does the design best represent your brand? What was the why when choosing it?
2.    Is it authentic to your story, your team, and your professional tone and company culture?
3.    Does it convey your family story or business legacy in some way? Is it tied to the name in a way that might give it a hook?

An example: Last year one of our winners was Gee Heating & Air. The company already had a long legacy in the industry. But when Jacob Gee and his brother Joe took over the family business, they rebranded and redesigned the fleet with Gee! as part of the logo and, “we deliver the O-M-GEE experience!” Said Jacob, regarding the overall branding. “Yes, we rebranded to the new GEE! logo to help people pronounce our name and capture the brand’s energy. Customers enjoy the infusion of excitement this innovative branding brings to our 33-year-old name.” And says the CFO, “It’s helped us stand out from the competition – the bright colors and messaging. It communicates the brand energy, our difference in quality, speed, and certainly the passion we put into our work.”  Gee added that since rebranding with the fleet design in 2021, “the company has seen a 131% return on investment.”

4.    Does your fleet look professional? A well-designed, colorful brand not only gives prospects a professional first impression but from an advertising point of view, is your most cost-effective method of attracting new customers in traffic, or in the neighborhood. A well-thought-out design is akin to a good commercial. Why do you remember a TV ad? The visuals move you in some way or the hook is catchy. Either way, good advertising is designed to change or modify behavior. A good fleet design does the same thing.

Is It Time to Rebrand

If you think your design may be underwhelming, examine the current creative assets first before you invest in a new strategy. What do you want to say creatively? How does it tie into your story and your company philosophy? Start there. One of our honorable mentions last year was Grasshopper Heating & Cooling. Not only was the design adorable, with a cute grasshopper as their company mascot, but the messaging tied into the owner’s personal and professional mission.  When interviewed, the owner, Amanda Triolo, mentioned that grasshoppers only move forward – a concept that is a part of her philosophy – so she incorporated that concept into both the company slogan and their fleet design. 

Get Creative When Creating

Get your employees involved in the design. Have brainstorming sessions with them. You may be surprised how many great ideas come out of these meetings. (And not all of them will be focused on your branding. Other operational improvements will also come to light). You should also consider professional design help once you’ve established a direction. Professionals are trained to help you sharpen the creative messaging. Be authentic – authenticity is gold in the marketing world. On a practical level, pay attention to details. What kind of graphics do you want? Do you want full or partial wraps? You can also be creative in the practical aspects – is the font meant to be creative and fun or strictly professional? Remember you want people to want to look – fun is always a great way to go because typically it’s memorable. But a serious more straightforward design can work as well. That’s why knowing your brand and your why is so important.

Once you decide what is best for your fleet, decide on the budget and convey this to the company you work with for the final design. 

My suggestion: Don’t skimp here. Go with the best of three choices and go by referral.

It’s A Van, Not A Book

Once you begin to work with a team, I would suggest a less is more approach. Remember it’s not a TV commercial. It’s a service vehicle and people are viewing it often in in passing. Come up with a great design, that pops, and has recognizable colors, and do not forget to include contact information in the form of a phone number, email address, or website. Customers have to be able to easily find you. Try to be consistent on the website with colors and brand messaging as well. You want recognition to be immediate and obvious when a customer or prospect goes to your website, after seeing a vehicle from your fleet. 

The Hook

If you recall, I mentioned a few past winners from memory. I didn’t do any extra research to suggest these as examples, I simply have many of the top choices committed to memory. It is not because my memory is exceptional. It is because the design, colors, and names were memorable. That is a good fleet design. What is your hook? Ask people if they like it. Do a mini focus group of current customers and employees. And remember, a great name without good colors and great design, isn’t enough. Another option, go through our past Tops In Trucks issues. Look at our past winners

Investment vs. ROI

Lastly, we advise you to consider a budget. Fleet wraps should be part of a marketing strategy and are an investment, not an expense. Understand that while there can be a significant upfront cost, (depending on your starting point) if you do your research and create an authentic, well-done design, it will deliver a significant return on the initial investment. 

And you don’t have to wrap every vehicle all at once.  You can roll out a fleet design over time.  See how it does and watch the business grow. By the way, if you already have a good design, it’s not too late. Enter our Tops-In Trucks Fleet Design Contest NOW


Heather Langone is the Managing Editor of HVACR Magazine. For comments and feedback, email

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