As I peered into the future with much optimism about our industry in general, and my business in particular, I felt it was time to update and modernize most of the Johnson Pest Control fleet. This was no spur-of-the-moment decision; I had been researching and charting out what would be our next ideal service vehicle for about two years.
I had a list of must-have features that included:
⦁ Back-up cameras.
⦁ Bluetooth for hands-free driving.
⦁ Good gas mileage.
⦁ Signage capabilities.
⦁ Positive traction.
⦁ Sufficient space for products and equipment.
From the spring of 2017 through February 2018, I have purchased and equipped 10 new Mercedes-Benz Metris vans, which are commonly known as the mid-size Sprinters. I have been well aware of this model as I purchased four Sprinters in 2006 — one of which we still use every day.
The durability and quality of these vehicles are legendary — companies worldwide, including FedEx, rely on them. For me, though, it was all about the numbers. They start at $25,900 and by the time I get them equipped with new signage, some custom racks in the back, and a divider between the front passenger compartment and the cargo area, I am in at around $30K. The 1.9 percent financing I was able to get was wonderful, too.
I wanted our new fleet to be not only functional for our techs, but also act as a “phenomenal rolling billboard” going down the road and through the neighborhoods we service. Our new, trademarked messaging of “Dead Bugs, Happy Customers” is proudly and prominently displayed — and gets noticed even from a distance.
Now, if you were to ask any of my employees if they would like to go back to their previous pickup trucks, you would get a resounding no. They love the van setup and the convenient access to the cargo area via the rear and side doors, which offer great accessibility to what they need to do their jobs.
This is their rolling office and workspace, and it must be professional and organized. All of these vans are set up the same way, even the equipment, for a uniform work environment across the board. It’s a win-win for me as well, as I have some very happy employees who are proud of their new rides.