Although I believe that most of us in the pest control industry are very blessed to be experiencing growth in the midst of a pandemic, there are also supply chain challenges everywhere we look. For our company right now, the biggest supply issue is having enough vehicles on the road to meet our customers’ needs.
Back when finding vehicles was easy, the idea of driving a new truck was something our field staff looked forward to. Many leasing companies have three-year agreements, so folks could drive a new truck every three years. But to be honest, I never have been a fan of that strategy.
MAKE THEM LAST
About eight years ago, I visited Waynes Pest Control in Birmingham, Ala. Its team bought used cars and trucks, always ensuring that they were mechanically sound. Waynes would paint the vehicles with its proprietary yellow and green color scheme, and then keep them on the road for 10 years.
I was impressed with this way of thinking, and have been making moves to do something similar ever since. Soon after my Waynes visit, we hired John Stepan, a talented mechanic whom I have known and used for my personal vehicles for more than 25 years. He is a great addition to our company, and his efforts have made our trucks’ average mileage go to 200,000 and beyond.
This month, we hired paint and body shop expert Chad Heer. We also are renting the body shop facility from him. We intend to bring in our five- to six-year-old trucks, overhaul the mechanical components, remove our vinyl lettering, and repaint each one. We will get new seat covers as needed, re-sign each truck, and put each one back on the road for hopefully another four to five years.
While not everyone can hire a mechanic and have their own body shop, you can find someone who will take great care of your fleet mechanically, and find a body shop to repaint your vehicles on a regular basis to extend their working lives.
This may not be as exciting to field staff who are used to getting new trucks every 36 months, but it will not only keep perfectly good vehicles on the road longer, it also will present a better image to the public. Whether it’s on the road or in their neighbor’s driveway, people will see vehicles that have pride in ownership.
It is important that we all try to make the best and highest use of our fleets, since vehicles are such a large asset in our business. With the supply of vehicles being so difficult to procure today, I am confident that this way of thinking means we will be ahead of the game in the future.