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Posted:  25 Feb 2011 16:57  
I have heard some companies provide vehicles for the route technicians.  Having a hard time seeing the benefits.  I pay my folks a rate based on the miles driven.  Awfully expensive moving billboard.  Do I need laser surgery?
Posted:  25 Feb 2011 17:34  
It's a great investment in promotion, professional image and enabling techs to do more than just basic care...with a company van, they can do installs, replacements, service, deliveries, etc. that a smaller vehicle wouldn't permit.  We have gotten numerous accounts over the years because someone saw our company vans and got our name and phone number from them and called us on the spot.

Not expensive...an investment in your company.  With the price of fuel constantly increasing and fluctuating, and higher and higher insurance and maintenance costs, I wouldn't ask our techs to use their own vehicles, and they wouldn't want to add that wear-and-tear to their personal vehicles.  Our routes typically cover upwards of 250 miles a week...that would quickly add up to lots of headaches for our techs, and probably significant downtime for us in having to scramble to cover for them while their vehicles are in the shop for repairs.  Better to have your own fleet with which to do your work.

Clem
Posted:  14 Mar 2011 22:19  
We use all company owned vehicles for all our full time technicians. Nice clean, white with company logo smaller hatchback vehicles with the back seats removed so they can carry all their gear and possibly do some smaller replacements.
There is a cost involved in everything you do and with having company vehicles you lower the risk of cars not starting, or staff cannot afford to look after the maintenance for their own vehicles. It also widens the scope of employees you can hire as not everyone has a vehicle.
We like to provide all our employees with all the tools they need to meet our cutomers demand. No excuses for not getting the job done.

Peter
Posted:  14 Mar 2011 23:28  
Amen to that, Peter!

Clem
Posted:  25 Mar 2011 21:57  
We just had this discussion at a supervisor lunch the other day . I agree with the sentiments for using company vehicles . We also have a fleet of white pick ups and vans. I'm curious as to what any of you would shop for now to replace a worn van at this point ? We use Astros but of course they no longer make them .
Posted:  26 Mar 2011 03:29  
The Astro is like a flatulent old dog...you fret about the continual annoyances it creates until it's gone...then you get all maudlin and wistful about its memory.  The Chevy Astro is undoubtedly a workhorse with a lot going for it, but it functioned in spite of its really poor workmanship and engineering design.  It has experienced repeated failures of several key components and systems, notably fuel pumps, heater blowers, ABS systems, rear differentials, starters and fuel injector systems.  And yet it was far and away the most widely driven delivery and service vehicle in the United States for two decades.

That said, the time has long since come for new blood in this sector of the service vehicle market.  We see a lot of Scion xBs and Chrysler PT Cruisers running around sporting graphics of florists and messenger services and the like, but for a truly useful tradesman minivan, we are all looking for something with near the payload of the deceptively small Astro with a lot more reliability.

Enter the Ford Transit Connect, a star on the European market for nearly a decade now.  It LOOKS smaller than an Astro, but it has comparable cargo volume and a high roofline that makes it easier to stand up taller plant material.  It also has sliding side cargo doors on both sides, a big plus for loading and unloading on city streets and in tight places elsewhere.  And a short-range (80 miles, plus or minus) all-electric version will be available everywhere this spring.  From what I've read, it's a great combination of ruggedness, roominess, handling, ease of parking and fuel economy.  Base models start around $21K.

Unfortunately, neither Toyota nor Honda, kings of the passenger minivan market, have seen fit to enter the small cargo van segment with retooled cargo versions of the Sienna or Odyssey minivans.  Too bad.

Clem
Posted:  26 Mar 2011 17:36  
Great tip, Clem.  Been thinking about the Chevy Express, but it seems that the Transit connect would make more sense, economically speaking.
Posted:  27 Mar 2011 18:11  
Depends on usage...if primarily for tech use servicing accounts (watering machine, potting mix/mulch/supplies transport, small installs/replacements), the Transit Connect seems ideal.  If you do larger jobs with the vehicle, a Sprinter or standard van might be worth considering.

Clem
Posted:  29 Mar 2011 00:44  
We use Chevy Aveo for our techs with the backseat removed, and a Sprinter 2500, tall, for our delivery truck, blueTec diesel engine and a real gas saver for us. Before we had minivans that were just bad on fuel and maintenance.
Our sales people drive a Mazda 3,
Peter
Posted:  29 Mar 2011 17:25  
What is mileage these days?
Sonja
Posted:  29 Mar 2011 17:47  
$0.51 per mile for business purposes...

http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=232 ...

Clem
Posted:  01 Jul 2011 19:48  
Our company uses Nissan Frontiers w/toppper for daily tech use and a Ford Econoline for larger installs/wholesale pick-ups.
Posted:  01 Jul 2011 21:27  
Mileage just turned $.555 per mile on July 1, 2011.

Julie
Posted:  01 Jul 2011 23:04  
Anyone test-driven the new Nissan NV cargo van?

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