Earlier this year, we sent Carolyn LaWell, one of our contributing editors, up to Detroit for a few days to get the latest on new technology and options available for work trucks in the landscaping industry. She filed this report for our November edition, and sent along a separate note about how contractors can best work with upfitters to get the most bang for their truck budget.
To completely understand the time and costs involved, consult with an upfitter before buying a cab chassis. The upfitter probably won’t spec the chassis or recommend what manufacturer to buy from, but they can offer advice.
“Since our sales staff works with many customers that have bought different brands of trucks, they may have an idea of what’s working better for some companies than others and what kind of features they have,” says Aaron Breitkreutz, a design drafter for Truck Bodies Equipment International (TBEI), the parent company for brands Crysteel, Ox Bodies, Rugby, DuraClass and J-Craft.
It’s important to go in with an idea of what the truck will be used for and what upgrades are necessary. It’s also important to keep an open mind and ask questions. “The upfitter may have a lot of different options that a normal customer doesn’t know about, but that would work great for them,” he says. “Ask a lot of questions.”
Another consideration is how much time the body might take to design, if necessary, and install. Breitkreutz says it could take at least four weeks for a custom design build and install job. “If they order their equipment from us around the same time they order their truck, it’s probably at our place for a week, a week and a half at the most,” he says.
No matter what, companies looking to purchase cabs with chassis will more than likely need to work with an upfitter.
“Almost all the time, a customer is going to buy a truck and have someone up-fit it for them,” Breitkreutz says. Dealers don’t want to purchase bodies and limit the number of customers that may be interested in the option sitting on the lot. “That’s just the way the economy is now. You don’t see stock trucks just going to a dealership already with a body on it.”