When we go and buy a new car or SUV we tend to get the finished product so it's ready and waiting to do whatever it's been bought to do. However, when it comes to commercial vehicles, taking delivery of the vehicle can just be the start of the process of getting it ready to do the job it's being bought for. What we're talking about here is commercial vehicle upfitting and truck upfitting, which is where the vehicle from the factory is taken to a specialist to be equipped to meet the very specific needs for personal or business. So, let's offer some help with understanding commercial vehicle upfitting so you can avoid making any potentially expensive and inconvenient mistakes.
Depending on the size of the company buying the vehicle, the decision-makers can sometimes be quite a way away from the people who are going to be driving the vehicles on a daily basis. It can be easy for fleet managers or purchasing directors to be detached from the "feet on the street," and that can mean some important factors may not be included in the buying process. Not consulting with whomever is actually going to operating the vehicle can be a huge mistake as the upfitting could turn out to be unsuitable for the operator, and it can even result in their job being made more difficult and less productive than it needs to be, even making things unsafe. Everyone should be included in the upfitting process, and that includes considerable consultation with the upfitting company as well.
Understand the application
Understanding, and we mean really understanding how the vehicle will be used, is vital for getting the functionality of the vehicle just right. Once again, if the person placing the order with the upfitters consults extensively with the operators, it ensures the finished vehicle will be right for the job at hand.
There are even more ways of upfitting a vehicle as there are chassis and body configurations available, so making detailed plans of how the vehicle will be upfitted is essential. To accommodate a specific body or piece of equipment could require something vital at the building stage, and this could be overlooked if a detailed plan isn’t put in place before anything is ordered.
Don’t try to please everyone
Keeping costs down is obviously essential to running a successful operation, but this can lead to the temptation to upfit a vehicle to suit everyone and every application. This is rarely possible, and it can result in a vehicle that's not totally suitable for any of the applications you need it for. It could be that you need more than one upfit, so be strong and make the right decision instead of trying to come up with one design that tries to be all things to all operators.
Don’t underestimate the value of an upfit
Like any purchase, it can easily feel like costs are getting away from you as you start to add all the things you need for a successful upfit. Although a properly planned upfit can seem expensive at first, don’t forget to keep in mind how much work the commercial you’re upfitting will do in its life, and how much more productive it will be if properly done. The phrase "Don’t spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar" is as relevant today as it was in the days of building galleons, and it's particularly relevant when it comes to upfitting a commercial.
For more information, help and advice with Ford commercial vehicle upfitting, don't hesitate to get in touch with us here at South Bay Ford Commercial.