In any industry, choosing the right commercial vehicle is crucial to maximize operational efficiency. All business owners strive to ensure their team has the tools and processes they need to be successful – so it’s important your commercial vehicle selection is closely aligned with your needs.
Whether you need one commercial pickup truck for construction or 100 cargo vans for delivery, there are numerous considerations to make when selecting a commercial vehicle for your business. In this article, we dive into the process of choosing the best commercial vehicle by industry.
Top Considerations to Make When Selecting a Commercial Vehicle
The first step when selecting a commercial vehicle is to take a close look at the specific requirements necessary to your business operations. Start by asking yourself what features are critical for your team to operate safely and efficiently. At this stage, it is essential to prioritize your business’ needs over its wants. As you begin your research, consider the following:
Those in industries such as HVAC, plumbing, and electrical that use a large number of tools and parts will require a work vehicle with significant space for storage. Selecting a vehicle with pre-existing tool space will naturally enable better organization to allow for increased productivity by employees on the job.
Payload capacity is the amount of weight a vehicle can carry in passengers and cargo. Exceeding the payload limit causes added strain on the vehicle that can lead to repair problems on the engine, transition, suspension, brakes, and tires. For this reason, it is important to select a vehicle that has a payload capacity that aligns with your needs.
The vehicle’s towing capacity will tell you how much it can pull on a trailer. Be sure to consider what you will be towing and how much it will weigh. One precautionary measure commonly recommended is to select a vehicle with 10% more capacity than needed to avoid engine burnout.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
GVWR is the maximum total safe weight of your vehicle according to the manufacturer’s specifications. This includes the weight of the vehicle plus the maximum allowable weight for occupants, payload, and equipment the vehicle can legally handle. When it comes to safety, GVWR is a key measurement to keep in mind.
Cab & Bed Size
Do you require more space in the cab for people or in the bed for equipment? When selecting a vehicle, be sure not to overlook how many employees need to fit inside. Note the larger the cab size, the smaller the bed.
New vs. Used
There are many pros and cons to choosing a new or used vehicle. A new commercial vehicle won’t need any initial repairs, but it will be more costly upfront. On the other hand, a used commercial vehicle may save you money now, but could be costly in the long run when faced with wear and tear.
Does your business require one or two commercial vehicles, or is your fleet count hitting numbers in the double digits? For budgeting purposes, it makes sense to develop your own estimate of what your total monthly payment will be for your commercial vehicle or vehicles. This will be helpful during the search and purchase process.
Commercial Vehicles by Industry
The abundance of commercial vehicle options can be a bit overwhelming upon initial glance. Again, it is of the utmost importance to remember the type of vehicle you select should align with the industry you operate in.
Pickup Trucks & Flatbeds
Pickup trucks can suit a wide variety of industries such as landscaping, snow removal, construction, home renovation, and more. The bed of a pickup truck offers easy access to tools and equipment, ensuring a smooth loading and unloading process.
A pickup truck, from compact options to full-size counterparts, will allow you to put a variety of storage solutions either in or on the bed. Similarly, for those that need to haul equipment on the bulkier side, a flatbed is another great option.
Sprinter & High Clearance Vans
Both Sprinter and high clearance vans are ideal for operation in any field service industry that requires the use of a significant number of tools and parts. In these trucks, technicians can comfortably stand up and seek what they need with ease. These vans are also fitting for technicians who perform some of their work inside the van, such as HVAC or service technicians, locksmiths, and even dog groomers.
From a technician’s standpoint, cargo vans are best suited for industries in which the employees will not be working inside the van itself, yet still must fit a large quantity of tools inside for transport. These vans are often used by mobile businesses such as carpet cleaners, chimney sweepers, and others.
If you are carrying cargo that needs to be protected, an enclosed space is a must-have feature. For this reason, a cargo van is also a great option for any business that requires transport services such as flower or grocery delivery.
In industries that require dumping capabilities such as agriculture and junk removal, a dump truck is a necessity. Important features to look for in a dump truck include back dumps, rollovers, or tilt-dumps.
Bucket trucks are fitted with a hydraulic articulating boom that includes a bucket at its end for technicians to stand in. The boom lift of a bucket truck is practical for telephone line repair workers because it permits service bodies to fit all the necessary tools on the outside of the truck.
Running a small business? Opting for a minivan will be better for fuel economy and is a great option for drivers that need to get into cities with uncertain parking situations. Their compact size is ideal for heavily populated metro areas where parking can be challenging.
Commercial Driver’s Licenses
Some commercial trucks – dump trucks, cement mixers, tractor trailers, and flatbeds – require drivers to obtain a special license to operate known as a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The vehicle’s specifications will determine whether the driver needs a Class A, B, or C CDL. Below is a general breakdown of the three classes:
- Class A: tractor trailers, tank vehicles, flatbeds, and livestock carriers
- Class B: large passenger buses, box trucks, segmented buses, and dump trucks
- Class C: passenger vans, small HazMat vehicles, and combination vehicles not covered by Classes A or B
Typically, drivers must pass both a written exam and a driving skills test. The minimum age to apply for a CDL is 21; however, there are exceptions in some states that allow drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 to apply solely for intrastate driving. Each state has its own individual guidelines and requirements for obtaining a CDL, which can be found by contacting your local DMV.
Ready to Decide?
Operating with the proper equipment is vital when it comes to running a business – so it is paramount to select the best vehicle for your unique needs. Not only can the right commercial vehicle add value to your business in the short term, but it can serve as a pillar for your operation to reach new heights in the future.