Upfits are essential to practically every industry, and HVAC vehicles have unique needs when it comes to upfitting them for ideal job functionality and performance.
Discover the top five considerations you should make when upfitting your cargo van, truck, or other type of HVAC commercial vehicle.
1. Your Upfitting Partner’s Reputation
Upfitting services should be tailored to your specific HVAC business, budget, and goals, which is why you want to work with reputable upfit manufacturers and installation companies. If you buy your HVAC vehicle from a well-known dealership, they can help you spec the best aftermarket equipment and select the most qualified upfit vendors for the job.
Plus, if you aren’t exactly sure what you’re looking for (or if you have questions about certain upfits), the dealership team can help.
Many upfit manufacturers work with a variety of industries and trades, but it doesn’t hurt to confirm that the people you’re dealing with have previous experience working with and upfitting HVAC commercial vehicles. When in doubt, ask for references, contact the Better Business Bureau, and do your research.
2. Type of HVAC-Specific Upfits Needed
This might sound obvious, but it’s important to figure out exactly what you need. Are you transporting typical HVAC equipment — heating and cooling units, thermostats, fans, air purifiers, humidifiers, toolboxes, etc.? Are you upfitting a cargo van or truck? Are you working with vehicle or an entire fleet? Which upfits are most important?
There are specific upfits that are ideal for HVAC vehicles, depending on your needs (and budget). The most common ones include:
- Branding and decals.
- Tank racks.
- Hooks to hang manifolds.
- Bins for small parts.
- Ladder racks.
- Drawer units.
- Shelving modules.
- Anti-slip flooring.
- Roof vents.
You might need all of these — or just a few. Or you may have questions about specific upfits (for example — how important is anti-slip flooring?). Do as much research as you can ahead of time and don’t be afraid to ask your dealership point of contact or upfit manufacturer any questions.
3. Budget & Financing
Budget is always an important consideration, especially when it comes to upfits. During the upfit process, you could uninstall some features while adding others, and it’s important to consider how long you’ll be without the vehicle while all of this is happening. Cost is not necessary impact if you have one or several upfits, but definitely doesn’t hurt to request a discount when upfitting a fleet.
If you’re buying a commercial vehicle or fleet and decide to finance, you may also be able to finance your upfits at the same time. If you choose to upfit your vehicles at a later point, you’ll likely have to pay for your upfits up front.
4. When to Upfit
At what point would you like your HVAC vehicle(s) upfitted? Upfits can happen at any point — during the initial sale or a few months (or years) into vehicle ownership, depending on your timeline. But as we just mentioned, it might be more financially beneficial to upfit during the point of sale (plus, it’s one less thing to worry about down the line).
It’s also important to remember that if you decide to upfit later you will be without your vehicle for the time it takes to complete.
5. The Length of the Upfitting Process
This depends on the number of HVAC vehicles you’re upfitting and which types of upfits you’ve selected. The time frame will vary, so it’s best to contact your commercial vehicle partner or upfit manufacturer for an estimate.
Whether you’re looking to upfit one HVAC vehicle or an entire fleet, the upfitting process is an important one, and any delays or problems could seriously impact your business and bottom line.
You can’t prevent every problem — but heeding these five important considerations will make you as prepared as possible for the upfitting process.
About the Author: Marcus Luce serves as the director of logistics partnership at Merchants Fleet. In his role, he works with various companies serving the last mile space and collaborates with last mile clients on upfitting, identifying, and acquiring the right assets, fleet planning, and consulting. He also leads the commercial sales team. This article was authored and edited according to WT editorial standards and style to provide useful information to our readers. Opinions expressed may not reflect that of WT.
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