Investing in a new work vehicle is a big decision. It’s imperative to consider your payload requirements, identify the applications for the truck and explore important fuel efficiencies when adding a new work truck to your fleet. Choosing the right truck for your business is an important decision; remember, an efficient truck can significantly impact your earnings. Explore three important steps to choosing the right work truck for your business in 2018:
Step 1: Understand Your Payload Requirements
According to Work Truck Online, there are three components to determining the payload requirement for your company’s vehicle: payload weight, the volume of the payload and the type of payload.
Ask yourself how much weight will the truck need to carry in its daily workload? One way to determine actual payload is to take a normally loaded truck and weigh it a truck stop that has scales. Another method is to weigh the front and rear axle. This will tell you if you are overloading the whole truck or just one of the axles.
“Overloaded trucks will cause premature tire wear, decreased fuel economy, and downtime due to engine or transmission repair. In addition, overloading results in fines and possible impoundment of the vehicle by the authorities.” (Automotive Fleet, 2016)
Also, keep in mind that the vehicle needs to carry the weight of any additional equipment you have on the truck, as well as the payload. “Be sure to add the body and equipment weight to that of any tools or other material that could be stored or transported by the chassis.” (Work Truck, 2016)
Volume of Payload
Your company truck needs to be large enough to handle the volume, or size of the payload. Payload size will also help determine if the cargo can be loaded and unloaded by hand, or whether you will need a power liftgate or some other type of assist to get it up in the body or bed. You also need to know if the payload is stackable, or, can only the floor space be used? Finally, how do you secure the product? Bottom line: the size of the payload matters.
Type of Payload
The third component is the type of payload. Are you hauling loose gravel, pallets, or boxes of merchandise? This will determine the type of commercial truck body, van body, or box truck configuration you need to choose.
In summary, “spec’ing the truck to the minimum necessary payload rating (by basing it on an average load) means that the vehicle will be operating at peak capacity most of the time, which may compromise safety and the length of its service life. Conversely, too much payload capacity is wasted capacity,” according to Automotive Fleet.
Step 2: Identify the Right Applications for the Truck
After exploring payload considerations, it’s time to review how your company plans to use your vehicles. Ask the key members of your team about these considerations:
- Maneuverability. Do you need to operate your trucks on busy city streets or mostly highways and back roads? Also, consider turning radius. “If you need to get more weight up front, say for a crane application, you may need a heavier axle and larger tires and that could affect your turning radius.” (Work Truck)
- Drivability. Consider whether you’re going to need to frequently haul a trailer or not. If so, what length? “… You may assume you know how your employees use your fleet vehicles, but it’s worth the time to double check…It could make the difference between investing in a costly custom body, when instead, your team would have been sufficient with a standard platform body.” (Automotive Fleet)
- Meet with the drivers at your business who will actually be driving the vehicle. This eliminates the guess work and any assumption of what you think the vehicle is being used for. “By understanding the day-to-day application, you will be able to “build” a truck that meets their needs.” (Work Truck)
Step 3: Consider Fuel Efficiency
A lighter truck body means major gas savings. Period. If your company trucks and vans aren’t currently aluminum, it’s time to make the switch from outdated heavy steel. A lightweight aluminum body translates into fuel savings when you’re at the gas station. Furthermore, aluminum truck bodies are also more environmentally friendly than steel, as the production process produces fewer greenhouse gases.
Another controllable fuel expenditure is the elimination of unnecessary idling. According to Work Truck, drivers should avoid idling whenever possible. If a driver leaves the truck, the employee should be instructed to turn off the engine. It is also important to keep in mind that an engine wears out twice as fast idling as under normal operation.
“When considering fuel efficiency, another way to reduce both tire and fuel costs is to establish a process for drivers to regularly monitor tire inflation. This will increase tire wear-and-tear and reduce fuel efficiency. To control replacement tire costs, eliminate driver behaviors that decrease tire tread life, such as speeding, excessive braking, and driving over curbs.” (Automotive Fleet)
Speaking of fuel efficiency in work vehicles… Did you know? Aluminum Van Bodies typically weigh up to 40% less than steel Van Bodies!
Consider the additional payload your business could be transporting when you’re not carrying the unnecessary extra weight in the Van Body itself.
Are you or your company currently in the process of spec’ing out a new work truck, box truck or van? If so, give us a call and our team can walk you through the best fit for your business. Our factory is open Monday-Friday at (207) 660-4700. We’re more than happy to answer your questions, listen to your concerns, and help you invest in your next work vehicle.
Editorial credit: Work Truck Online, Automotive Fleet