To maintain profitability and outperform your competition, you should aggressively promote and expand your business. The best way to accomplish this is to anticipate what your customers need and take advantage of the opportunity to provide it, while simultaneously making a profit.
When customers move into their self-storage unit, they often need boxes for packing and a lock to secure their belongings. You’ve probably anticipated these needs and offer these items for sale. Take the same approach to the need for transportation. By anticipating self-storage customers’ need for a truck—and then providing one—you add a profit center to your business that has other fringe benefits.
First, determine the type of truck and features your customers will require to make their move as safe and easy as possible. Your truck should be a new or late-model vehicle that’s reliable and meticulously maintained. It should be a size that’s easy for customers to drive and park.
A 14- or 15-foot truck requires only one parking space, and when equipped with a backup alarm, it’s easily maneuvered by the average driver. An extended loading ramp (12-foot) with a reduced incline makes loading and unloading much easier for the non-professional. An automatic transmission, air conditioning and radio will make your truck user-friendly and comfortable.
Customer safety is crucial. When you provide amenities such as a fire extinguisher, first-aid kit, furniture pads, safety triangle, hand truck and roadside assistance, your customers get a safe and efficient solution to their transportation needs. Your truck box should have a flat-wood floor to help cushion the load and make it easy to use the hand truck. All of these features are essential to ensure customers have an easy and safe move.
People are increasingly aware of how their actions impact the environment. “Green” is the new catchphrase, and you should jump on the bandwagon by getting a “green” truck.
Trucks that are aero-dynamically designed can reduce wind resistance, allowing 15 percent to 20 percent better fuel efficiency. Flex fuel allows your vehicle to run on gasoline, alcohol or any combination of the two. Fuel made of alcohol, also called ethanol, burns cleaner than gas and reduces pollution and global warming. Offering a green option make you an environmentally conscious choice for customers and gives you an edge over competition.
A Moving Billboard
Your truck provides a convenient and anticipated service for customers, but it also presents an opportunity to advertise your business and establish a presence within the communities you serve. When you add custom graphics to your vehicle, it becomes a moving billboard, which is a great competitive advantage.
Moving billboards make more than six times the number of impressions than standard billboards, frequently at a lower cost. When customers are using your vehicle to move in and out of your facility, they’re advertising your business. You don’t have to pay them a salary to drive your moving billboard, or even pay for the gas. Your truck will make thousands of impressions daily on potential clients and millions of visual impressions per year.
A regular stationary billboard can cost more than $1,000 per month. For less money, you can obtain a rental truck for your tenants and enhance revenue by charging them for its use. Adding slogans to your graphics such as “Rent From Me, Use the Truck for Free” will ensure that your company is sought when someone needs storage.
You can allow customers to use your truck for free, or you can charge a usage fee by the day or hour. You can also rent your truck to the general public, locally or long distance. If you own your vehicle, or lease to own, you can charge any amount you choose and don’t have to share the profit with a franchise company. The public will be intrigued by your moving billboard, and your customers will be delighted that you have anticipated their need for a transport vehicle.
The graphics for the truck should be high-quality, using a solvent-based inkjet print process. All prints should have UV-protective laminate to protect against scuffs, chemicals, etc. Use a graphics company that’s reputable and experienced with commercial vehicles to ensure graphics are applied right the first time.
Working With the Community
You may even be able to get your truck for free by allowing other local businesses to advertise on the back door and sides. This space frequently rents between $150 and $300 per month, and some trucks provide six to 10 advertising spaces. You could easily acquire more advertisers than you need to cover the cost of your truck.
You can also build a positive community image and gain more exposure by allowing local charities, religious institutions, schools and clubs to use your truck free of charge. This complimentary rental will increase your exposure and appreciation from major community stakeholders. It will also lead to referrals and increase your market presence.
Be the business that outperforms the competition by anticipating customers’ needs. Start the process of acquiring a truck for your business today.
Jackie Ulfig is the outside sales director for On The Move Inc., which provides commercial trucks for lease, vehicle graphics and insurance to self-storage facilities and other industries. For more information, call 800.645.9949; e-mail [email protected]; visit www.onthemovetrucks.com.
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