Okay so, prior to retirement I was a franchisor founder of mobile service vehicles in the automotive sector and the cleaning sector. Our vehicles were always unique, painted a very bright color, and even had glow-in-the-dark decals.
We went out of our way to look different than our competitors, more classy, and up with the times. We were an innovative company and we wanted to look the part and maintain our brand image, something that is very important to franchising companies. Now then, let’s talk about work vehicles and style.
On October 13, 2012 there was an interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal titled; “Death of the American Van as Styling Goes European,” by Mike Ramsey which had a picture of a new Ford Transit Van which is favored by small business owners over their E-Series by a 3:1 margin.
Have you also noticed the new Nissan Work Van, it too looks very exotic and European as does the Sprinter full-size van and cargo unit by Freightliner. Both FedEx and UPS are also moving towards the European look, just as the USPS jeeps or Long Life Vehicles (LLVs) do.
Not only is the European look more aerodynamic and therefore more fuel-efficient, but it also looks cooler. Looking cool, hip, and futuristic is very important to your customer. If you drive a dirty old van, or an older style it doesn’t send the right message, it doesn’t look like you are up with the current time.
Having a more futuristic look also helps with your branding and marketing. If you’re going to get a vehicle wrap with lots of advertising on the side the more streamline your van is the better. Eventually I suppose that all service vehicles will look the same, and the new style will replace the old. At that point the old-style will also be in because it looks folksy, and it sends a message that you are down to earth and have been in business a while.
However, in the interim you need to look the part if you wish to play the part, and sometime in the future perhaps another five or 10 years you will want something even more futuristic looking, and who knows the styles often go around the circle and the boxy look maybe in in the future, but right now it isn’t, so if you are looking for a new van for your small business I hope you will please consider everything that I’ve discussed here today. Think on it.