How a General Building Contractor Manages a 15-Vehicle Fleet
Q: As a general contractor, what vehicles are in your fleet?
A: We have about 15 vehicles in our fleet. We have really three different classes of vehicles. We have vehicles for our more office-oriented people like project managers. We have vehicles for our superintendents. We have vehicles for our field workers. The project managers primarily drive Ford F-150’s with crew cabs. Superintendents primarily drive Ford F-250’s with an extended cab or super cab as they call it and a full-size bed. And our worker bees are more in Ford F-250's with either a regular cab or an extended cab and a full-size bed.
Q: How do you prepare trucks for a crew?
A: We let the individual employees make a lot of their own decisions when it comes to rigging their truck. We’ve been moving toward F-250s with extended cabs recently. We can have storage on the inside, and this is really common with the guys to add DECKED pull-outs so they have a truck bed that they can store full-length material in.
The full-length body gives them a ton of secure storage. And we’ve found that the add DECKED pull-outs work really well in that most of the tailgates now lock, so once the tailgate’s lock, the tools that are inside are secure. One of our employees is adding a fuel tank because he is working on a remote job, he's got a lot of equipment on the site, so he needs some fuel to fuel the equipment.
Q: What cab type is important for your building crews?
A: We were using a lot of regular Ford F-250 Super Cabs for superintendents, workers, and craftsmen in the field. We have found that a lot of these guys are larger people and the regular cab just didn’t seem to have enough room for them and they have no room to store anything on the inside. And that’s one of the reasons that we’ve been transferring over the Ford F-250 Super Cab. Another reason we are buying the F-250 Super Cab or Extended Cab is because they have more storage in the back and the seats go back a little bit further so they can lean back. They are great for the larger guys.
Q: What do you use for storage in your cabs?
A: We have used a lot of saddle boxes, which work really nice, but they take up so much of the bed it makes it difficult to put material in the back. The add DECKED pull-outs are a lot better in that you have a full-length bed to put plywood or whatever in, and it fits much better inside without the saddle boxes. And quite frankly has more storage room, it’s easier to get to everything. With the saddle boxes, you have to climb inside the bed to get to the center of the box, and it just doesn’t work very well.
Q: Do the trucks have hitches for hauling?
A: Another thing, we use quite commonly, are the multi-option hitches, they basically have all the possible hitch sizes that we could encounter. We standardize all our trailers on 2 and 5/16ths even on smaller things just to make it easier for everybody, but when you’re doing rentals or something like that you never know what you’re going to encounter so we give the guys all three sizes.
Q: How do you purchase new trucks?
A: Typically, at a little over 100,000 miles, we’re ready to start moving on and get a new truck. We have one dealer we buy them through. We just call them up and read off what we want and they tell us how much it will cost and when it can be delivered. And then we start ordering all sorts of stuff to go on it, racks, toolboxes, so on and so forth. We get some equipment locally; some we get online. The racks we almost always get locally. As to the toolboxes, we get most of them online.
Q: Are you using GPS or telematics on the work trucks?
A: One thing we have done recently is put locators on all the trailers and all the tractors. We haven’t put them on any of the vehicles, but we put them on everything else. And the funny thing is the main reason we did it was not because we were worried about theft as much as we could never find the darn things. And so somebody needs a trailer and we don’t know where it is, you got to call around to find it. Now we just go online and "boom!" There’s where it is!
Q: What types of trailers do the truck's tow?
A: We typically use PJ Dump trailers, we have one on every job plus a couple that we can shuffle in when they need more of them or need to swap them out. So, it’s got the 2 and 5/16th ball that we were talking about on it. We go to an oversized upgraded jack on it because we just find that they don’t get torn up quite as often.
It has a built-in cover so when we’re hauling something we can pull the cover back over because we never have tarps and we used to use tarps and they’re just a pain. It is very nice in that you can just pull it back, hook on the other end, ratchet it up and you’re done. One guy can do it. And it lifts up, so one guy can take the garbage to the dump and he can dump it without anybody there to help him unload it.Published on: January 10, 2020