Customizing commercial truck bodies is different than modifying an SUV or light-duty truck. Often, people buy modified SUVs and small trucks from the original equipment manufacturer.
Commercial trucks are different. Customization covers everything from cargo type to snowplows. It’s all about creating a specific vehicle for your business.
Whether you’re buying your first commercial truck or replacing an old one, make it a smart choice. Cost, crew safety, and productivity all affect the bottom line.
Consider the following tips to get the right truck for your business.
1. Budget and Purpose
Determine your budget before you start shopping. It’s useless to consider something you can’t afford.
Once the budget is set, determine the primary tasks for the vehicle. Hauling loose gravel and dry goods is different than perishable products.
Determine the largest load weight. Will it be constant, or go down as deliveries happen throughout the day? Will the truck pull a trailer? If so, what size?
Different bodies serve different functions. The purpose of the truck determines which standard and special features you need.
Another important point is how long you expect to use the truck. Do you want a body built to last a long time or a less expensive one for a shorter life cycle?
2. Choose the Body Type
How much space do you need? Is climate an issue? How is cargo loaded and unloaded? Does cargo need protection from the elements or theft? Is refrigeration required?
Here are common commercial truck body types and their uses:
- Utility Body: Utility bodies serve plumbing, electrical, general construction, HVAC, mobile equipment service businesses.
- Flatbed: Heavy construction, landscape, mechanical distribution, and pest control.
- Dump Bed: Landscape, heavy construction, and demolition companies.
- Dry Van: Delivery services for packages, furniture, and equipment. They’re also common in the landscape, plumbing, and HVAC businesses.
- Refrigerated Body: Food and beverage delivery service.
When choosing a body it’s important to decide which factors are most important. An enclosed service body used at night needs interior lighting.
An open body flatbed works in many situations. But, if theft or weather is an issue you may want a more expensive enclosed dry van body.
Don’t forget to calculate length, width, and height requirements for cargo. Check height clearance. If you park the truck in a garage make sure it fits.
3. Select the Chassis
Select the chassis after deciding on body type, dimensions, payload, and trailer requirements.
Consult with the manufacturer. Make sure the gross vehicle weight rating meets the largest total weight the truck can haul. This includes the weight of the chassis, body, payload, and people. Factor in any trailer requirements.
If you buy a dump truck find out if it needs power take-off capabilities. Make sure the chassis can do the job.
Other chassis specs to verify are frame-rail clearance and cab-to-axle distance.
Wheel size impacts load height. Select a chassis with wheels large enough to meet dock height.
4. Truck Body Material
Heavy snowfall, salty sea air, or unyielding rain corrode conventional steel trucks. If your truck operates in harsh weather, consider aluminum, fiberglass, and composite materials.
Composite materials cost more, but they last longer and weigh less. Weigh the pros and cons before you choose.
5. Body Flooring Options
Will you load and unload pallets on the truck floor? A forklift and pallets need a strong floor.
Talk to the manufacturer about reinforcement and materials that support the extra weight.
Consider staff safety when choosing the floor. Slip-resistant surfaces keep employees safe.
6. Cargo Access
Is cargo loaded from the side or back? Determine the size and number of doors needed on a box truck. Do you want built-in steps or stirrups for safety?
If the vehicle is a flatbed, does it need sides? Do you want removable stake sides or a rear gate on fixed posts?
Ask the employees who use the vehicle for input. They know what does and doesn’t work.
7. Mounted Equipment
Do you need more equipment on your truck? Want to mount a crane, ladder rack or compressor to it? No problem as long as you plan for it.
Discuss the addition of a canopy, crane, or any other mounted equipment at the quote stage.
Customize Your Commercial Truck Bodies
The goal is to create a truck that does the job for your particular business.
If you’re ready to customize, call the commercial truck bodies experts. The pros at Pacific Truck Colors are ready to provide and install the equipment you need.