By Roger Magalhaes
Buying a working vehicle is a big investment and should not be rushed. Besides the large financial commitment, there are specific needs that the new company car should fulfill.
Our industry is very unique and employs everyone from part-time solo moms to full-time multilocation crews. Some companies may drive more than others and look for fuel efficiency. Some businesses may seek extra room for boxes, while others have to find a solution to mix business and personal needs within the same automobile.
Below, I share features that were important to my colleagues when they were making the decision to purchase new window covering installation vans.
For Julie Thome with Julie Thome Draperies in Redding, Connecticut, great highway mileage was the deciding factor when she bought her 2019 Ford Transit. Currently, she has projects from Maine to Florida.
“During COVID-19, I have driven to the jobs instead of flying and shipping,” she says. “It has amazing MPG on the freeway. Also, I don’t need the added height as I store my treatments flat.”
Joe Gebara with J. Edison Interiors in Miami is a big guy and so is his son, Noah (they are, respectively, 6 feet, 4 inches, and 6 feet, 5 inches). For the father-and-son installation team, the 2020 Nissan NV 2500 Hi-Top Edition was the perfect working van, as it allows them to stand straight while inside the vehicle.
Additionally, Joe adds, “A wonderful feature with this model is that it includes two standard outlets that can be used to charge batteries between installations or to use our power tools outside of the customer’s home.”
Want more information on becoming a top window treatment installer? Check out the Window Fashion Certified Professional FastTrack program on Installation.
Low maintenance costs
For Peter Mattaroo of Colorado Springs Custom Blinds and Shutters, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the decision to buy a 2019 Silverado Crew Cab with a standard bed size came down to money.
“In our market (Colorado), we need four-wheel drive, and I can buy one of them for about $10,000 less than what I can buy a van for. Also, the repair cost on a pickup is a fraction of what a van repair cost is.”
For Jason Boyle at Evansville Blinds, Shades and Shutters in Evansville, Indiana, the flexibility of his 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan is priceless. “Both my installer and I have kids and occasionally we need to pick them up at the end of the day,” he says. “The cadet seats are folded into the floor and can easily pop up if needed. We can even fit several shutters in the van for multiple jobs. The back seat (has been) removed and that space is used for storage of parts and tools. We have fit boxes up to 120 inches long.”
As you can see, each business has unique needs, and the features of each vehicle the pros have chosen are unique as well. When you are ready to shop for a new working car, make a list of the important needs and tasks you want to accomplish. That should give you a good head start on picking the right vehicle.
For additional setup ideas and photos, check out the e-book 11 Working Van Setups to Optimize Your Installations on my website.
Roger Magalhaes is the founder of Trading Up Consulting, which provides installation training for window fashion professionals. Magalhaes draws on 15 years as a professional window treatment installer in the Boston area, where he received over 600 5-star reviews from satisfied clients. He is the installation instructor for the Window Fashion Certified Professional FastTrack program, serves on the board of directors of the Window Coverings Association of America and recently founded the Facebook group Window Treatment Installers by Trading Up Consulting.