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When starting a roofing company, one of the first big purchases you will make is a work vehicle. There are a number of factors to consider when purchasing a vehicle for your roofing business. You should take your time when choosing the best roofing vehicle for your business. Don’t just get what all the other roofers have. This isn’t about keeping up with the neighbors. You need to get what is best for YOU and YOUR business.
What is your purpose for purchasing the vehicle in the first place?
Obviously, the main purpose is to be used for your roofing company, but the question you need to answer to help in the decision-making is: HOW will it be used?
If you want the vehicle to be driving billboard for your business, then you will most likely want to purchase a new, or nearly new vehicle. Image will be your #1 priority. You will not want to spend good money to have a 10 year old vehicle wrapped in your brand. When you are first starting out, you may want to be more practical, and consider a vehicle with reliability, load capacity, fuel economy, and other factors that will take precedence over a shiny new truck.
Personally, I am not overly impressed when I see a shiny roofing truck wrapped in fancy graphics. I would just rather spend my money in other ways. I’m not trying to be overly critical, and I’m not saying to not advertise. I just have been able to be successful over the years without it. You have to decide how you want to spend your marketing dollars. It just might be more wise to work your way up to a head-turning truck, rather than going into debt right out of the gate.
Truck or van?
Answering the question of how the vehicle will be used may also determine if you will be choosing a truck or van. I have always preferred a pickup truck. I like the easy access to the bed, the ability to fill it with materials or waste, and being able to use it for odd jobs like transporting large appliances. I have talked to other roofers convinced that a van is the best way to go. They like the large storage area, and the fact that their equipment will stay dry and safe. Another option for a pickup truck to protect your equipment is adding a bed cap. The negative of a bed cap is more difficult access to the inside bed, and loss of some use of the bed for hauling large materials and debris. You will have to decide what priorities you have in relation to these points. Towing a trailer can always be another option to give that extra room while keeping the bed covered.
How much do you want to spend?
Here’s another question where the answer may go back to how you are planning to use the vehicle. If your main concern is reliable, sturdy transportation, I don’t see a real reason to spend 35K or 40K on a new truck, only to have it get beat up and covered in roof coating in a few years. I realize many will disagree with me on this. It’s your money. If you want truck payments in your budget, that is your decision. I prefer to buy a decent looking, reliable used truck for cash, and put the rest of the money in the bank.
What brand of truck is best for roofing?
I’m not going to get into this debate. The Chevy vs. Ford debate is the same as the Coke vs. Pepsi argument. Everyone has their own preferences. In reality, I think just about any truck will work as long as it is strong enough to handle the loads you will be giving it, and it is in your budget. All major truck manufacturers- Ford, Chevy, Toyota, GMC, Nissan, and others, have pickup trucks that will meet your roofing needs.
What size truck do you need?
Some other considerations are truck cab size and bed size. An large cab is nice not only for extra employees, but also for storing certain smaller materials or power tools you may not want in your toolbox or outside in the bed. A long bed is great for full sheets of plywood, and for making up for lost space taken up by a large toolbox.
Ultimately, the best roofing vehicle for you will be a truck or van that best meets your needs, and fits in your budget, not what some other roofer thinks you should have.