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View Full Version : why a 18-20 foot box van makes sense


David Gretzmier
01-04-2011, 11:09 AM
I currently run 3 14-15 foot long boxvans, a 13 foot storage space "UPS" type bus, a newer 1/2 ton truck and 12 foot enclosed trailer or 22 foot open trailer, and an older 1/2 ton pickup with ladder rack that can pull a trailer as well.

all those rigs are fine, but this time of year reminds me of the limitations. the boxvans I currently run are fine for all installs, as long as you are comfortable with a 40 foot ladder sticking out the back from time to time, or a 32 foot ladder that encroaches on the passenger area if you don't want it sticking out.

but takedowns are another story. 2 good men can takedown enough in a day to fill a 20 foot boxvan and sometimes more. on takedowns I am finding that I am routing guys inefficiently because even a 15 foot boxvan is too small to accomodate the volume of wreaths, garland, boxes and spools of much more than 5-6 jobs. I am usually giving them 3-5 small jobs and one big job to fill the truck at the end of the day. or 4 regular jobs,truck is full and they roll into shop at 2pm. This hurts, as when you have good weather days, you really need your takedown guys to work from 8-6, as in January it is very likely that at least 2-3 days out of 7 are snow, rain, sleet, or just yucky.

my brother mentioned to me he and his daughter took down 10 jobs yesterday with his rig, which is a 22 foot long isuzu lawn care ramp truck with 3 foot expanded metal sides. open is only fine as long as it does not rain, and you unload it at the end of the day to keep morning frost away from weakening your boxes.

so I am reccomending to you guys and to myself that my next boxvan purchases be longer for a few reasons along with being big enough for takedowns. a 20 foot boxvan seems huge until you realize a 40 foot ladder fits perfectly inside. Truck graphics also seem to be my main source of leads these days, and a 20 foot boxvan SCREAMS your brand. as far as square footage of billboard advertising space, compared to the 14 foot vans I am currently running, that is a 40 plus percentage size increase.

I have rented a 24 and 26 foot box van and can tell you that is too big.

probably the biggest negative against going that big is employee driving. a 14 or even 16 foot boxvan can be driven pretty much like any other vehicle and not get into too much trouble. but a 20 foot rig requires a driver to pay close attention to turning and also has to deal with side winds on interstates as well. Isuzus or other cab forward type frames can minimize some of the overall length thing, but they also accent the cornering thing as they require a slight learning curve of where the pivot point is on the vehicle.

even giving the negatives I am going big on my next purchase and will report the results.