Welcome to our 2023 Tops-In-Trucks Fleet Design Contest issue. Sixteen years ago, we introduced this contest because we understood the large investment a fleet represents to a contractor. Whether you have one vehicle or one hundred, your fleet offers a great way to turn a large liability into a very large asset.
We believe the easiest place to start this process is with a great design for your fleet. We’ve shown you many examples over the years, and this year is no exception. My “educated guess” is approximately 85 percent of our readers carry some type of signage on their vehicles. Others I’ve spoken with who don’t, point almost exclusively to theft as the single reason for passing up this opportunity. Most of those contractors have told me they do most of their business in major metro areas.
What Does Good Fleet Design Cost?
The cost to wrap a vehicle can vary from $1,500 to $5,000. Let’s use the $5,000 figure which would include all costs including design. Let’s further assume the life of the vehicle is 5 years – for most, that would be on the low end. The math would show a daily cost of just $2.74 per day. According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), a single service vehicle can generate between 30,000 and 70,000 impressions in a single day, depending on the size of the city. (The average American travels about 300 miles each week and sees an average of 20,000 unique vehicles during that time). These types of statistics are hard to ignore. Most owners realize that their service fleet represents their single largest marketing opportunity to generate brand recognition as well as sales leads.
There are several options for the fleet design ranging from a full wrap to simple lettering with your company name and contact information. Correctly implemented, any strategy can work, providing you’re clear on brand awareness, brand recognition, and, in many cases, the all-important sales lead.
Our Winners this year are…
Jay’s Heating, Air & Plumbing,
Jamie Vaughan Owner, Mt.Airy, NC
Hummingbird Heating and Cooling,
Chad Terrinoni Owner, Syracuse, NY
ECO Plumbers, Electricians, and HVAC Technicians,
Aaron K. Gaynor Owner, Hilliard, OH
Our Runners up are…
Peppy! Heating & Cooling,
Brett Shannon President, Boise, ID
Ahoy! Cooling & Heating,
Adam Washburn Owner, Tampa, FL
Dugan Air Heating & Cooling,
Dan Dugan Owner, Franklin, IN
Our Honorable Mentions are...
Lee’s Air Plumbing & Heating,
Tom Howard Owner, Fresno, CA
AC Plus Heating & Air,
Matt Postoian President, Victorville, CA
Can Do Crew Plumbing, Heating & AC,
Douglas Oakes Owner, Bakersfield, CA
Anchor Heating and Air LLC,
Stephanie & David Postell Owners, Charleston, SC
Tops in Trucks 2024 Entries
Again, this year, we had a record-breaking number of entries. Our judges had two extra rounds of judging to narrow the field. Every year, we receive many questions regarding the contest and how the winners are chosen. So, to give you a better understanding of our judging process — and tips as you create your next fleet design — I thought I’d share some advice as well as how we judge an entry.
Each entry is judged on eight different criteria — yes, that’s right, eight! Sure, it would be easy to simply go through the submissions and say, “I like this one; I don’t like this one ... and so on.” But that’s not how we do it.
Using a five-point scale (1 being “poor” and 5 being “superior”), the judges score the following categories.
Graphic Appeal: Is it attention-grabbing and eye-catching? Does it stand out? Is it industry-specific and unique?
Quality Logo: Is the logo interesting and appropriate? Does it pop?
Information: Is there enough information, but not too much? Information should not be overwhelming. Does it include the company name, phone, website, and services?
Lettering: Is the lettering legible, clean, and memorable?
Color: Are the colors bright, vibrant, and bold? Are they complementary, or do they clash?
Legibility: Is the design crisp and readable from a distance?
Creativity: Does the design create interest? Does it appeal emotionally? Does it stand out as unique?
Consistency: Is the theme used on all four sides of the vehicle and for all vehicle body types?
If you’re thinking about wrapping your vehicles for the first time, or perhaps you’re ready for a refresh — or even a complete rebranding, keep this criterion in mind. It will help you not only come up with a great design for your fleet but also a brand that will stand out.
And, of course, don’t forget to send us your photos and entry form for the 2024 Tops in Trucks Fleet Design Contest.
Terry Tanker is the owner of JFT Properties LLC and publisher of HVACR Business magazine. He has more than 25 years of experience in the advertising and publishing industries. He began his career with a business-to-business advertising agency. Prior to forming JFT Properties LLC in January 2006 he spent 20 years with a large national publishing and media firm where he was the publisher of several titles in the mechanical systems marketplace. In addition to his experience in advertising and publishing Terry has worked closely with numerous industry-related associations over the years including AHRI NATE and ABMA.