As a fleet manager, you carry a great load on your shoulders in choosing fleet vehicles and upfitting or deciding to replace them. Upfitting can help decrease drivers’ response time or make certain there is enough room onboard a vehicle to carry all the supplies or parts employees need to perform their jobs.
When planning your upfit, avoid these mistakes that newer fleet managers sometimes make:
1. Only Considering Price When Choosing an Upfitter
You can choose from a wide range of upfitters to build your new fleet vehicles for first responders and public safety officers. Don’t make the mistake of choosing one based solely on price. A great upfitter will have several years experience and an understanding of what you need (and don’t need) on your vehicles. They can help you understand all of your options while keeping you within your budget, and an experienced upfitter can give you a better of idea of how long it will take before your vehicles are ready. To offer lower prices, some upfitters may install lower quality products, which can put your staff and the public at risk.
2. Choosing the Installer Closest to You
You may think that the best upfitters are the ones that are closest to your location and just go ahead and use them for installation. However, your local installers may not have as much experience as some of the others available to you. The only difference in using an installer who is outside your local area is that they can deliver the vehicle to you more quickly after it’s complete. However, a more experienced installer can get the job done faster, often resulting in a quicker overall turnaround time. It’s also important to take into consideration what a quality and experienced upfitter can bring to your long-term time investment. If you don’t have to continue bringing your vehicles in for installation service and repair, that one-time trip to a quality installer can seem like a minor trade-off.
3. Poor Decision-Making on Specifications
Newer fleet managers can sometimes spend more of their budget on all the bells and whistles, such as upgrading light bars on police cars to the most expensive option, but the most expensive option doesn’t always provide the value that you put into it. On the other hand, spending a little more on some items can save money in the long run by reducing the need for frequent replacements. It’s important to understand exactly what benefits you’re paying for when you specify products and services to be included in your upfit.
When you work closely with an experieced, knowledgeable, and (above all) honest upfitter, they can provide valuable guidance in helping you decide what specifications will give your department the best value for the budget you’re allocating as well as ensure that everything is installed to the highest safety standards.
4. Getting Started Too Late
Make sure you don’t wait too long before getting an upfitter or installer started on your fleet vehicle upfits. It is best to get them involved as early in the year as possible so you can get the process underway and completed on time. It would event be beneficial to involve your upfitter before you’ve purchased your new vehicles. Fleet managers who find great upfitters and installers tend to place their orders early every year and stick with the same reputable company.
The Keltek Advantage
Keltek has over 15 years of experience in upfitting over 700 departments and protecting over 12,000 lives of public safety officers. Look no farther than Keltek for trustworthy service and top-of-the-line products at the best price available. You can rely on us for all of your public safety products and vehicle upfitting needs. We can help you make the tough decisions and walk you through every step of the process.