There are many misconceptions about the vehicle upfitting process. In this series, we’re going to reveal several “secrets” of the industry to give you an inside scoop on what you can expect and what to look for when working with an upfitter. Having a bit of insider knowledge will help you find a quality upfitter that truly has your best interests in mind to get you the best possible results.
Today, we’ll focus on the scheduling process. Next week, we’ll dive into other aspects, including pricing and why it’s important to consider which particular services your upfitter offers.
Scheduling Your Upfit
The scheduling process often confuses customers. Some upfitters claim they’ll get your vehicle into their shop “right away” to make you feel like you’re going to receive immediate service. What usually ends up happening, however, is the upfitter takes the vehicle and lets it sit at their facility for an extended period of time—sometimes for months! While they may take the vehicle away from you right away, the service won’t happen that quickly, and you’ll often be left without your vehicle for quite some time.
Find out up front how long it will take for your upfitter to actually start working on your vehicle(s). Keep in mind that the summer is the busiest time of the year, so it will be harder to get in, and turnaround time could be slow. For example, July 1st is the renewal of the fiscal year in Iowa, so many fleet managers rush to get their vehicles in around this time. We highly recommend scheduling your upfits earlier in the year to avoid the summer rush.
It can take several weeks for an upfitter to receive the products you request for your vehicles and to complete the upfit. The earlier you start planning and ordering your products, the sooner you can lock in your date and get your vehicles back.
You should be prepared to walk through a version of the following questions before bringing your vehicle into a shop for an upfit:
- Have you had the vehicle for a while, or is it new from a dealership?
- When are you going to get your new vehicle from the dealership?
- Do you want to take anything off of an older vehicle and reuse it on the new one?
Start working and planning with an upfitter about 12–15 weeks before you want the upfit to be complete.
Like we stated in the beginning, it’s important to understand how long someone will be actually “working” on your vehicle. This is important to understand so you can anticipate the quality of install you’ll be getting as well as the ability to compare and apples to apples quote from multiple installers.
For us, it’s typical to have two installers working on a vehicle, roughly totaling 15 hours per day for 3–4 days (up to 5).
Once you get your quote, look at the time quoted on your invoice — if it isn’t clear, request the total number of hours in reference to your project.
We want you to be prepared and understand how our process works so you can receive the best possible service. The more you know before you start working with us or any other upfitter, the less confusion you’ll encounter throughout the process.
If you know what you need for your next upfit, you can request a quote from us, and we’ll prepare it and send it back to you within 24 hours. If you aren’t sure what you need, you can talk with one of our product and fleet representatives, and they’ll answer any questions you have. Contact us today!