Vehicle Choices For a Handyman Business
Nothing wastes more time than running back and forth to the store to get one more item. It is far more efficient for you if you carry most of the tools you are going to need with you at all times. In a sense, as a handyman on the go, you are going to need to have a small traveling hardware store with you.
That means you are going to need some storage space. Most handymen get by with a truck that has a cap or a “topper”. If gives them the storage space of an SUV, but they do not have to change vehicles if they already have a reliable truck. Of course, if you have the budget to get a new (or good used) vehicle, then some alternatives come up. Vans are a proven vehicle for service people of all kinds. They have more room than a pickup truck with a cap, which lets you actually walk into your little traveling hardware store.
If you can not afford a new (or used) cap for your truck, or you do not even have a truck right now, do not despair. If you are just getting started you can certainly get by with whatever room is in the passenger seat and the back seat. The most important thing is to have whatever you are driving look clean and well cared for. The old “pride of ownership” will go a long way here. Your customers might get a little suspicious if you were driving a brand new top-of-the-line vehicle anyway, so make the most of the fact that a used but clean truck or car makes you look honest.
In terms of color for your ride, white vehicles look a bit more like standard service vehicles. That does not mean you need to re-paint whatever you are driving now, but when the time comes to upgrade, go with white for the professionalism points.
Another major consideration for your vehicle is fuel efficiency. Expect to be driving over 1000 miles a month. If fuel prices jack up again, even a little bit, that could seriously cut into your profits. You can, of course, raise your rates a bit, trim your service area or start charging an “out of town” fuel fee, but all of that just masks the problem. According to the government fuel economy site, the most efficient standard size trucks are the Chevrolet Silverado 15 Hybrid wheel drive and the GMC Sierra 15 Hybrid 2 wheel drive. For small pickup trucks, the Ford Ranger 2 wheel drive and the Toyota Tacoma 2 wheel drive win. For cargo vans, the Chevrolet Express 1500 2 wheel drive and the GMC Savanna 1500 2 wheel drive get the top fuel efficiency prizes.
For what its worth, I own a predecessor of the Toyota Tacoma, but mine is 4 wheel drive. It is approaching 200,000 miles and still runs beautifully, even when there is half a ton of cinder block in the back. My first vehicle was a GMC Suburban, and though I was not too focused on how well it ran and its utility as a work vehicle, the old, wise men at the rural New Hampshire coffee shops always seemed to approve of it, saying, “Now that’s a Vehicle”. It is sad to have to note that four wheel drive does not make for good fuel efficiency, but anyone who has driven a four wheel knows how quickly the power from those extra two wheels drains the gas tank. That said, depending on where you live, having a four wheel drive may be the difference between getting to the job or not getting to the job.