One of the most common words in the world of upfitting trucks and vans has got to be “custom”.
You see it everywhere, we see it everywhere, and unfortunately, it’s become such a common word in this industry, here at Expertec, we don’t really like to use it.
Well, the biggest reason is how different people – clients, vendors, and our own team – view that word. It’s simply a matter of definition…
“Custom,” according to Google, is “made or done to order for a particular customer.”
The challenge is this – when people hear “custom” they immediately hide their wallets. “Custom” costs money, doesn’t it? Well, not really, and that’s the point of this article.
For example, let’s say a fleet manager needs three fully upfitted vans for his or her field team. To the manager and their company, those vans are “custom built” for the job. To our team at Expertec, we’re using our resources and vendors throughout North America to provide a “custom solution” to the fleet manager’s needs…
In our eyes, and the eyes of our customers, “custom solutions” cost far less than you would think but deliver the same results as “custom built.”
Our team is perfectly capable of firing up the welder and building an incredible set of shelving racks for your van … but … there’s always a but, isn’t there?
Since we have relationships with so many different companies, the solution we provide our clients could be a “standard” upfitting item – an off-the-shelf product specifically built and designed for that particular vehicle model. They’d fit like they were custom built, but they’d cost far less.
In every case, the solution is customized to what you need, but the products used in that solution might be a standardized item. Shelving units designed just for 2015-2019 Ford Transits with a long wheelbase.
Can you see how easily “custom” can be misinterpreted? For us, it’s really about clarity and integrity. We love to create solutions to meet your needs, but so many companies misrepresent how easily that can be done and misuse the word “custom.”
On the other hand, at Expertec, we also do create custom, one-off designs for our clients. A great example of these is our flat decks and service bodies. For some clients, it is simply more effective to have a completely custom design – built for the job, but again, there is a “custom solution” and a “custom built” answer to nearly any challenge you could bring to us.
In the simplest of terms, the power inverter isn’t custom-built, but the installation in the chassis of your van and where you or your team will access it, is custom designed based on your needs. When you add in the air compressor, the shelving, the storage, and the work station we’ve installed into that customers’ van, what they’ve gotten – a van capable of doing exactly what they need and storing every bit of equipment they’ll use on the jobsite – can certainly be seen as a “custom” van.
Our team just used their expertise to find the correct products for that installation.
Now, a far more important part of the “custom” conversation is price.
If you were to go to Chip Foose and have him build you a custom hot rod, you can bet you’d pay a pretty penny for it. Of course! In many cases, he and his team are literally building body panels, wheels, and many other components from scratch, using CAD/CAM and traditional machine shop tools.
And while he might build an air cleaner, it’s unlikely he would build an intake manifold.
At Expertec, we use an incredibly long list of companies that create solutions for our clients based on the vehicle and that are perfectly matched to fit the truck or van in question. No, it’s not a custom ’34 Ford, but it is a perfectly designed and executed truck or van that can last hundreds of thousands of miles for your business and allow you to enjoy the job even more. More importantly, our “custom solutions” will always cost less than something “custom built.”
Don’t let that word fool you!