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Buying trucks has traditionally been a logistical and financial challenge for PMPs. Shopping for trucks, caps and sprayers, and then bringing them all together for local installation, was time-consuming and sometimes difficult. Then some industry veterans came up with a solution: a new turnkey concept called the PestFleet program.

“Once you get more than 10 trucks, fleet management can become a nightmare,” says Tommy Reeves, vice president of Oldham Chemicals Company. “Dennis Bowe [senior director of fleet and commercial sales at Truck Accessories Group] and our equipment design team started talking about the potential for bringing all of the parts of this process together. Dennis envisioned smaller operators buying and managing their fleets more efficiently — similar to how the big companies do it. Offering financial as well as logistical support could mean that PMPs would pay less out of pocket, while saving a lot of time and effort.”

Four partners — Nissan, Mike Albert Fleet Solutions, Oldham Chemicals Company and SnugTop — joined forces to offer the PestFleet program. The PMPs taking advantage of the program say it’s a whole new way of managing their fleets.

“We’ve purchased a lot of vehicles in the past and had our own process for titling, licensing and managing our fleet, so I know what enormous effort it takes to work through all the details,” says Matt Mehr of Hawx Pest Control, who has bought 100 Nissan NV200 vans through the PestFleet program this year and plans to buy up to 100 more for his 12 offices across the country. “I want my people focused on servicing accounts. Being able to lift fleet purchasing and management responsibilities from our local offices and place them in the hands of specialists has been a great advantage for us.”

Here’s how PestFleet works:

The PestFleet program offers PMP firms of all sizes a turnkey vehicle solution — everything from trucks to toppers to spray rigs.

Nissan provides a selection of trucks and vans — offering a sizable discount to NPMA members. Most PMPs are choosing the Frontier compact pick-up, the full-size Titan pick-up or the NV200 compact cargo van. “The Frontier is popular for busy metro routes, because it has a tighter turning radius than larger trucks. The NV200 offers added security by sealing the equipment in the back where no one can get to it. And the Titan is great for companies that need full-size trucks on the road,” says Travis Duncan, manager of regional fleet sales at Nissan North America. A five-year, 100,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty is an additional benefit of buying the Titan or NV200, he says.

Snugtop provides a commercial-grade fiberglass topper with built-in aluminum toolboxes and LED lighting. The SnugTop Cab-Hi topper protects equipment and keeps tools within easy reach. The fiberglass construction is stronger than aluminum and 40 percent lighter than steel, says Bowe. “The lighter weight increases fuel efficiency, and the premium hardware and finish ensure a long service life. Plus the protective clear coat prevents oxidation even in very hot climates,” he adds.

Oldham Chemicals Company provides a top-of-the-line 40- or 25-gallon perimeter pest spray rig. “Our reputation for high-quality, reliable sprayers comes from our commitment to building equipment we would want to use ourselves,” says Reeves. The spray rig included in the PestFleet package is no exception. The fan spray wand provides an even 80-degree fan spray at approximately 1.25 GPM, and an adjustable cone jet wand adjusts from a cone pattern to a pin stream.

Mike Albert Fleet Solutions sources the vehicles, arranges to have all of the components installed (including a vehicle wrap, if desired), and offers financing and fleet management solutions. Mike Albert helps PMPs choose the ideal vehicle for their needs and provides flexible financing options for buying or leasing. The firm coordinates the installation and delivery, provides title and licensing support, and then supports PMPs with ongoing fleet management services.

BUSINESS SOLUTIONS. “We help business leaders plan for the future and deploy customized fleet strategies. How many miles do you put in? What’s the right time to replace vehicles? What are your plans for growth?” says David Bieber, director of sales and strategic markets for Mike Albert. “We also offer telematics to facilitate route optimization, and maintenance and fuel management so that technicians know exactly when and where to stop. We give them fuel and maintenance cards so they pay nothing out of pocket; instead, the business owner gets one monthly invoice with all maintenance and fuel transactions in one place so they can track spending, prevent fraud and make informed decisions.”

Mehr says, “I’m really focused on making sure my vehicle spend is where it should be. Before PestFleet, I was concerned about financial leaks resulting from inefficiencies in our procurement and maintenance processes. But now, we have goals in place and are proactively working toward them. In addition to getting great terms and a good buy, we now have ongoing access to fleet management data that helps us understand where we can be more efficient and how we can help our people be more productive in the field.”

Visit www.pestfleet.com for additional information.

The author is a frequent contributor to PCT magazine.