First impressions count for a great deal when you’re trying to forge relationships with prospective customers. If you turn up to an unfamiliar house in order to fix a gas leak, provide a quote on a rewire, or simply deliver a package, then the appearance of your van is going to count for more than you think!
Clean It Up
Turning up to a job in a van that’s caked in dirt is going to leave a poor impression, in much the same way that turning up to a job interview with a big greasy beard might. Regularly running your motor through the local car wash, or pressure-washing it on the drive, is therefore likely to reap dividends.
Research by Vanarama has put this conventional wisdom in stark terms: 75% of homeowners questioned by the survey stated that turning up in ‘dirty old van’ would make them think twice about hiring. If you’re on the way to deliver a quote, in other words, it’s worth swinging by the local car wash to make sure that everything’s appropriately spick and span. Provided, naturally, that you don’t make yourself late in the process.
A better solution is probably to set aside twenty minutes each week to get the thing cleaned. It’ll cost you around a fiver a go, and this money is more than likely to be recouped by all of the extra business you’ll be securing thanks to your sparkling-clean set of wheels. If you’re going to be providing your car wash with consistent business over a long period, then it’s probably worth paying for several washes in bulk, and negotiating a discount accordingly.
Alternatively, you might do the washing yourself. If you’ve got a pressure-washer, a sponge, and a steady supply of wax, you’ll be able to keep the van in great shape with just a small time investment every weekend.
Shelving and Storage
If you are trying to look professional in order to secure business only to open your van and your clients to see tools and other equipment all over the place, you aren’t going to look like a safe bet. You don’t need to spend a fortune on strongboxes or complicated storage options but a bit of a system does do wonders to the look and feel of a van. Van shelving can be surprisingly cheap and easy to install and it gives your van a professional look without breaking the bank.
Another factor that’s likely to impact negatively on your business is a lack of company branding. If you turn up in a plain white van, then you’ll give every appearance of having just decided to take up your trade that morning on a whim. A little bit of branding demonstrates that you’ve invested in your business and you expect a return in the long-term. This sort of return can only be achieved by being good at your job. In other words, if you fail to brand then you’ll look like a cowboy.
Of course, presenting your business goes a long way beyond how your van looks. If your staff turn up looking like they’ve just been through a warzone, they’ll leave a similarly poor impression. With that said, your customers aren’t going expect plumbers, builders and plasterers to look immaculate at all times (in fact, they’ll probably get a little bit suspicious if they are). But the van is a different story – if it’s not going to get dirty as part of the job, then this sort of wear-and-tear is likely to indicate neglect. And that’s not the impression you want to be giving.