One of the greatest financial assets of a plumbing company is its fleet of service vehicles. Most plumbers treat these as a necessary expense, seeking to minimize their outlays. This is a mistake.  Trucks are mobile billboards that can drive brand awareness, brand safety and calls.  The following is a list of 12 mistakes plumbing contractors frequently make in their truck ID programs.


Understand the opportunity

Before considering the mistakes plumbers make, consider the opportunity. Retailers spend thousands of dollars on pole signs and billboards, which are only effective if a prospect drives by. One street over, and the signage is missed. Yet, plumbers’ trucks travel on all streets. They are literally all over town.

Consider the following statistics from the Outdoor Advertising Association of America:

A vehicle driven 15,000 miles per year, passes by 9 million other vehicles;

A wrapped vehicle generates 30,000 to 80,000 impressions per day; and

Fleet advertising generates 15 times more brand name recognition than other advertising methods.


Mistake No. 1:  Small trucks — Small trucks are tempting. They cost less. They get better mileage. They are easier to drive and park. They are also harder to see. The cost difference between the small Ford Transit Connect and the full size Ford Transit should be viewed as a marketing investment. 

Mistake No. 2:  White trucks — White trucks cost less. Car dealers stock them. They stock a lot of them, so they are readily available. So many contractors drive them, they all blend together. It’s hard for one white truck to stand out against a sea of white trucks.  Buy one if you want, but wrap it.  Do not leave it white. 

Besides, some women refer to white trucks as “abduction vans.” They will not park next to one in a retail parking lot. Do you want your brand on something women call an abduction van?

Mistake No. 3:  All text — Back when radio dispatching was state-of-the-art, truck identification consisted of block text and maybe a logo. It was boring then and is more boring now. It does not stand out. Unless you are pushing a short brand name, like Fed-Ex or DHL, avoid all text trucks. Incorporate graphic design that makes your logo pop and imagery, where appropriate, that communicates your brand promise.

Mistake No. 4:  Use lots of typefaces — Just because you can use lots of typefaces, or fonts, does not mean you should. Limit yourself to one, maybe two.  A sans serif like Helvetica or Arial bold work well and are easier to read from a distance.


Mistake No. 6:  Use every square foot — Your truck real estate is valuable. It’s too valuable to clutter.  Try to communicate too much on your trucks and you end up communicating nothing.

Mistake No. 7:  Reverse print onfront — Printing your brand in reverse on the front of a truck so people can see it in their rear view mirrors is a mistake.  Opposing traffic generates more exposures. Plus, as people buy cars with collision avoidance, they are even less likely to look in their mirrors.

Mistake No. 8:  Stress phone numbers not URLs — Everyone may have mobile phones, but they are unlikely to call your number in traffic.  When the truck is parked and someone is looking for a phone number while parked or standing still, a small phone number works.  Instead of focusing on the phone number, make the website URL much larger.

Mistake No. 9:  Keep what you do a secret — Stunningly, some plumbers forget to include the word “plumbing” on their vehicles.  Maybe they assume a state plumbing license is sufficient or that people simply know what they do. They do not. Tell them. Tell them plumbing, drain cleaning, heating, water heaters.

Mistake No. 10:  No USP — Your unique selling proposition, or USP, is a short tag line that gives people a reason to call you instead of your competitors. It is a statement that you make uniquely yours. 

 Mistake No. 11:  Plaster your truck with manufacturer logos — If you are a plumbing service company, it is assumed you sell and service all brands, though you might have a preference.  Putting manufacturer logos on your truck does not enhance your brand. It confuses the consumer. You can share preferred manufacturer logos on your website.

Mistake No. 12:  Ignore the roof — If you have two story buildings or small hills in your market, the top of your trucks are exposed.  Put your logo on the roof.  No one else does. It does not cost much and will make you stand out.