August 2001 Truck Of The Month

Tom Cambron of Pipe Wrench Plumbing in Knoxville, Tenn., knew what he wanted out of a service vehicle, something a lot of contractors are after: a vehicle that will carry an entire warehouse worth of parts, needs little maintenance, will effectively market his company and will help retain top-notch technicians.

Where can you find a perfect truck to suit your individual style of doing business? You design it yourself. Tom's truck is half Isuzu and half "Cambron." Tom spent about two years designing the box on his truck. When he was creating it, Cambron said he was "looking for a design that would use its space efficiently, be duplicable and be very tech-friendly."

Tom sought the services of Eddie's Body of Knoxville to custom-fabricate the Knapheide body.

The majority of the parts the truck carries are accessible from the side - not the inside of the truck. "This way, a plumber only needs to open one of the doors on the outside panel of the box, rather than climbing inside a crowded truck to hunt for the needed part," says Cambron.

On top of the box are several bins designed to carry 10-ft. lengths of pipe and many other PVC pipe parts. The truck holds a lot of gear - 27 faucets, five garbage disposals, a Gerber Power-flush toilet, drain cleaning equipment and more than 4,500 pipe fittings.

The front of the truck is an Isuzu with a four-cylinder turbo-diesel that manages 14 miles per gallon. The cab features another Cambron adjustment: an inverter boosts the voltage coming from the truck's battery and supplies a laptop computer and printer with power as well as an energy source to recharge portable power tools between jobs. The computer and printer are used to input data about the specifics of the job being performed as well as general descriptions of the plumbing work of the house.

According to Cambron, "This data along with the specific job details is then transferred to the main database of Pipe Wrench Plumbing and stored for future reference." The computer and printer provide another convenience to the customer as well as the technician. It allows the technician to create a professional, detailed invoice (with any last-minute adjustments) on the spot.

The laptop also has Internet capabilities. If a technician needs to know something, he can go to the truck and look it up.

Cambron's truck is a part of his business that really reflects where he is heading. In the past year, Pipe Wrench Plumbing has acquired two other companies and plans are in the works to supply them with trucks such as these.