PM's September Truck Of The Month

"I don't like my guys at the supply house," says Robert Carr of RA Carr Plumbing Heating and Cooling, Morrisville, Pa. He cites employee theft and wasted time among the evils of frequenting the supply house. "With this truck, they rarely need to be there - the truck has everything you would need for most jobs."

The box of this month's Truck Of The Month contains two heaters, two toilets, four garbage disposals, 12 faucets, two drain cleaners and more. Inside the box of the truck are modular racks of bins to hold all the tools needed to keep a plumber's heart content.

The racks are designed so the configuration of bins may be changed if needed. This style of service vehicle seems to be one of the most popular designs among today's plumbers.

The truck has a standing inventory maintained by its technicians. They write down what items are used and then have a supply house deliver replacement parts in the evening.

However, Carr saw a few things he could add to the truck's design to add to its appeal. The most interesting aspects of this truck are the rear doors, which feature vinyl decals depicting what the inside of the box looks like with all its parts and tools - and a beaming Robert Carr. The decal is reflective, which attracts attention when the trucks are driven at night.

Carr had Hackney, the manufacturer of the box of the truck, install two orange lights at the rear, top corners of the box. The lights are useful in drawing attention to the truck, but they also function for safe maneuvering of the vehicle. According to Carr, Hackney thought this was a pretty smart idea and the company now is making the lights optional for those purchasing a box.

In addition to working with Hackney, Carr enlisted the help of Mag Signs, a local sign shop owned by friend, Bob Persichetti. Carr credits much of the finished truck to Persichetti's fine job of making the vinyl labels that decorate the box.

Another useful innovation by Carr and Mag Signs is a sign in the bottom passenger-side corner of the back of the box, which can be changed to advertise specials, recruit employees or anything else Carr wishes.

The box of the truck is mounted on an Isuzu with a 350 cubic inch engine. According to Carr, one of the advantages of vehicles like this is that when the engine dies, "you can just lift the box off it and drop it on a new chassis."

Carr currently has two trucks (he fondly refers to them as "the twins") and plans on expanding his fleet once he recruits more employees.

Carr's trucks are serving him well. At the Contractors 2001 spring meeting in Dallas, Carr's truck won the "Coolest Truck Award."