Today, the color still stands out against the muddy waters of the Mississippi River in Burlington, Iowa. The fleet of over 100 vehicles in this fifth generation company serves as traveling billboards, says President MacArthur Coffin II.
"When you have so much color in a small area, you definitely get noticed. It's good advertising."
Part of its way to get its message out is using a vintage 1950s postal delivery vehicle for community festivals and parades. Painted the same turquoise color with an unusual shape, it's hard to ignore.
Celebrating its 140th birthday, Frank Millard & Co. has evolved into a very diversified company to meet the needs of its community. Besides servicing residences, its industrial and commercial heating and plumbing division employs about 40 plumbers and pipefitters for system maintenance. A carpentry, sheet metal and electrical division keep the 135 employees busy year-round.
Its heating and plumbing division uses 1-ton GMC pick-ups with a box attachment for parts and tool storage. Other trucks used include 1/2- and 3/4-ton vans, dump trucks, semis and cranes - uniformly painted the company color.
Frank Millard & Co. used to complete all truck maintenance in-house, but the mounting paperwork and cost had them searching for a more streamlined way.
"We entered into an agreement with Enterprise Fleet Service," says Coffin. "Each vehicle has a 'credit card,' so when it's time for service, we can take it to any repair shop and Enterprise monitors the repairs." Frank Millard receives one itemized bill each month, which significantly cuts down on paperwork and allows it to easily track costs.
Frank Millard mechanics now work on fixing the company's field equipment and machines.
The company also uses the Wright Express gas cards for its vehicles. Again, it produces one itemized bill a month. Accounting staff quickly can note if an employee is using a vehicle after hours, or abusing the gas card privilege.
"Does it save me a lot of money? I don't know," says Coffin. "But this gives us a lot more control and makes recordkeeping easier. It's been a positive experiment for us."