An effective marketing strategy is the cornerstone of any successful business. Finding the ideal medium to get the product in front of the target audience is paramount.
For Steve Brown, Director of Body Shop Paint Supplies, that ideal medium is a light-duty Isuzu NQR 87-190 AMT truck fitted with an Alltruck Bodies custom-built van body.
Displayed inside the walk-in mobile showroom is a full array of the company’s products for customers to view as the vehicle circulates around country Victoria.
Having started the business from scratch, Steve along with his wife and their two young children moved from the Gold Coast to Shepparton three and a half years ago when an opportunity arose to become the distributor for Valspar and De Beer products in country Victoria.
Prior to this, Steve worked for Valspar and De Beer as Technical Trainer in Queensland.
“I was covering Queensland, Tasmania and Asia which meant I was travelling for basically six months each year and I was sick of being away from home for all that time,” Steve recalls.
“I approached the CEO of Valspar about starting up a distributorship and he informed me that Darwin and regional Victoria were the only territories available. We did a tour of the Victorian region and decided that was the place for us.”
The huge area Steve covers encompasses Castlemaine to Swan Hill, Wangaratta, Shepparton and Seymour as well as Cobram, Echuca and Bendigo.
Initially the mobile showroom was contained in a Renault Master van, but according to Steve, rapid business growth soon dictated the need for more expansive rolling real estate.
“We put on a sales rep who is based at Bendigo and he said straight up, ‘I can’t sell out of a van, I need a truck’, so we set about working out the best setup for the job,” he says. “He wanted it to be similar to a Snap-On tool truck where everything is displayed in racks for the customers to walk in and view. It’s basically a shop on wheels so he can invoice the customers and there’s an EFTPOS machine and a printer that runs on solar power.”
Visiting customers’ sites often leads to additional sales, according to Steve.
“He’ll pull up to a panel shop and take an order and then one of the employees will rock up to buy some supplies for a weekend job, for example,” he says. “While he can’t mix paint in the truck, he relays the order back to the store and we do the mixing and freight it to the customer.”
As for the truck, it’s an Isuzu NQR 87-190 AMT that Steve had painted in the company’s signature black before the body was installed.
“Our corporate logo is black, along with the Master van and the shopfront, so it made sense to continue this theme with the truck,” Steve says. “The body was too hard to paint so Fleetmark vinyl wrapped it instead, which turned out very well indeed.”
Key to Steve’s purchasing decision was the advice he received from a friend who works as a diesel mechanic for a hire company servicing the mining industry in Gladstone.
“Of 80 trucks comprising versions of three Japanese brands including Isuzu, my mate reckons the Isuzus are noticeably absent from the workshop more so than the other brands,” Steve says. “He told me while they obviously need the regular servicing, from his experience they do tend to keep going for longer in the whole scheme of things.”
After settling on Isuzu, Steve says he was advised to contact Debra Hollingsworth, Truck Sales Consultant at Isuzu dealer Westar at the northern Melbourne suburb of Campbellfield.
“I sent her the plans we had for the five-metre long body and she told us it wouldn’t work because there would be too much weight on the steer axle,” Steve says.
“She had it redesigned with an extra half a metre at the rear which took 250kg off the steer axle and gave us an extra half a metre of body length as a bonus. It was so helpful to have that specialist advice from Debra. I’m a spray painter by trade so I don’t have the expertise in designing truck bodies and needed that assistance. Overall I’m very happy with the service that Westar has given us — they helped with the whole package including overseeing the build and fitting of the body by Alltruck Bodies.”
Steve says his sales rep is also more than happy with the Isuzu, particularly with the ride comfort and the convenience of the automated manual transmission (AMT), both of which make for relaxed cruising over the lengthy distances travelled each day. There’s only one thing Steve wants to add to the truck — a bullbar.
“We have already cleaned up a kangaroo which did $5,000 worth of damage,” he says.
Overall, Steve says he’s pleased to have chosen the new Isuzu rather than a second-hand unit he was originally contemplating buying.
“The Isuzu is a strong and reliable truck and we’ve set it up with a body that ideally suits our business needs,” he says. “We anticipate a long and trouble-free life from the outfit that will continue to meet our needs for years to come.”