4 Things You Need to Consider When Choosing an Upfitter

4 Things You Need to Consider When Choosing an Upfitter

By Jesse Peters

If now is the time to upfit your emergency response vehicle equipment or undertake other vehicle upfitting projects on your fleet, the biggest decision you’ll have to make is which vehicle upfitter to choose. Ask yourself these four questions to determine whether a company is right for your department’s needs.

What Are Your Upfit Plans?
Before you look at upfitting companies, evaluate your needs and sketch out a plan.
• Do you already have vehicles, or do you need to choose new SUVs, vans, trucks, and cars?
• Are you removing outdated equipment that isn’t meeting your needs or starting from scratch?
• Do all your vehicles need the same equipment, or do you have a variety of different upfit needs?
• Are you planning on doing all the work at the same time, or do you need to plan a rotating upfitting schedule so your fleet stays fully operational?
Having a well organized plan before you evaluate vehicle upfitting companies ensures that the company you choose has the resources to successfully implement your specifications within your budget.

What’s Your Budget?
Speaking of budget, make sure you know what yours is when you’re looking for an upfitter. You shouldn’t select an upfitting company based on price alone; it’s vital to use a company that uses quality materials and expert workmanship in order to keep your fleet safe and optimize performance. However, there are ways to save money without sacrificing quality. Many upfitters offer creative financing options or coordinated upfit packages that bundle together products that are tested and selected to work together seamlessly for one low price, reducing installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting costs and labor.
Another cost-saving tactic is to contract with a vehicle upfitter that is already approved by the State of Iowa. Pre-approved contracts allow your department to take advantage of highly discounted prices on many products without the need to write RFPs or go through the bidding process.

What’s Your Timeline?
A quality fleet upfit doesn’t happen overnight. From planning to ordering to installing, upfits can take time. Advance planning helps streamline the process. Using a state-approved upfitter can help eliminate delays due to RFPs, bidding, and approval. Ordering pre-selected upfit packages can be another time saver.
Find a vehicle upfitter that has the resources to meet your deadlines. Whether you want to do a few vehicles at a time or a large number at once, make sure you and your upfitter are on the same page. Communicate your timeline expectations clearly; your upfitter should keep you informed every step of the way and help your project stay on track and on time.

Is It a Good Fit?
Once you’ve outlined your needs, your budget, and your timeline, ask the right questions about each prospective upfitter.
• What’s their track record?
• Do they have the experience to make my project a success?
• Do they understand applicable regulations and have the right qualifications?
 
The team at Keltek has more than 21 years of experience in upfitting thousands of product combinations for Iowa safety professionals and first responders. Our Hardware-As-A-Service offering may give you creative options to help you outfit your fleet effectively while respecting your budgetary constraints. Because of our experience, knowledge, and qualifications, we hold Iowa state contracts on various products and installation services. These allow us to keep our prices fiercely competitive while maintaining the highest quality of products and services.
Contact us today to discuss customizing premier vehicle solutions for all your upfitting needs.



Published in Police Fleet Manager, Mar/Apr 2018

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