As the designer and project director for Exscape Designs in Novelty, Ohio, John Peterson is always out meeting with clients, performing site studies and measuring, and meeting with crews on-site during the installation process. Since he’s often on the road — and always by himself — the Kia Forte has been an ideal four-door sedan to get around town. Peterson says it gets great gas mileage and is very economical to drive. As for the rest of the fleet, Exscape has a combination of pickup trucks as well as 1-ton dump trucks, most of which pull enclosed trailers. All of the vehicles are branded because, as Peterson says, it makes sense to capitalize on the opportunity for a “rolling billboard.”

All of our production trucks are branded, as is mine. The nice thing about branding vehicles is that if you are visiting a property unexpectedly, the homeowner knows who is on the property. Branding is very important to us. With a large design/build job, we might be parked in front of a house in a desirable neighborhood for months. What a great way to market to neighbors.

I keep a hand-held bubble site level in my car. I don’t have a laser transit with me at all times, so this is a great way to take a couple of quick elevations, saving myself a trip back to the site. It’s kind of old-school.

I keep the inside of my vehicle very neat. It is important to know where everything is. It also projects that professional appearance. Who wants to hire someone who has a filing cabinet on top of his dashboard or old coffee cups falling out the door when it’s opened? That’s the great thing about a car. I can store my muddy boots, extra clothes and measuring tools in the trunk. Close the trunk, and it’s out of sight.

In the clients’ eyes, your car and the company trucks are a reflection of the type of work you do. If your own car is dirty and the trucks are beat up, how are you going to build or maintain a premium property?

The Essentials

Lots of measuring tools — I always have a measuring wheel, 100-foot tape, two 30-foot tape measures and my architect’s scale.

LaCrosse Burly 18-inch Rubber Boots — My main focus is design/build work, and in Cleveland there is a lot of mud. Cleveland has three seasons: snow, dust and mud.

Yeti Rambler Tumbler — Gotta keep that coffee warm!

Spare outerwear — I always have an extra pull-over in my trunk to provide another layer under my coat plus two or three different types of gloves and a warm hat. The weather conditions here change rapidly, and it’s nice to be prepared.

CamelBak Eddy Water Bottle — This is a must during the summer months. I go through one to two bottles every day.

My lunch box — I pack my lunch most days so whether at the office or driving around I can enjoy a healthy meal. While I am not a crazy health nut, eating an apple, banana or some yogurt is certainly a better alternative to the McDonald’s drive-through.