As the owner of Terra Lawn Care Specialists in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, Fred Oskanian spends most of his days going from site to site, meeting with clients and checking on jobs in his Jeep, which has been the perfect fit for him. Plus, Oskan ian says it’s amazing in the snow when the job requires him to be out in bad weather. In addition to his vehicle, the rest of his fleet includes three Mercedes Sprinter vans used for fertilization and weed control, five Isuzu box trucks for the lawn mowing crews, three dump trucks for landscape installations and eight pickup trucks, solely intended for snow plowing. Oskanian recently shared the essentials he keeps in his own truck, as well as some lessons he’s learned about his fleet.
We just switched from pulled trailers to box trucks for our lawn mowing crews in order to make it one self-contained unit. That’s worked well for us, especially since the trucks have ancillary field tanks and no longer rely on 5-gallon gas cans.
All of my trucks have PC tablets in them. But our routing programs and management software are all cloud-based, so with just my phone I can see what’s going on with all of my crews. You can literally see up to the second where each one is located and how much work they’ve done.
We try to keep truck lettering simple just to get our point across. We feel our logo now has some degree of brand recognition after 13 years, so we make sure our logo, name, phone number and web address are displayed prominently.
I keep my vehicle very neat and clean. My policy with the company is that every truck needs to be spotless at the end of the day, so I try to lead by example.
I’ve always used enclosed trailers from the beginning so that we could have them be our mobile billboards. For the first few years, I was disappointed in my perceived results. After about five years, though, it really started to pay off. I was amazed by how many people recognized my company and said that they see our trucks everywhere.
I keep the occasional cigar in my truck if I know I’m going to be driving all day long. It gives me something to do. I also keep my tennis racquet in there, so I can play if I end up with unexpected free time.
Oskanian says he can’t leave the office without these key items in his trucks.
Cellphone and charger — The two biggest essentials I use to turn my truck into a mobile office.
Sunglasses and sunscreen — We encourage all workers to apply sunscreen daily and keep gallon jugs in the office.
Product brochures — These are for client meetings or running into potential clients.
A refillable Starbucks coffee mug — I make use of Starbucks’ 53-cent refills when I’m on the road.
Minty gum — To eliminate coffee breath, of course.