Work Vans and Public Perception

The other day, I was talking to a young lady whose husband is going to start an air-conditioning service company. He holds all the licenses he needs, and his wife is going to quit her job to help him. They have an old van, but it is white, has a few dents, and they are afraid that it looks like the kind of vehicle that parents tell their kids to stay away from. Okay so let’s talk about this for a moment if we might and all the issues behind the “Chester the Molester” syndrome.

If you’re going to run a business, and you are going to operate out of a van because you will have your work tools and equipment inside, and you don’t want them stolen then you also have to realize that an older van often gives some people the creeps, that is the public perception, regardless of the reality behind that issue. Before retirement, I had operated a mobile auto services franchising company. We had mobile carwash units, auto detailing units, and mobile oil change vans. As I was perfecting the business model before I started franchising we had what some might consider a ragtag fugitive fleet.

None of the vehicles matched, we had all shapes and sizes, and they were various colors. We had the same magnetic signs, logos, and information, but nothing matched. Eventually I decided to ditch the problem of negative public perception, especially when it came to the work vans that we had, and paint everything bright yellow. Obviously, a criminal would never drive around a bright yellow van which can be seen for miles and sticks out like a sore thumb. Then I put blue glow-in-the-dark decals which can also be seen a mile away at night.

Why are people afraid of work vans, especially nondescript ones? I think much of it has to do with the media, and every time there is a child abduction, or crime it gets plastered all over the news. Then people are on the lookout, on the lookout for anything suspicious. A white nondescript fan, where you can’t see what’s inside could be considered suspicious.

However, a vehicle that is a bright color with lots of logos on the side looks like a work van is supposed to look, and if the individual inside is wearing a uniform you can alleviate some of that stress that parents often get, again stress and fear which is incited by the media.

Therefore, this is my advice to you if you are running a fleet of work vans, or simply have one work van that you work out of perhaps with another worker. Also, adding chrome wheels and chrome bumpers will help. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.