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Perfect Service Van


QuikVend
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  • 4 weeks later...

I have driven 16' step vans, 14' box trucks, and various others in the past.  I have owned a 12'box truck, 8' stepvan, and now a ford transit.  All were for vending.

The issue with most box trucks and step vans is door access.  If you need a path in the middle to get to everything, then you wind up leaving at least 1/3 of your volume empty just to walk through.  Isuzus with outside access doors are nice for this, but a cargo van with a high top and side door is very nice too.

On my biggest day, i did $1400 out of my 12' box truck.  I have done almost that much with the transit, but i did have to reload once.  I have done over 2k out of the 16' stepvan.

The point is that any of these vehicles can bring in a good haul if you have ample shelving and a solid system.  If everything was prekit, i am 100% certain i could do over 2k out of my transit in a long day (maybe 11 hours, including loading).

Nothing is wrong with larger box trucks.  They do a very good job, but my truck is my work place, my office, and my home away from home.  I like being able to go through drive thru's and park in regular parking spots.  Pros and cons lol. Oh, and 15-16 mpg is great.

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I actually sold my box truck for a couple reasons: 1) Used the funds for growth 2) It is more than I need and will be for a little while 3) Seeing as my route is small and not extremely profitable (yet) I didn't want to carry the $500 insurance and ALSO maintenance and repairs. The idea of having to repair it stressed me out as it would deeply cut into profits. 

 

I already had a 10 foot trailer, so I sold the truck, and used the insurance refund to build a box on the trailer. I use yhe bed of my truck for a cooler, excess soda cases, and some trash. I use the cab of the truck for tools, parts, cash storage, and various other misc. Things. 

Not to mention now my accounting is very easy, I dont record any maintenance or fuel, I simply keep a log abd take yhe mileage deduction. 

 

In hindsight, after having a box truck and the trailer.. I would ABSOLUTELY recommend the trailer route for small routes/beginners. 

 

The trailer method: 

Saved me money, saved me stress, saved me any possible downtime that could have resulted from box truck breakdowns. 

Just with the 10 foot trailer I'm sure I could do $1000 out of it. Though I don't have a day in my route with that much sales.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Bet nobody's seen a vending service truck like this one... it was built on a short school bus chassis. On a big day the 2 man crew (or in summer, a 3 man crew) would load it up with as much as 180-200 cases of can soda... at least a dozen cases of chips... another couple dozen cases of assorted cookies / crackers / candies... a 30 carton case (box) of gum and mints... a couple hundred cartons of cigs... two or three cases of Cracker Jacks, 5-6 cases of assorted 6oz canned juice and enough hot beverage stuff to service 2-4 vendors. This was when I worked on the Illinois toll road servicing machines at the Oasis restaurants. We covered a half dozen 30-machine locations over quite a range. (Some of the Oasis locations did so much business that the 30 machines - two banks of 8 in the restaurant and 7 machines in each of the gas stations - were a full time 40 hour a week job for one person. Can you imagine that?

This truck accidentally rear ended a dump truck one Labor Day weekend and was eventually replaced by a new one with a humongous diesel engine. (I wasn't a routeman by this point so I wasn't on the truck that day; fortunately the guys on the truck weren't injured.) Prior to the crash, I drove this truck many thousands of miles as a routeman for the Howard Johnson's vending division starting in August of 1978 when I was 21. I've got a few other views of this truck after the wreck, but none of them are scanned in. These trucks held a LOT of product and with the shelves set up properly they were great to work out of.

hojotrucksmash.thumb.jpg.7fb4d38f297173ba85ee8e500d22bbee.jpg

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37 minutes ago, Russ said:

Bet nobody's seen a vending service truck like this one... it was built on a short school bus chassis. On a big day the 2 man crew (or in summer, a 3 man crew) would load it up with as much as 180-200 cases of can soda... at least a dozen cases of chips... another couple dozen cases of assorted cookies / crackers / candies... a 30 carton case (box) of gum and mints... a couple hundred cartons of cigs... two or three cases of Cracker Jacks, 5-6 cases of assorted 6oz canned juice and enough hot beverage stuff to service 2-4 vendors. This was when I worked on the Illinois toll road servicing machines at the Oasis restaurants. We covered a half dozen 30-machine locations over quite a range. (Some of the Oasis locations did so much business that the 30 machines - two banks of 8 in the restaurant and 7 machines in each of the gas stations - were a full time 40 hour a week job for one person. Can you imagine that?

This truck accidentally rear ended a dump truck one Labor Day weekend and was eventually replaced by a new one with a humongous diesel engine. (I wasn't a routeman by this point so I wasn't on the truck that day; fortunately the guys on the truck weren't injured.) Prior to the crash, I drove this truck many thousands of miles as a routeman for the Howard Johnson's vending division starting in August of 1978 when I was 21. I've got a few other views of this truck after the wreck, but none of them are scanned in. These trucks held a LOT of product and with the shelves set up properly they were great to work out of.

hojotrucksmash.thumb.jpg.7fb4d38f297173ba85ee8e500d22bbee.jpg

Very cool. More pics!!

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49 minutes ago, Mehehe said:

I would be proud to drive that beast!

This truck had a 350 V8 engine with a governor on it and a 4 speed manual trans. It was geared really high (lots of revs and not a lot of top end). The governor was set to 62 mph. One day soon after I started working at HoJo I found out from a mechanic friend how the goveror worked... you pulled off a vacuum hose from a little thing under the hoot and plugged it, and no more governor. I mentioned this to my route partner and he couldn't get that truck off the side of the highway fast enough! Next thing I know the governor is off and he's driving the heck out of it. I don't know how fast it would go, maybe 67 or 68 mph. Several months later the engine blew up and we borrowed a truck from another division while this one got a new engine in it, plus a gearing change to keep the revs down.

One New Year's Eve (1978 I think it was) there was a blizzard in progress and my next partner and I had to drive 60 miles down an Interstate to service the vending machines at the DeKalb IL oasis location. There was only one lane open on the road and we drove the whole 60 miles at 20mph. 

After this truck got wrecked we got an International with a 9-liter diesel V8, brand new, the engine was enormous. But on a cold day if you let it idle, like any diesel, it didn't make any heat - the floor in the back of the truck would ice up so we had to put down cardboard. We young guys running the route usually wore sneakers in all weather and at least when our feet got cold we could put them on the heater box and warm them up when we had this older truck with the gas engine; the new diesel truck didn't make heat unless it was underway.

I don't have easy access to the other photos showing the whole truck (wrecked) to scan in, but I do have one more photo - my someday-wife took it. This is my co-routeman Andy standing by the rear of the truck and me peeking around the back door of the truck. Behind the truck the diamond plate is the roof of a freight elevator that came up from the basement of the Oasis building where our storeroom was. We could get 180 cases of pop in the elevator and there were times we brought up more than that to load the truck i.e. on heavy holiday travel periods. That was a fantastic job - we had fun every day, we worked hard but we got paid very well. With some overtime I could clear $280 in a week, which is about $1100 in current money. That's a little more than I clear now, 40 years later as a systems analyst. Not bad for a kid who had been making $5/hr working in a factory two months earlier. One great thing about that highway vending - no fresh food, no donuts, no ice cream, almost no spoilage.

hojotruck.thumb.jpg.bf1c7a9f96aea1e94deb94c5bc708040.jpg5a729828a994d_66dodgeyard2.thumb.jpg.1734d85e2c1c3f423874fb89f02db61e.jpg5a72983ae5673_74fordvansnowyardsharpened.thumb.JPG.1f781a52526c07c51c9ca8a7fd8aa3b7.JPG

Since this is a thread about service vehicles, I'll add two more photos:

In the background behind the Dodge Coronet is my very first vending service truck which I used for my own business, a 1966 Ford Econoline Supervan. It was bought used from my dad's friend's company and my brother used it for his business, then I got it from him. The other pic is my last vending service vehicle I bought for my own business - in January 1975, it was a brand new E300 Econoline, heavy duty everything, 300 inch six, 3 speed stick, 16 inch rims, high output heater, power steering, 8000 GVW. Sticker price... $3600. 

 

Edited by Russ
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7 hours ago, orsd said:

How many hours did that sumbitch take to get up to 60? ;D

Jk, nice rigs, always liked the 300 I6, couldn't break them if you tried.

Actually, with the 8000 GVW rating, it also had a heavy duty Dana rear end with 4.10 gearing. It topped out in at maybe 85 mph. One thing I remember is that the oil dipstick was roughly six feet long - you had to pull it out 3 feet or so then take a new hold and make a second pull to get it all the way out. '74 was the first year that these trucks had an automatic choke - the year before that they still had manual chokes! (My old man bought a brand new '73 and it had one.) Imagine a manual choke, like on a lawn mower or something. Both my new '74 and my dad's new '73 had numerous issues, quality control problems you'd not find in a new truck today I bet. Like a door that was poorly stamped and hard to close, bad windshield gasket that leaked water like a sieve, balky column shift, heater so out of adjustment so it only blew cold air, and other things. QC in those days was not very good. 

My brother was also in vending and he had a new '75 Dodge Tradesman 200 with a 318 and automatic and it was a lot less truck-like in the way it drove and I know it had a lot more top speed.

That big white GMC truck I posted the pics of had a manual choke also. We daily filled the tank on that big beast because we drove so many miles - three days a week we covered about 200 miles in a day. One morning I pulled up to the gas station which had two sets of pumps per 'island'. Some guy right in front of me pulled up to the first set of pumps and stopped. I tapped my horn so that he'd pull up to the next pumps so I could get to a pump also but he just got out of his car and gave me a look and started filling his tank. Okay, fine... I pulled around past his car and backed up in front of him so I could get at the pump. After filling the tank I noticed that the guy was still there with his hood up, checking his oil, and decided to pay him back for his being so inconsiderate. I got in the big white truck, pulled out the choke, pumped the gas and cranked the engine til I had it good and flooded, then I held the gas to the floor and pushed in the choke. After several seconds of cranking the engine slowly chugged to life with a nice dense black cloud of unburnt fuel exhaust. I looked in my mirror and the guy was in the middle of it all, heh heh. 

A lot of the new small service trucks I see look like they could be ideal for a smaller vending route, but really for any major business, a van of some sort you can stand in and pack boxes in would be the way to go.

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