DeCarolis Truck Rental finds a winning approach

DeCarolis Truck Rental finds a winning approach

“The common goal for all of our customers is to have reliable equipment at a predictable cost,” says Michael Margarone, president of Rochester, N.Y.-based DeCarolis Truck Rental, Inc., a family-owned business for more than 75 years. “Today, that challenge is more difficult because the entire industry is dealing with both a lack of technicians and with maintenance issues associated with new emissions compliant engines.”

Today’s vehicles are more efficient, but they’re also more complex, according to Margarone. “In particular,” he explains, “new engines are still plagued with maintenance issues and downtime so we’ve had to invest in technology to service them in-house. That provides faster service for our customers while reducing substitute vehicle costs. At the same time, we’ve added training so our staff is better able to diagnose and repair the latest vehicles in our fleet.

“We’ve also done a number of things to recruit technicians,” Margarone continues, “from participating in job fairs, taking part in veterans outreach programs, meeting with tech schools and providing them with used equipment and offering bonuses to current employees who bring technicians to the company, to an apprentice program and advertising online. Once we find a new technician we also have senior technicians assigned to mentoring new hires so they transition into our operation more easily.”

Resources and support

DeCarolis currently fields 700 trucks, 350 tractors and 700 trailers. Truck makes in the fleet include Freightliner, Hino and International, and tractor suppliers include Freightliner, International and Volvo. “Relationships with suppliers are key to our business,” Margarone says. “We look for suppliers that partner with us and have the same values along with the resources to support and complement our business.”

The variety of vehicles in the DeCarolis fleet reflects that approach, Margarone notes, as well as the availability of vendor networks in the different markets that the company serves. Customer preferences, price and reliability are considerations as well, he adds, because downtime is costly.

“Substitute vehicles are included in most of our lease agreements,” Margarone continues. “We routinely measure costs and ROI. Using various management reports we review cost per mile for each VMRS category. In addition, exception reports alert us to vehicles that are not performing within the guidelines we set. When equipment nears the end of its planned life cycle in our fleet, we have an asset committee that reviews vehicle reports and plans their replacement.”

Safety is also always a factor in specification and vehicle disposition decisions at DeCarolis, Margarone says. As a result, the fleet’s latest units have collision avoidance and lane departure warning systems, hands-free communications capability, backup cameras and telematics.

“We’re focused on fuel efficiency as well,” Margarone adds. “We find that fuel economy doesn’t vary that greatly between different makes, so we add things like automatic tire inflation systems and aerodynamic devices on trailers. Driver training programs are also in place to help ensure the vehicle is being operated at peak efficiency.”

Full range of services

DeCarolis offers a full range of maintenance and repair services for trucks, tractors and trailers at seven branches in western and central New York, with shops equipped with up-to-date diagnostic technology. Contract maintenance is offered to lease and rental customers that also field company-owned vehicles. Those programs are tailored to each operation’s needs and requirements and can include everything from full service to a simple agreement for preventive maintenance and additional services as needed at a discounted rate.

A unique aspect of the DeCarolis Truck Rental operation is a parts division that supplies all company locations as well as customers with in-house shops.

“Originally, we established the parts operation to ensure our own facilities were stocked at competitive prices,” Margarone says, “but we soon realized we could use our purchasing power to support our fleet customers as well.”

DeCarolis also derives support from its long-standing membership in AmeriQuest, the parent organization of the NationaLease full-service truck leasing organization, which has more than 600 member locations.

“The advantages we realize stem from the buying programs available through AmeriQuest, which provides fleet management services for more than 700,000 vehicles,” Margarone explains. “Additionally, through NationaLease, we can offer our customers a nationwide network of more than 600 road service locations.

From full service leasing to short- and long-term rentals, as well as a range of maintenance and safety services, DeCarolis Truck Rental is providing a highly beneficial set of programs to its customers, and helping solve the challenges they face so they can grow and remain successful.

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