Business Operations

Decking on Wheels

The worst part about it was the car was silver in color—not really my jam, but at least I wasn’t upside down on it. Yet.

So my son wanted to be an Uber driver.

“Hey, Dad, can you help me obtain a newer car so I can start my new career?” OK, Son, if this is really what you want to do with your life and it’s your calling, I’ll co-sign a loan with you and get you a current vehicle that meets the current necessary vehicle guidelines.”

“Can we get a hybrid, Dad, so I get really good gas mileage? You know that will be my biggest expense, Dad.” “Sure, Son. Let’s spend the extra money on a fuel economical car so you can bring home that extra cheddar and really start stacking those Benjamins!” We settled on a 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE. A very nice car indeed.

If you knew my son and his personality, then you you’d know this was an interesting idea from the start. My son is more of an introvert than a chatterbox, and I think people just wanted to talk to him too much. So one year later I was assuming the loan and the car. The worst part about it was the car was silver in color—not really my jam, but at least I wasn’t upside down on it. Yet.

I haven’t personally owned a sedan in over 20 years. My wife has a SUV that we get groceries in and she owns a really nice sports car that she gives me rides in occasionally, but it is hers, not mine. I’ve always been cool with that. I’ve owned TRUCKS! Big, burly, heavy-duty, lumber-carrying, trailer-towing, filthy dirty jobsite transporters that got me, my tools, and supplies from point A to point B perfectly. Ain’t no thing. Right?

So my wife Kiki and I are conversing one night and she asks, “Why don’t you turn the car into an estimating vehicle?” “IT’S THE WRONG COLOR!!!” I promptly reply.

She says, “So what? Paint it any color you want, put the business graphics on the side, and make it yours; you deserve a nice ride.”

Damn, I love my wife, but honey, if I’m going to do this, I’m going Rebel. The days of pulling up to a million-dollar house in a beat-up jalopy with half of your tools and some lumber in the back of a rusted-out pick-up truck are over. To sell an upper echelon client, you must act the part from when the rubber meets their beautiful paver driveway. Today’s client wants to see a successful contractor arrive in a presentable vehicle. This is why I built this car. And it must fit the personality of the pursuer; for me, this car is getting murdered out. No chrome, no blue emblems, no silver brake drums—all black, no exceptions. (I’m slightly obsessive.)

Mechanically, the car is great. Forty mpg works for me when I’m zipping around town. I’m saving several hundred dollars in fuel per month vs. running my work trucks for estimating purposes. I’m lavished in luxury with dual climate controls, steering wheel audio, and cellular controls I’m pleasantly surprised to possess.

Here’s how I started the transformation:

Paint

First stop: my local Maaco Paint dealer in Tacoma, WA. If you know The Dr., my jam is black. Always has been, always will be. So obviously, for maximum stealth appearances, Matte Black will be the base color of this car.

I had no idea how difficult or expensive a matte black paint job was going to be, until I had to take the car back for a touch up and they had to repaint the entire car again. Bummer. Good for me though. LOL.

Shoes

Those 18-inch factory rims need to go. We could have had them sandblasted and powder coated black, but I’m looking for a more aggressive stance to the car, not super low, but with enough rubber to take the abuse of the Pacific Northwest streets and not bend the rims up. I went with a 19-inch Niche wheel with a matte black finish and Toyo tires (perfect color and size) to keep the speedometer proper. This car is packed with a lot of tech and I didn’t want to screw with the computer too much, except for the massive voltage drop from the new Rockford Fosgate stereo system. Continue reading to see what I’m spittin’.

Front of Car

That grille needs to go and I have the prescription: a nice T-Rex black (sounds familiar, right?) upper and lower stainless steel mesh grille set that really makes the front of the car look tough (you know the color). Just what the Dr. ordered. While I’m at it, personalized license plates are a must, but have to be wrapped in smoked, carbon-fiber plate holders to let everyone know who’s boss. That’s me, BTW. LOL.

Tinted Windows

I really don’t like to be caught slippin’ while I’m on my way to appointments, so I had to go illegal on the tint. Five percent on the back, 15% in the front for that bad-ass, you-can’t-see-what-I’m-doing look. While we’re at it, let’s smoke the headlights and tail lights so they don’t stand out too much. Man, does that chrome trim detail around the windows need to go. Next!

Vehicle Graphics

Now, I know we all have our own idea of how our business should be displayed on the side of the car. For me, it must be free flowing with the lines of the car and I don’t want it yelling at you while I’m driving down the road. When I pull up to your home, I want it obvious who’s here, but in an ominous, we’re-about-to spend-a-lot-of-money-and-be-excited-about-it sort of way. For me, only one man in the State of Washington has this ability and his name is Greg Reid of Seattle, WA.

Greg is a master artisan in graphic design and he and his team of artists will add another layer of mind blowing badness to this car that will keep the competition wondering what just happened and how on Earth do I obtain such greatness???

I chose a matte camo 3M Vinyl for all the car graphics. Yes, the most expensive vinyl known to mankind but like Kiki said, I’m worth it.

When you Google “Dr. Decks,” you pretty much get access to me, so we opted out of displaying a phone number or web address on the car. But including the almighty Instagram logo was an absolute must. My handle is  @drdecks, in case you want to follow along on my journey to become World Champion of Outdoor Living….

The Trunk

(the most important part of the car)

OK, you now have a basic idea of the look of the car, but how is it going to help sell decks? Let me show you.

First off, music is a passion of mine. A quality head-banging audio system is an absolute must. There is no reason to drive this car without ample brain-numbing bass with high quality mids and ear piercing tweets to complete my jam. This is where Rockford Fosgate comes into play. I’ve decided to keep the head unit stock and use an adapter to keep use of all the steering wheel controls and hands free technology that came with the car. A serious front and rear speaker upgrade is in order as well as dual 10-inch RF Pro Power Subwoofers.

A dual amplifier configuration is in order to power the speakers and subs, four channels to the fronts and rears, two channels bridged for the subs.

A custom subwoofer box will be fabricated for the back of the trunk (I know a guy), then the amps will be mounted in a floating style to the back of the box so when you pop the trunk, you get that “Ahhhhh” moment when you see the end result. OK, this step won’t help sell decks, but I’ll be happy upon appointment arrival and first impressions are important, right?

As far as the rest of the trunk, we have no room for a spare tire because custom cut and engraved decking samples line the floor. Each piece was painstakingly cut, cut and re-cut to form perfectly to the contours of the trunk. Clients can remove them for inspection to help guide in their decision as to which brand and color of decking product they may want to use on their own backyard work of art.

There’s In-Lite low voltage LED lighting installed in the roof of the trunk so if lighting is low, you will have ample lighting that doubles as trick samples of deck lighting. Bonus: the lighting operates on 12 volts so it’s easy to connect into the trunk lighting circuit.

A gas strut was added to the trunk for maximum effect. When the trunk lid pops, it opens all the way up. And this, my friends, will help me sell decks.

So before you go out and score that 2019 diesel dually long bed, consider who you are and how you would like to draw attention to your business. Being creative to suit your personality is a great way to deliver an unforgettable first impression that will pay dividends when it comes time to make the sale.

 

 

Jason Russell

Jason “Dr. Decks” Russell has spent 28 years passionately building unique and award-winning decks throughout the Pacific Northwest. Find out more at drdecks.com.

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