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Making customers happy powers the success of Custom Truck One Source
It’s all in the name. One of the largest providers of vocational trucks in North America, Custom Truck One Source (NYSE: CTOS) is a dedicated one-stop shop for specialized commercial truck-and-heavy-equipment solutions. If you’re not sure what a vocational truck is, think of the jobsite juggernauts that do heavy lifting, reaching, digging, and pulling: cranes, bucket trucks, diggers, hydro-excavators, trailers, water trucks, hi-rail rotary dump trucks, forestry trucks, trash trucks, heavy haulers, and the like.
A mainstay of infrastructure-focused industries that depend on trucks with serious muscle, stamina, safety features, and flexibility — such as construction, building supply, forestry, telecom, and energy — work trucks often require significant design modifications to meet the demands of the jobs they do.
Custom Truck makes most of these vehicles with innovative alterations to suit a dizzying number of requirements as part of an ecosystem that also includes financing and auction capabilities, state-of-the-art production and service facilities for tool and belt testing and repair, a 24-hour call center, and a best-of-breed parts department staffed with certified, knowledgeable specialists.
On a mission to help their customers be as profitable as possible while getting their jobs done faster, safer, and more efficiently, Custom Truck partners with them to solve their most challenging problems and increase uptime. In addition to maintaining an 8,951-vehicle rental fleet, the Kansas City-based enterprise offers new and used equipment sales, rentals, customization, and manufacturing, all supported by world-class service, financing solutions, and in-house auction solutions for reliable asset liquidity.
Their unique cradle-to-grave approach provides custom support at every stage of an asset’s life cycle, from in-house financing to design, remanufacturing, and final disposition. With 35 locations across North America, and an 1,855-person team of experts in everything from engineering to logistics and beyond, Custom Truck really lives up to the name.
In April, Nesco Holdings (NYSE: NSCO), in partnership with Platinum Equity LLC, acquired Custom Truck for $1.475 billion and adopted the Custom Truck brand.
“For years we were good competitors,” CEO Fred Ross said. “We’re happy to merge and create a great one-stop shop that allows us to double our rental fleet and increase service for our customers.” The union, which created one of the largest specialty rental firms in North America, has a new tagline as well. “Better Together” reflects not only the company’s expansion, but also a commitment to working with their customers for mutual success.
Built to grow
The infrastructure end markets served by Custom Truck are on a growth track, with initiatives such as the buildout of the nation’s 5G network, ongoing high-speed rail projects, and the upgrading and extension of energy transmission and distribution systems driving the need for highly customized, road-legal vocational trucks. Company engineers rethink OEM designs to solve complex issues, such as making a crane that will safely reach higher and lift heavier loads that can operate in 48 states without causing permitting headaches. From engineering proprietary remote control designs to building new axle configurations or lightening up a dump truck to maximize its capacity, Custom Truck optimizes the basics to get the most from a vehicle’s performance.
“We use our team to solve the biggest problems that our customers have,” Ross said. “They may want a truck to be stronger, weigh less, or allow them to work more efficiently, and we’ve grown our business by constantly innovating.” By building trucks used in diverse industries with varied business objectives and needs, the Custom Truck team has the kind of rich, deep expertise that enables them to build the best truck for its intended use — all while building on their devoted customer base.
The ability to custom design, fabricate, and install truck frames, suspensions, transmissions, and other components is a core specialty. “We've learned how to do axle placement to be able to drive higher carrying capacity, whether it's a dump truck, water truck, mechanics truck, propane truck, crane, or anything along those lines,” Ross said. “Our teams come up with the best solutions. We're used to dealing with many different fields, and that experience enables us to build the best truck for our customers’ needs.”
The company’s market-leading heavy-duty trailers and specialized equipment bodies, which are produced by its wholly owned subsidiary and manufacturing arm Load King, are a key part of the Custom Truck brand family and equipment portfolio. With a history of innovation and engineering excellence dating to 1956, Load King pioneered several advancements in trailer construction, such as the industry’s first bottom dump trailer, and their patented folding gooseneck trailer, the most popular folding trailer of its kind. Load King also produces specialty boom trucks and cranes, water trucks, roofing conveyors, dump trucks, and service trucks.
The 65-year-old legacy brand is powering ahead. Custom Truck leverages its engineering and manufacturing chops to continue the Load King tradition of building best-in-class trailers with quality and integrity.
“We intend to add products to the line that will fill customer needs. We’re very proud of the Load King brand, and we will continue to grow it,” Ross said.
Driving their customers’ profitability is an essential Custom Truck strategy, and it rests largely on helping them eliminate downtime. Custom Truck’s proprietary 24/7 service call center — one of the industry’s first — makes expertise available on demand. “If there’s an issue with a unit, and it's midnight, you can call us,” Ross said. “You don’t get an answering service or third party. You get our people at headquarters.”
Ross estimated that 60% of service issues can be solved this way. When circumstances call for hands-on problem solving, the call center connects customers with a service network of over 83 mobile technicians and 604 shop technicians who are ready and able to solve any problems that arise.
“We have the ability to build just about any kind of truck,” he said. That confidence is the platform for their robust rental fleet. “We feel so confident about our trucks that we will rent them as well as sell them.” Depending on the application, customers typically use their rented trucks for three to seven years. “We have to live with that truck for the rental term, so we build them for the long haul, and we know they can outperform.”
Ready to Repair
The technicians at Custom Truck’s in-house rebuild center can fix nearly any vocational truck-or-track-mounted equipment, and can tackle the simplest of maintenance needs, such as oil changes, to remote truck diagnostics to identify and fix issues, dielectric tests and inspections, and engineering hydraulic configurations to fit specific purposes or circumstances.
With over 460 state-of-the-art assembly and service bays in the U.S. and Canada, Custom Truck fabricates, customizes, installs, and services a broad spectrum of equipment. Whether in their facilities or on work sites, Custom Truck’s seasoned mechanics and engineers are fully versed in the latest maintenance and repair techniques.
Service capabilities include equipment reconditioning, refurbishing and modernization, hydraulic repair, comprehensive truck servicing, boom reconstruction, and crane, bucket, and digger derrick servicing. They also take on all-important inspection and safety testing, such as D.O.T. inspections, field training and education, as well as annual ANSI inspections.
Financing that makes a difference
Whether customers are buying, leasing, or renting, Custom Truck has the programs and equipment to meet highly specific performance and budgetary requirements while adding value at every step. For example, when a piece of equipment has reached its limit of usefulness or is no longer needed, Custom Truck will take it back, trade it in, or make it available for buyers through its in-house auction company.
Financing enables customers to avoid burdensome upfront investments and use their trucks and equipment to successfully build their businesses. As a company with a mandate to customize their products and services, Custom Truck stays consistent and on-brand by offering tailored and structured payment plans through its in-house financing arm Custom Truck Capital (CTC). Through CTC, the company serves approved clientele through flexible programs with affordable rates designed to help their customers manage and grow their companies. A variety of lease and financing options are also available to clients whose credit would otherwise inhibit them from solving their immediate equipment needs at other banks and equipment providers.
Many industry sectors, such as energy resource exploration and production, face ebbs and flows in their business cycles. Down cycles, and the equipment downtime that comes with them, can put businesses at a great disadvantage, but Custom Truck Capital is there to smooth out the rough road with seasonal or step-up payment plans. With simple application processes and seasoned financial pros to rely on, the financing unit is a great ally to operations of all sizes.
Established as a family company in 1996, Custom Truck takes great pride in holding on to the same values of their founders while being a public company. “We want to add value to our customers that allows us to have repeat business for many years to come. That’s how we've grown our family business,” Ross said. “We still treat our customers as if we were the original family business that led us to want to solve our customers’ problems, ensuring that our equipment works safely and efficiently for its entire lifespan. Making our customers happy is central to everything we do.”
Custom Truck One Source is the first true single-source provider of specialized truck and heavy equipment solutions.
With sales, rentals, aftermarket parts and service, equipment customization, remanufacturing, financing solutions, and asset disposal, our team of experts, vast equipment breadth and integrated network of locations across North America offer superior service and unmatched efficiency for our customers.
Custom Truck One Source
7701 Independence Avenue
Kansas City, MO 64125