What is proving to be a challenge for truck leasing companies like DeCarolis Truck Rental may also be a benefit to its business, notes Michael Margarone, president.
“New equipment may be more efficient, but it’s more complex and in some cases has presented problems,” he says. “At the same time, the entire truck leasing industry is dealing with a shortage of qualified technicians. Both of those issues are causing more fleets to look at leasing as a way to have equipment available at a predictable cost.”
Rochester, NY-based DeCarolis Truck Rental, a 75-year-old family-owned business, provides a range of services to fleet customers in various industries. In addition to truck rental and leasing, the company offers safety services along with full-service and contract maintenance for trucks and trailers at seven branches in western and central New York and has a heavy-duty parts division.
The DeCarolis fleet includes roughly 850 power units and 1,000 trailers. “The multiple vehicle brands in our fleet are a reflection of the vendor and dealer support networks in different geographic markets as well as customer preferences,” Margarone states. “Dealer relationships are especially important when we have to address issues with emissions and electronic systems. Sometimes it seems like the R&D on these solutions is being done in the field, so we need to be able to rely on our suppliers when problems arise.”
DeCarolis is also working hard to attract and retain qualified technicians.
“We’re very involved with technical schools and high schools, where we donate used equipment and take part in career fairs, some as far as 250 mi. away,” Margarone relates. “We are broadening the field of candidates through that activity and hiring through traditional means as well as veteran outreach programs. Our apprentice program is aimed at bringing in new talent as well, and we have a mentoring program with our senior technicians to help new hires transition into our operation.”
DeCarolis has a very long association with NationaLease, the full-service truck leasing organization comprised of more than 165 independent businesses with over 600 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. That membership, Margarone says, is highly beneficial to the company and its customers.
“NationaLease gives our customers national connections backed by local ownership,” he says. “Every member knows their local market and the needs of their unique customers. NationaLease members provide reciprocal services to give other members that same support where needed anywhere in the country.”
Margarone goes on to point out that DeCarolis takes advantage of many of the programs that NationaLease has to offer. For example, the company participates in the group’s maintenance council and purchasing committee.
Unique to DeCarolis is a centralized parts division that supplies all seven company locations and outside customers.
“The original motivation for this operation was to support our own facilities with parts,” Margarone states. “By operating a separate parts division, we could ensure that we had everything we needed on hand at a competitive and favorable price. Before long, we realized that we could extend our purchasing power and support local customers by expanding into outside sales.”
DeCarolis is also a charter member of AmeriQuest, the parent organization of NationaLease that provides a range of fleet management services. “There are over 700,000 vehicles in the AmeriQuest network, which gives us buying advantages,” Margarone explains. “We use AmeriQuest’s whole set of fleet planning, logistics and data management services to reduce costs and increase productivity, the very same solutions we strive to provide for our customers every day.”