Welcome to the 2005 Walls & Ceilings truck survey. We wanted to find out not only what our readers are driving and using for their companies but also wanted to learn what features and accessories readers look for when shopping for a company vehicle. Almost 87 percent of readers make the purchasing decisions for their companies and almost all of them own their vehicles, with only 5 percent leasing.

One of the first things we wanted to know was the readers' brand preference and Ford, General Motors/Chevrolet and Dodge are the most popular. Each of the 119 surveyed responded with up to five vehicles, so it's possible some respondents own more than one make.

Drive my car

The full-size truck is the vehicle of choice among readers. Surprisingly, less than half the respondents use full-size vans, including cargo vans. However, the vehicles that readers use do give them their money's worth. Most vehicles had more than 100,000 miles and 34 percent favor the purchase of used vehicles. However, "other" is the reason given for most companies replacing their vehicles, with only 25 percent responding that high mileage was the reason. One can speculate that wear and tear, or outlived usefulness are probably under the "other" category.

Also of interest is that most work vehicles in the survey only carry one passenger. Fifty-five percent fit under this category with only 33 percent carrying two, 8.5 percent carrying three and a mere 3.4 percent carrying four or more.

Most companies spend between $20K and $29K replacing their vehicles, but then this isn't too revealing, considering the price of a new or even quality used truck falls in this price range. Overwhelmingly, vehicle customers rely on visits to dealerships to learn about work vehicles and their features.

The above tables are illustrative of what companies look for in a vehicle in terms of features and options. Air conditioning was in the must-have category with 70 percent of the respondents. An extended cab on a truck is another must-have feature, according to more than 48 percent of those surveyed. Surprisingly, a majority considered a ladder rack a "nice to have, don't need" option and most do not want a roof rack at all. Toolboxes were divided between the must-have and nice-to-have-but-don't-need category and the same goes for custom tool storage.

So, what is important to readers when it comes to considering a new vehicle? Cargo space was considered very important by 78 percent of those surveyed and dependability was most important for a whopping 91.7 percent. Mileage was an important consideration by 47 percent but the next most important was price, according to 69 percent.

Survey says

So, who's going shopping and when? More than 60 percent say that they will be on the market in more than a year. The brand of choice is Ford, followed by Chevrolet, GMC and Dodge. The only foreign brand in the double digits was Toyota, with almost 23 percent considering it as a potential make for their next vehicle.

What are the readers using their trucks for in terms of cargo and storage? More than 50 percent store hand tools, ladders, mud and taping tools. More than 35 percent store air compressors, laser levels, pneumatic tools, sawhorses and even wallboard. Yet, 36.4 percent still do not use any sort of cap or trailer and only 53 percent have a company name or logo on their vehicles.

The size of the companies surveyed varied. Most have less than five field crew at 42.5 percent. However, almost the same number have five to nine or 20 or more! More than 50 percent of the companies surveyed have been in business for more than 20 years, which lends all the more credibility to these statistics. Another impressive statistic: Almost 29 percent bring in between $100K and $500K in sales volume with a close second bringing in $2 million or more.

Geographically, it appears that the contractors surveyed are practical-minded when it comes to their vehicles and their high sales volume proves their success.