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D. Shipp Corp.: Finding a New Niche

A construction company sees a previously untapped customer service opportunity

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By Chevrolet

Entrepreneur | Austin Allsbrook

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Recently, Chevy and Entrepreneur got together to give mobile entrepreneurs across a range of business types the opportunity to test the Chevy City Express LT in real-world conditions. The following is just one example of what these business owners experienced.

After earning a degree in engineering and working for a couple of well-known West Coast builders for about six years, Dave Shipp decided to start his own construction firm. D. Shipp Corp., in Laguna Beach, California, was launched in 1993. Today, the builder has 15 employees and enjoys a 50/50 split between commercial and residential work.

A different kind of vehicle, a different kind of use

"For most of our work, we use a large dump truck and several pickups, so the City Express was not what we typically see," Shipp notes. "The bigger vehicles we use simply make sense for us, given the demolition, building, cleanup, and other tasks we do every day."

But a couple days behind the wheel of a City Express gave him another idea. "I realized that the City Express would be the perfect vehicle for us to do customer-service follow-up," he explains. For the majority of the work D. Shipp does, the final stage entails a "punch list"--a set of final details that don't necessarily require a team with a full complement of tools and trucks.

"If we put a good handyman in the truck, someone with solid people and technical skills, it would be an ideal way to tackle our follow-up and warranty needs. We'd give that person his or her own set of tools, wrap the truck with our logo--it's a great vehicle for marketing--and be good to go. We've thought about doing something like this for a while, and now we have the right vehicle to do it," he adds.

A working van that works for contractors

When asked about why the City Express would be a good choice for his business, Shipp opined that it was "just the right size. The head room, width, length…it all seems to work for those customer-service vehicle needs. It's a contractor's vehicle. You can fit two people in it with tools and materials and outfit it with what you need to do the work. The sliding doors on either side makes unloading tools and materials a snap." In terms of upfitting, Shipp would add tool racks on either side of the van and a lightweight rack on top for ladders and lumber.

Entrepreneur | Austin Allsbrook

Along with its versatility as a working vehicle, Shipp felt the City Express was ideal for the conditions in which he and his crew typically work. "We live and work in beach communities, so it's maneuverability was a real plus," he says. "It drives smoothly, it has some get-up-and-go, and its size and the back-up camera make it easy to park. It fits into a lot of spaces that pickup trucks or large vans wouldn't. And the Bluetooth capability and overall cab layout make it a good mobile office."

Overall, he notes, the Chevy City Express is the right vehicle for his business and the industry. "If you have a small business and it's similar to mine in terms of construction, the City Express is perfect for subcontractors and contractors--electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and, particularly, handymen," he states. "It's versatile, comfortable, and economical. It just works."

When you own a small business, the road to success can be challenging. But with a reliable partner like the Chevy City Express small cargo van, you can be on the go 24/7, tackling a wide range of tasks. Whatever the job requires, the City Express is built with the perfect form and functionality required to get your job done. With a range of conveniences including 122.7 cubic feet of cargo space*, EPA-estimated 24 mpg city, work-ready features, and a mobile office, the City Express is the small cargo van for businesses with everyday jobs. To learn more about how Chevy City Express can drive the success of your business, visit www.chevrolet.com/cityexpress.

*Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.

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