February 8, 2021
BY BEAU BECRAFT
“It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.”
For James Longley, dirty jobs have kept him in business for the past two decades.
Longley owns and operates Professional Cleaning Supply, Inc. (PCS) and its subsidiary, Gorilla Truck Box, in Oklahoma. PCS, founded in 2000, specializes in providing supplies for professional carpet cleaning companies, auto detailers, and those who work in restorative services focusing on fire and water restoration and mold remediation.
Though the lineup of cleaning products and accessories offered to PCS customers was meeting their needs, a practical transportation solution for these professionals was an entirely different story altogether.
“We had the supplies, tools, and equipment for these businesses, but there were no good service vehicles that were customized for our industry,” recalls Longley.
Options did exist, but none were specifically tailored to meet the needs of these particular industries. Dissatisfied with that fact, Gorilla Truck Box was born.
“We saw utility vehicles for plumbers, electricians, HVAC, etc., but nothing designed for the professional carpet cleaners and restoration companies,” says Longley. “Our industry was always trying to take a standard box truck or van and make it conform to our industry needs, which created a very disorganized vehicle at best.”
Not only was lack of organization a catalyst for creating an industry-specific body, practicality and efficiency also played significant key roles.
“In the carpet cleaning and restoration industry, doors on vans and trucks must stay open when a gas engine is needed to power equipment and tools, which gives easy access for thieves to steal tools not bolted down,” says Longley. “With Gorilla Truck Box, we built compartments that are lockable with the push of a button, securing all the tools.”
A place for everything and everything in its place
Utilizing his extensive experience and knowledge of the industry, Longley began drawing up concepts for a custom truck body that would provide ample storage for supplies and adequate space for common equipment used by these professionals. The overarching theme for the design was “to have a place for everything and everything in its place.”
As is with most inventive endeavors, the process of bringing this creation to life was trial and error.
“We began building Gorilla Truck Box in 2013 with another builder,” says Longley. “After a couple years, we became dissatisfied with a number of quality issues that continued to happen with that builder. So, we started researching other manufacturers.”
Requiring a manufacturing company that understood his vision and mission for the highest standard of quality, Longley says he was thrilled to finally discover Knapheide, the company that would work with him to bring his idea to life.
Like all customers seeking custom creations, Knapheide collaborated with Longley to build a unique body according to his specifications that would better serve those in the industries he serves.
“We were very impressed from the start with Knapheide,” he recalls. “They flew us to their headquarters in Quincy and gave us a tour of the manufacturing plant. We were truly impressed with their ability to laser cut steel, and were especially pleased with the anti-corrosion E-Coat process. Even Bo Knapheide came by and spoke with us.”
That visit to Knapheide easily solidified Longley’s decision to collaborate with Knapheide for the creation of Gorilla Truck Box, and the partnership began soon thereafter in 2015.
Knapheide was confident in the ability to bring Longley’s vision to fruition and provide the quality product he had previously lacked. To do so, Longley had extensive meetings with Knapheide personnel, particularly the engineering staff.
“I must say, I was very impressed with our first meeting with the engineers,” says Longley. “They were incredibly knowledgeable and informative. I have been especially impressed with Rick Terford, Supervisor Application Engineering. He has been there to help us with any changes and small issues along the way.”
The first Gorilla Truck Boxes, an order of four units, were rolled off the assembly line in 2016.
Since then, customers across the country have come to rely on Gorilla upfits to get the job done. Longley has even seen his upfits expand beyond the typical vocations he serves.
“Our trucks are mainly sold to the professional carpet cleaning and restoration companies,” Longley explains. “We have also sold our trucks to plumbers who install motorized “jetters” (an apparatus used to remove and clean out buildup in drain lines) and pressure washing companies.”
Knapheide manufactures three different Gorilla Truck boxes to serve this particular market, each offering configurations, features, and options that provide users the most efficient and effective upfit for operations of any size.
“The highest cost of any service company is labor. The faster the employee can complete a task, the higher the profit,” says Longley. “We believe good organization is the key to productivity. Knowing where your tools are and being able to access them quickly speeds up the job process. And time is money.”
With that in mind, the company’s partnership with Knapheide continues to be one of great success.
“We named it Gorilla Truck Box because we wanted to let customers know that our products are tough, durable, well-built truck boxes, built to last for many years,” Longley says. “With partners like Knapheide, we believe we have achieved that goal.”
Relationships like those with Gorilla Truck Box show that a custom solution for any need exists through working with Knapheide to bring visions to life. No matter your needs, Knapheide is here to help customers across the country by creating an ideal solution to serve practically any vocation.
If you’re interested in creating a custom body with us, get started today by visiting knapheide.com.
For more information on Gorilla Truck Box, visit gorillatruckbox.com.