Call our Sales Team on 0208 912 2120


4th March 1924, Page 16
4th March 1924
Page 16
Page 17
Page 18
Page 19
Noticed an error?
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.

Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

Why the Motor Vehicle is Displacing the Comparative Costs. Some Users'

rougham. Overcoming Trade Conventions. es. Types of Vehicles in Service.

iN every: sphere of transport activity the motor vehicle is making rapid progress, as is proved by the large increase in the number of commercial vehicles shown in the licensing figures for last year, to which we recently drew attention in this journal. The large fleets of vehicles employed by the many thousands .a commercial travellers, both in London and the provinces, form no exception to this general trend, in spite of the many difficulties and prejudices which have had to be overcome, particularly in the case of old-establishecL concerns whose travellers have for years used horsed broughams, or who have adopted other means for displaying their goods to potential customers. Sometimes there is shown a fear of incurring large capital expenditure. In other instances, the reliability of motor vehicles is questioned, and it is thought that troubles on the road may outweigh the advantages of quick transport, but, after all, the proof of the pudding is in the eating thereof, and those who have once tasted the benefits conferred by the modern conveyance have no wish to return to older forms of locomotion.

In certain trades a considerable amount of prejudice has to be overcome, and in order to utilize motors to their full economic capacity, modifications in trade customs may have to he made. The methods employed in the soft goods trade may not appeal to the chemists' sundriesman. In the one case, the 'traveller usually visits the buyer ; in the other case, the buyer visits the traveller, and for this purpose the last-named hires a suitable stockroom in some hotel and issues invitations to the neighbouring chemists.

A similar procedure is sometimes followed in connection with the sale of valuable robes and furs, chiefly because of the risk of crumpling or otherwise damaging such articles when they have to be carried within the confined space afforded by a horsed brougham.

Apart from such points, the brougham is quite unsuitable for work covering large areas where the calls are comparativery isolated, and of no use whatever when long journeys have to be made. When this is necessary, the traveller has to have his skips carried to the railway station, hire porters to load these on to the train, and repeat this process at the other end.

With a motor vehicle the goods to be displayed are always with the traveller, and he is involved in no other expenditure than that in connection with the vehicle. Busy travellers have expressed to us the opinion that they can do three ordinary days' work in one and this -without any extra effort on their part. This not only. adds to their effici. B32

ency from the point of view of value to the firms they represent, but also increases their own profit—so much so, in fact, that in certain cases where the firms have not provided mechanical transport vehicles the travellers have purchased these out of their own pockets, and they can then use them to meet their private needs as occasion arises, and have been more than recompensed for their expenditure by the increased trade which has resulted.

The chief trouble for the long-distance traveller who uses the railway is that many of the smaller towns and most of the villages are comparatively inaccessible, and, consequently,, his sphere of activity is greatly reduced. For instance, what traveller by train destined for Brighton could visit buyers in Croydon, Redhill, and Horsham en route and do the necessary calls in Brighton all in one day? And yet this is often accomplished by travellers who use motor vehicles.

Some firms believe that whilst the motor vehicle may have excellent claims for country work, it is of little use in London, but this, again, is quite disproved by actual experiences. Few travellers operate only in the congested portions of the Metropolis. Calls may have to be made two or three miles out, and if the customer is engaged or is not available when the call is made, this means a very considerable loss of time. With the slow-moving horse vehicle there may not be the opportunity to pay another call at some little distance away, whereas with the motor vehicle several calls may be made and the original customer again visited before the return journey.

When it comes to the matter of cost, it is at once apparent that no true comparison can be made. The

motor vehicle is undoubtedly rather more expensive, but if it can do three times the work at less than three times the cost, it merits adoption. As a matter of fact, the cost is nothing like trebled. From figures which have been given to us by one well-known company in the soft goods trade, their horsed broughams were costing 224 per month in 1921 whereas their 1-ton and 30-ewt. vehicles now have an all-in cost varying between 224 and gar per month. It is probable that the present cost of the horsed brougham would be rather less than the figure given, but even at that the difference is not great, and, when considering the other advantages, the vast superiority of the motor is strikingly apparent. For those concerns who fear the plunge of purchasing vehicles outright, we can strongly recommend the system of hiring which has been put into operation by many well-known concerns. This relieves the user of all trouble and anxiety and allows a comparison of costs to be made even before the vehicles are employed, providing that the average mileage can be gauged. Perfectly satisfactory vehicles may be hired at from 2400 to 2500 per annum the usual mileage allowance for this cost being 10,000, and it must be remembered that these figures include a, driver.

Information regarding the hiring of suitable vehicles may be obtained from the Coupe Co. and Motor Cab Co., of Great Britain, 47, Graham Street, London, S.W.1 ; Thomas Tilling, .Ltd., 20, 'Victoria Street, London, S.W.1 ; United Service Transport Co. Ltd., 143, Clapham Road, London, S.W.9 ; Charles Webster, Ltd., 13a, Ainerica Square, London, E.C.3; Balls and Co., 308, Brixton Hill, London, S.W.2 ; the Longhorn Depot, 339, Finchley Road, London, N. W.3.

Some travellers prefer to drive their own vehicles, but, _generally, it is advisable to make use of the services of a chauffeur. A traveller attending to his own vehicle is sometimes inconvenienced at stops, as in many places the police regulations do not permit motor vehicles to be left unattended. There is also the danger of theft, not only of the vehicle itself, but of the goods which it contains unless careful provision is made in the building of the body to preventVsuch contingency. There are other smaller difficulties, such as the trouble of finding suitable garage accommodation at night., and cleaning up before making important calls, all of which are Ot4v3ated if a chauffeur be employed. Where vehicles are hired and are used away from the place of hiring, the traveller is usually expected to give the driver an allowance of 7s. 6d. per .night.

Where a large fleet of vehicles may have to be employed it is, of course, cheaper in the end to buy them outright if suitable. arrangements can be made for their garaging and upkeep, but, as we pointed out previously, many firms do not wish to be bothered with such details.

With a view to obtaining the actual opinions of users, we visited a large number quite recently. Our first call was paid to Messrs. F. and S. D. Coates, of Wood Street, London, E.G., where we had a chat with Mr. Frank C-oates. This firm employ two Ford broughams for their travellers in blouses, sports coats and other articles of ladies' apparel. One of these vehicles has been in service a year and the other for two years. The travellers drive themselves, thus effecting a considerable saving. Mr. Coates is convinced of the tremendous advantages given by the motor vehicle in covering large areas of country, whilst even London has some very long streets in which much time can be saved over the horsed brougham. He gave one instance in which a traveller called on a customer at Brixton and was asked to wait half an hour. Instead of wasting this time he visited Streatham and was back in time to receive the order at Brixton. Such a procedure could not possibly have been followed with a. slower vehicle. In the old days one " hop " by train, with several skips, would be made to places, say, 50 miles out, whereas now the traveller can make stops wherever required en route and can thus cover a great deal more ground. We next 'visited Mr. Baker, of Jenard, Darby and Clegg, Ltd., Wood Street, E.C. This gentleman pointed out that the motor vehicle is invaluable for reaching towns practically inaccessible by railway. In his opinion, motor vehicles are rather more expensive, but time is the important factor, and the motor has been proved greatly to increase the orders received. One man may have to travel from 50 to 100 miles to reach four customers, in which case he can carry his skips right up to the door. The vehicles employed are usually of Sunbeam make, and one is equipped with a special brougham body for the carrying of furs. The cars are hired from the Coupe Co. and the 'United Transport Service Co. Some of the firm's travellers have bought, motors on their own initiative and also use these for private purposes.

Six Unics, four being 12-16 hp. one-tonners and two 13-24 h.p. 30-cwt, vehicles, form the fine fleet owned by Paul Walser and Co. Ltd., general milliners, of Woad Street, London, E,.C. The smaller vehicles are all kept busy in the London area, whilst

the 30-cwt. types, which have special bodies, are kept busy mainly in London, but, occasionally, make runs to Devonshire, Cornwall and the Midlands.

All the bodies have three separate compartments provided with shelves, two side doors and a rear door, and it ie interesting to note that the shelves

at the rear have double sliding doors to prevent hats and other goods falling upon the traveller when

the rear door is opened. There are also steps lead: ing to the roof and folding steps at the rear. The bodies are built by Fulford and Sons, of Kingston, Surrey, and are certainly fine examples of coachbuilding.

In the West End the daily mileage of each vehicle is from 18 to 20, but those vehicles covering the suburbs do from 35 to 40 miles and visit places as far distant as Croydon and Bromley.

Mr. E. J. Coppins, who is in charge of the fleet, informed us that the experience of the company is

that horsed broughams are of no use compared with motors. The chief points are that more calls can be made, appointments can he kept in a much more regular manner and there is no necessity to wait for a buyer who is not present.

Horsed Brougham v. Motor.

So far as costs are concerned, there is very little difference between the cost of a horsed brougham and a motor. Mileage is, of course, the great factor, as the standing charges raise the cost on those vehiclesworking in the central areas. The 30-cwt. vehicles do '21 m.p.g. on non-Stop runs, and 16 when operating in London. Every car carries both a.driver and a traveller. .

The London depot of Wolsey, Ltd, the well-known makers of underclothing, i5 one which has graduated through the hiring stage and has now purchased its own vehicles, of which there are three in London, all being Austin Twentys, in which the main constructional feature is that there are no doors other than sliding pane1,4 behind the driver: These vehicles carry approximately 8 cwt. of goods and each travels 250 miles per week, making an average of 20 stops, per day. They have now been used for three years and have given every satisfaction... Messrs. D. E. Newgas .and co., the makers of Sagwen . hats' hat shapes, millinery, etc.,. make use of 7-ewt. Fords, fitted with bodies of specially large capacity for the light goods carried, and hired from the Langliani Depot. In a recent ma • one 'ear started on a.. Monday night,visiting Eastbourne, Bexhill, Brighton,. Weymouth and Southampton, making .calls both on the .way down and on the return_ journey; and was back in London on the Friday. The approximate number of calls made was 100, and, we think that any traveller who had endeavoured to do this work in any other way than

by a motor vehicle would have stood a very poor chance of success. , Messrs. Edward and Sons, of Wood Street, E.C., employ a Sunbeam car for the conveyance of hats, etc. This vehicle has done as much as 1,000 miles in a week when the traveller has had occasion to visit far-distant places, such as Leicester and Hull.

A Travelling Showroom.

As we have previously pointed out, chemists' sundriesmen usually employ the stock-room system,

but, in some cases' go a little farther than this. For instance, Messrs. Maw, Son and Sons, 742, Alders

gate Street, London, E.C., have adopted the prin ciple of a travelling showroom, which is accompanied by a representative in addition to the driver. This pulls up outside the shops of the chemists, who can enter the vehicle and inspect the goods, the representative booking the orders.

Messrs. Butler and Crispe, of Clerkenwell Road, London, E.C., employ an A.-C. car carrying a, traveller and his bag of samples for the purpose of joining up main-road towns and villages, of which there are hundreds not easy of access by train.

Our illustrations show some of the many types of vehicles which are employed. It is noticeable that few bear any conspicuous advertising matter or even the names, as it has been found that buyers much prefer travellers' vehicles to be comparatively incon spicuous," but at the same time they must have a

nice . appearance. In the main the vehicle's are specially constructed for the work, some even being

equipped with runners and coat hangers, whilst Wellfinished nests of drawers are utilized for the smaller rods', and particularly by travellers in sweetstuffs, jewellery and sundries, such as buttons. One of the things which have to be guarded against is theft. For this reason. ordinary cars converted for the purpose have not proved very satisfactory

and the majority of the vehicles used, have -wellprotected 'windows and stout doors fitted with Yale

locks. Vehicles have, even been designed in which the traveller can sleep in comparative comfort, a great advantage in certain instances where hotel accommodation. may be very difficult to ,secure: We

illustrate one such vehicle, which is known as the Overland-Oha.mpion' . At the back of this vehicle, within the body, is a heat nest of drawers, and arrangements are made whereby the seats can be unshipped and laid flat along the floor in order to form a well-cushioned cOnch on which the traveller may he at full length.

, Naturally such a vehicle can only be used by a man who is travelling in goods which take up very little space, imit it would certainly 'be. ideal for the use of a man concerned, say, with the sale of jewellery.