Herein, another in a long line of stories about individual truckers who identify a product need and, unable to find anything out there available to satisfy the need, take it upon themselves to do it on their own. On that note, let’s introduce the Trukr Stik, the only dual-end squeegee designed specifically with Class 8 and other truck mirror cleaning in mind.
After driving long-haul moving van for nearly 10 years, Pittsburgh-area trucker Shane Schindler ended up with a dedicated run with the Modern Transportation fleet in the past year. The new schedule left him with time on his hands he’d never had as a helper, first, then a hauler doing household moves.
With the change in work, “I got a little bored, honestly,” he says, and “I had a lot more free time.”
Early this year, he bought a 3D printer for around $500 and learned the fairly user-friendly design software necessary to create a prototype of something he’d always wanted himself — the Trukr Stik, a dual-end mirror squeegee designed specifically with truck mirrors in mind.
While he got plenty of use on his own out of the prototype, he recognized there had to be a market for the tool out there among his fellow truckers. The next steps toward bringing a manufactured product to market were perhaps the most difficult to make. To get the design to a place where manufacturers could mass-produce it, he needed expertise he didn’t personally have. Schindler “hired a designer to put some finishing touches on it and make it manufacture-able,” he says. “Other than that,” the entire process has been “just me doing it in my dining room. I’m a trucker, not really schooled in this or anything.”
The end result is available for $12.99 in red and black (free shipping in U.S.) and features a straight squeegee on one side and a slightly curved, smaller one on the other. Size-wise, Schindler says he’s able to carry his in the pocket on the driver-side door easily enough.
Schindler has moved about 100 units in the week since he began marketing the unique tool via social media, word of mouth and his TrukrStik.com website. News travels fast.
He notes that finding an American manufacturer to mass-produce the device proved difficult. “I really wanted to have it made in America,” he says, but the only U.S.-based businesses that “would listen to me outsourced to China anyway. The ones I talked to” who did build stateside routinely said, “we don’t work with inventors.”
Know a facility that does? Schindler’s all ears, I suspect, though he’s happy with his current partner for now, arrived at via the MFG.com website, through which he sent out a request for quotes, got back 20 responses and managed, he believes, to get “lucky and pick the right one. It’s been an interesting experience.”
Lead times on production with the manufacturer are short, he says, and though he’s stocked with 3,000 units to start, there’s plenty opportunity for expansion into custom designs with company logos, different colors and the like. The logo customization option is coming fairly soon, he says, hopefully in time for driver-appreciation events late in the summer.