Wolseley PRO Pipeline Blog
Whether you’re a plumber or HVAC contractor, your work van plays a fundamental role in your business. You rely on it to get the job done every day – from transporting your tools, parts and equipment, to acting as an office on wheels. Keeping your work van organized and well-stocked is important to keep up productivity. When your service workers can easily find tools, supplies and equipment, you can get the job done quickly and efficiently.
Here are 10 tips to organize and optimize your work van:
1. Define key spaces
Every work van has two very distinct spaces: the drivers section up front and the back of your van. The back section often becomes the core focus, but it is a good idea to clearly define what is kept in both. The back is where you keep all your tools, equipment and supplies. But what about the front section? Too often, this area gets cluttered. Make it a rule to only keep a few necessary items and administrative documents up front, for example: a flat rate pricing guide, invoices, service forms, manuals, and laptop/tablet. Keep it clean and free of trash as well.
2. Work up, from big to small
When building an efficient storage system in your work van, the first thing to think about is the size of your items. Store bigger items on the floor or in lower compartments of the van, leaving room for smaller items towards the top. Keeping large equipment at a low level will help you maximize space. Plus, your back will thank you when lifting heavy items.
Next, utilize the vertical space in your van by stacking items vertically along the interior walls. Sort by size, putting the smallest items at the top. Shelves with stackable bins and storage containers are great for organizing small parts.
You can also install a pegboard and hooks to hang medium-sized hand tools and power tools. Don’t forget to look up! Consider suspending lightweight items, like extension cords, from the ceiling. Do this by hanging poles across the length of the van, making sure to leave enough clearance for headspace.
4. Location, location, location
In addition to organizing items vertically by size, you’ll want to think about where specific items are placed. Keep frequently used items near the doors so they can be easily accessible. For example, install a hook or shelf near the door for items you’ll use all day on the job, like tool belts. You can store items you use less often near the back of the van.
5. Use the doors
Speaking of frequently-used items, there’s no reason why you can’t use the interior side of your van door to store some of these supplies. Maximize storage space with magnetized stripping for hanging metal tools like hammers and pliers or hang plastic or fabric closet organizers with pockets to store small, lightweight equipment.
6. Consistency is key
Now that you have your ideal storage system mapped out, stick to it. If you have a fleet of multiple vans, follow the same system in all of them. This way, if technicians ever need to use different trucks, they know exactly where everything is within an instant. Keeping a consistent system is also helpful for training new technicians and ensuring productivity across the board.
The next step to an optimized work van is to incorporate lights. Hanging tap-activated lights on the interior side of your van doors will help you see and find what you need, no matter the time of day. We also suggest hanging a lantern or work light at the back of the van. Go for a battery-operated option with a hook so you can move seamlessly from your work van to the job site.
8. Stay stocked up
Keeping your work van inventory stocked up is key to maintaining productivity. There’s nothing worse than getting to the job site or client’s home and realizing you don’t have what you need to do the job. Make a point to check and update inventory often. You can use Lists on Wolseley Express to quickly and easily order all your frequently purchased items for your van.
Another pro tip? Use storage containers and shelving with customizable labels. You can print product barcode labels from Wolseley Express, and scan from your mobile device to order items on the go when you’re getting low. Don’t have an account with Wolseley Express? Register here.
Learn more tips for managing inventory here.
9. Consider comfort and safety
Keeping a happy, healthy team is critical for your business. A few, small considerations for comfort and safety can make a big impact. For example, the hard surface of your van’s floor can be hard on the knees when reaching in to get equipment. Consider installing padded floor mats around the door to make it more comfortable for leaning in to grab items throughout the day.
You can also secure a hand truck next to the interior side of the van doors using cargo straps. This will maximize space and make it easier to move heavy tools and equipment on and off the vehicle.
10. Stay clutter-free
It’s not hard for the interior of your van to become messy by the end of the day. You know the drill: dirt gets tracked in, wrappers are tossed on the floor after lunch and material debris gets left on surfaces. Cutting down on clutter and keeping your van tidy will open up the van’s space and help you stay efficient. Try storing a slim trash can and bags, as well as sanitizing wipes and a duster in the van to keep it clean. A little day-to-day effort will go a long way!
Keeping your work van organized with an optimal mobile storage system, and well-stocked, will not only help your days run more smoothly, but it can also have a big impact on your business! Plus, your increased productivity will result in great customer service.
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