Home>Discussions>TOOLS & PRODUCTS>Best work vehicle for the hands on General Contractor
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Mastercarpentry
Re: Best work vehicle for the hands on General Contractor
Fencepost wrote:

I don't know what they do with the leftover seats. Ship them back to Europe for reinstallation?

Yep- that's my understanding of how it's done. Kind of nuts but that's what you do to beat the system.

I've had pickups and vans both. I would like one of each but with one only it will always be a van. The only things a pickup can do that a van can't is carry a tall load (like a fridge) or loose load (like sand or gravel). I almost never need to carry such as that. For everything else a van is the clear winner. I just retired my ancient Ford E150 and now have an extended E250. I can close the doors on a 14' load. I can do the same with 16' trim. I can carry 4' wide sheet goods up to 12' long. My tool are all on shelves on both sides so I can get to anything without digging through something else. It is easily locked with secure locks unlike most camper shells have. I don't get rained on looking for something nor do my tools get rained on either. Everything is always in the dry. And since the longest ladders I use are 24', those can also go inside now- no more climbing on anything to get anything. The only downside to using a van is that the cab area gets dusty quickly since it's not separate. I can live with that.

Since I do at least a little of everything, the amount of tools I need to have on hand is immense. With pickups and smaller vehicles I always had to put things in as I needed them then take them out when I was done and store them somewhere in between. Now all I need to grab on the way out is my keys. I don't do major deliveries; I'm not a trucking company and besides I don't have that kind of time to waste when I need to be on the job and working. Big hauls get delivered by the supplier. Debris is for a dumpster, a laborer, or the customer to handle. Minor hauling I can do so I can hit a smaller job and complete it in one trip anytime I need to. Most of all is that I look inconspicuous- I do not look like a work truck so thieves walk right past me to get the tools out of your working pickup instead. Where I live and often work that matters hugely. And to top it all off vans are cheaper to buy than pickups both new and used.

Pickups are for amateurs and landscapers- Vans are for Pro's :cool:
Phil

A. Spruce
Re: Best work vehicle for the hands on General Contractor
Mastercarpentry wrote:

Pickups are for amateurs and landscapers- Vans are for Pro's :cool:
Phil

OUCH! Phil, just ouch! And here I used to like you! :rolleyes::p:cool:

Being a general, I too need a myriad of things on a day to day basis, the thing is, I don't need EVERYTHING everyday, so it really isn't that big a deal to load in specialty equipment as needed.

And about that dust thing you mentioned, this is a big reason for a truck over a van, to keep all that mess and noise away from you while you're traveling, since the cab really is an office.

Fencepost
Re: Best work vehicle for the hands on General Contractor
Mastercarpentry wrote:

For everything else a van is the clear winner. I just retired my ancient Ford E150 and now have an extended E250. I can close the doors on a 14' load. I can do the same with 16' trim. I can carry 4' wide sheet goods up to 12' long.
Phil

I can easily carry a couple of 8' sticks of lumber or a 10' piece of pipe in my Honda Accord -- with the trunk and all the doors and windows closed. There's just enough room for it with the back seat folded down (or the "ski hole" in the back seat open) and resting between the front seats. There's no way to lash it down, so I drive carefully.

One time I went to Lowe's and got a 4x4 sheet of pegboard -- then discovered I couldn't get it into the Accord (if the door had opened a little wider, I probably could have). I stashed it in one of the sheds they have on display outside the front door, went home, and came back with my pickup.

A. Spruce
Re: Best work vehicle for the hands on General Contractor
Fencepost wrote:

I can easily carry a couple of 8' sticks of lumber or a 10' piece of pipe in my Honda Accord -- with the trunk and all the doors and windows closed. There's just enough room for it with the back seat folded down (or the "ski hole" in the back seat open) and resting between the front seats. There's no way to lash it down, so I drive carefully.

So YOU are the guy driving this! :p:cool:

In all honesty, that's the way I'd load down my Toyota pickup. All I had was a canopy, no lumber rack. I'd load the top just enough not to crush the cab, load the box with whatever it could hold. On occasion there'd be a heavily laden trailer attached. Hey, what can I say, there was a 1-ton sticker on the side of the truck, so it had to be able to handle it, right? :rolleyes::cool: Ahhhh, to be young and dumb again. LOL

BTW, this image came from Snopes.com, they claim the image is true.
http://www.snopes.com/photos/automobiles/lumber.asp

dj1
Re: Best work vehicle for the hands on General Contractor

Referring to the picture on Spruce's reply:

In China you can see the funniest, strangest and most resourceful uses of various vehicles, from bicycles and tricycles to small vans and pick ups.

Have you ever seen a motorcycle that carries ten 5 gallon water bottles, delivering to customers? I've it in the streets of china.

Have you ever seen a tricycle loaded with 30 boxes of apples? I've seen it in China.

How about an old man walking with a stick on each shoulder and 4 banana branches hanging (my guess - easy 200 lbs)? Yes, I've seen it in China.

ordjen
Re: Best work vehicle for the hands on General Contractor

My work vehicles were always vans. At any given time, I had 4 vans in service as I had 4 crews. We were a family company, so each brother had a van and operated as the crew chief.

I bought a new van every two years. If would take about 2 weeks to get them operational after taking delivery. The blank white sign field had to be first painted, then a trip to the sign maker for a day. Next came a trip to the welding shop where custom made aluminum ladder racks were fabricated. Finally, customer shelving and flooring were installed by me personally. One very important ting was a bulkhead just in back of the driver. The last ting I wanted should there be a major accident is to be hit with flying unsecured equipment from the back. The bulkhead also had the advantages of extra hanging storage and in nasty cold Chicago, helped contain the heat in the cab area. It takes a lot of heat to heat up an entire un-insulated van when it is below zero! These alterations added about $1500 to the cost of the truck itself, not to mention all my time in running around getting the additional signs and equipment installed.

The trucks were painted like billboards. Over the years, I had many customers comment that they had given my company a call merely because they had seen the trucks for years and figured we couldn't be that bad if we had been around that long! I also made a point of keeping all the vans looking clean and looking good. I felt it made a comment as to what my work was like. Do you want your painter showing up in a rusted out, dirty and covered with spilled paint truck! :) OK, some might argue that is cutting the overhead!

A. Spruce
Re: Best work vehicle for the hands on General Contractor
ordjen wrote:

I also made a point of keeping all the vans looking clean and looking good. I felt it made a comment as to what my work was like. Do you want your painter showing up in a rusted out, dirty and covered with spilled paint truck! :) OK, some might argue that is cutting the overhead!

I have literally hired and fired painters by the looks of their vehicles, all trades really, their vehicle is a direct reflection of their quality of work. It doesn't matter the age of the vehicle, it is the way it is kept and cared for. It has also surprised me at how many trades people don't understand this concept, whether it's a clapped out POS covered in paint, a brand new shiny jacked to the sky 4x that will never see a lick of dirt in its life, or hoopty rims. Your vehicle speaks VOLUMES about who and what you are as a person and a worker.

HoustonRemodeler
Re: Best work vehicle for the hands on General Contractor

Aside from not needing the advertising, my trucks were never painted with the company name or logo.

My driving is atrocious. :eek:

dj1
Re: Best work vehicle for the hands on General Contractor

From Houston: "My driving is atrocious"

I know, you can blame it on the distances...

I've done cross TX a few times: El Paso to Beaumont = 1,200 miles. El Paso to San Antonio is one tough drive, with very few places to stop (at least back when).

dj1
Re: Best work vehicle for the hands on General Contractor

From Houston again: "Aside from not needing the advertising, my trucks were never painted with the company name or logo. "

In our state a sub contractor has to have his name, phone and license number posted on his vehicle.

I've never seen it enforced. I've used unmarked vans for years, never needed advertising, always created my own work.

Old saying: Some people look for a job and then do nothing. Others never look for a job, and then never rest a minute.

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