7 Rules For Organizing Your Work Van
After much trial and error, remodeling contractor Zack Dettmore has found an organizational strategy that works
Over the course of my career as a remodeling contractor I’ve owned a few different work truck setups. I called an old van my “work truck” for a while, and upfitted it with a . It did a sufficient job at hauling our tools around, but materials were always a hassle. I then hauled a trailer behind a traditional pickup for several years, but I learned over time that this isn’t a great option for the narrow roads and heavy traffic we contend with daily. As my company grew, my needs for tool storage did too, so a little over a year ago I bit the bullet and invested in a 3500 Ram ProMaster. It has plenty of room for tool storage, my guys and I can walk down the center aisle to easily locate tools and materials, and there’s tons of room to haul things like sheet goods – all without subjecting anything to the elements.
It took one of my lead carpenters and me about 5 days to upfit the van. I estimate that having things organized saves us each about 10 minutes a day based on previous experience with other companies, and old setups we had. Now, it takes us less than a minute to find something in the van. So, for me, the investment upfront in buildout and the organization is all worthy investment for the long-term. Because I’m fanatical in my need to be organized, I improved upon my various setups and settled on seven rules for organizing that hopefully will be of some use to those with similar work trucks.
2. Make a labeled spot for everything! For example: Caulk bins, paint brushes, sand paper, etc. Label an empty spot for extra clutter that would otherwise clutter the floor.
3. Build task-oriented tool boxes with all the tools needed for that specific task. For example: our drywall patch kit has a 6” knife, setting compound, tray, tape, and sanding sponge.
4. Keep multiples of tools you use frequently and leave one in each box that might need them. For example: we have multiple utility knives or tape measures sprinkled throughout boxes.
5. Group tools/tool kits together for efficient tool gathering. For example: we keep all our sanders and abrasives in one stack; the stack is easy to grab making all the tools needed for any given sanding task on hand quickly.
6. Make everything easily accessible with no latches, tie downs, clips, straps or items stacked on top or in front of the item you need. For example: everything should be accessible in a single quick motion – step-grab-go not step-move-reach-grab-move-go