Finally Purchased A Van For Our Wiring Techs, Look For Advise On How To Stock And Configure It

We are finally setting up a van for out wiring tech. It is a Ford Transt 150 with Mid height roof.

How do you have your vans configured (shelving, etc...)?

What do you normally keep inside the van? When we will be starting a new project, of course we will stock it with enough wire for the job, but on a standard day to day basis, what material and tools are in it?


Solar Panel on top, and battery charger/controller for Sine-Wave inverter.

Get shelves and things. These guys do custom design work, and I believe they're just down the road from you.

Weight is your biggest enemy, even more than size. Anything you can do to reduce weight pays off in gas usage. That means taking equipment out of boxes if you can store it safely, and paying close attention to your stock usage so you can predict what you need to carry and readjust periodically instead of carrying everything around on the off-chance like a trunkslammer. Don't drive around with a thousand little spools of scrap wire. Get rid of clutter- take an hour a week to tidy up and half a day a month doing a top-to-bottom deep clean.

Make sure you have a maintenance schedule so you don't go too long between oil changes and tune ups.

Carry cleaning equipment- the lightest motel-quality vacuum cleaner you can find, a broom, a dustpan, garbage bags, cleaning spray, and paper towels. Cleaning up after yourself, whether you do commercial work or residential, is the mark of a professional.

Charged spare batteries for any battery powered tools or equipment you have, including walkie talkies and flashlights.

Do you have service agreements in place? If you do, see what equipment you've installed in the past, and try to figure out what you can carry that will be compatible and comparable with what you have in place. No more than two spare cameras, one indoor and one outdoor. Weight is the enemy!

Obviously, you can never have enough test equipment. Remember, spare batteries for everything.

Screws in every size and configuration. Nothing sucks as much as when you have to run down to Home Depot to get one screw or anchor to finish a job. Carry a third of a box at a time to save weight, and refill at the end of the day whenever you use anything.

Using CAT6 only and saving gas is cheaper than driving around with a box of CAT5e and a box of CAT6.

Only carry 1000' spools if you know you're heading out on a job. Otherwise, carry 500' spools.

Carry the lightest power inverter you can find.

Inventory control is important. Carry a clipboard with your normal loadout on it, write down what you took so you know what has to be replaced. This article about how to do "just-in-time" inventory for ambulances has some great tips.

Weight is your biggest enemy, even more than size. Anything you can do to reduce weight pays off in gas usage.

I think being cognizant of weight and not mindlessly loading the rig makes sense. But I'm not sure treated the van like it's an Apollo lander is appropriate either.

Looking at a couple fleet based fuel calculators I found the adage 'a buck a pound the year around' to be reasonable. I'd be happy to use your estimate, as there are many variables involved.

But if $500 dollars is a decent estimate of what 500 extra pounds costs / yr, then couldn't 2 or 3 'return to base' trips additionally per year be just as detrimental to the business? Or using a tool that 'works' but is not ideal?

In any event, can't some fuel charges be passed thru to customer in a 'per mile' based billing?

The key is accurate inventory management- knowing what you've got and what you're likely to need. When in doubt, carry it, because nothing wipes out your profit margin like having to stop and get a part. But you shouldn't be in doubt very often. Know what you need to carry, and take stuff out if you won't need it this week even if you have to remember to put it back next week.

Do you track your truck rolls self-sufficiency %?

Is it worth doing?

I track everything I do, all the time, and twice a month or so look at the stuff I'm tracking and see if anything interesting appears. And something interesting always pops up.

Making a decision not based on data is called "guessing".


Here is what works for us in our Chevrolet Express Vans, all can be found at American Van.

Behind Driver Seat - Modular Storage System

-I like this unit for the pull out storage bins, the spaces in each box have bins that can be configured to accomodate connectors, screws, wire straps, zip ties etc.

Driver/Passenger Side Rear - Standard Contour Shelving, 18" Deep

-These are your just your basic shelves, we set one up with plastic bins labeled for parts such as EMT accessories, face plates, modular connectors, hook and loop and patch cables. The storage area under the bottom shelf we use for cordless drill storage, hammer drills, pipe benders and fish tapes.

Bulkhead/Partition - We have a full swing door. I don't think it really matters what you have as long as you have something, you don't want materials and equipment flying into the cab in the event of an accident or quick stop.

Ladder Rack - We use just a basic three support ladder rack, nothing fancy no pneumatics or lockdowns. With the height of your Transit you may need to go with a pneumatic ladder rack to aid in getting ladders on and off the roof. Extension ladder over driver side and 8' over passenger, smaller ladders go in the van.

I am given a Dodge Caravan for work, well technically they call it a "Ram Commercial Vehicle" but it's a gutted Dodge Caravan. I've had two, and seen many others (it's been the go to van for the two companies I've worked for)

I've found the best is a shelf right behind the driver/passenger seat (sitting up against the divider) and then one shelf along the drivers, or passenger side, leaving the rest open. This has allowed me to have a big open space for cable, and parts boxes, but still have shelves available for service stock, and various consumable items.

If my van wasn't full to the brim, and a total mess I would post a picture, maybe over the weekend I can clean/organize it.

I ran an installation and service department. The trucks were loaded different. What I missed was ..... What type of installations do you do? If it SMB it's a lot different that new construction tilt ups and such. Job box or no job box? Tow a trailer or not?

Its been awhile for me, but all of Ari's advice was spot on otherwise. We had about 15 trucks out there. Some small for service, some large for commercial conduit projects.