Work Van Setup Guide

October 13, 2021

Tradies spend a lot of time digging through equipment inside their vans, so making sure everything is perfectly organised ensures your day going smoother. Rather than wasting your time hunting through muddled toolboxes to find your wire strippers, arranging your gear properly means you'll work smarter, not harder.

Plus, you don’t want to look unprofessional in front of your clients or colleagues who happen to take a peek inside your workspace. To help you set up your work van for maximum performance, we’ve put together a few handy tips to reduce your frustration and level up your daily productivity.

Getting Started: Use Space Wisely

With tradies needing to fit so much inside their work van, it takes a lot of work to figure out the most logical way to organise your equipment. This means you should avoid simply diving headfirst into the task, as you don’t want to make a critical mistake at the very beginning. Instead, create a detailed plan to ensure the process is so much easier.

First, you need to determine which interior and exterior spaces are most appropriate for your collection of tools. As you want to ensure that the van’s prime positions are spared for your most important equipment, take this step slowly rather than stuffing wherever feels right.

In many cases, it’s best to start from the floor. This is the smartest place for heavy tools that will overload or obstruct storage units used to store smaller bits and bobs. As you want your most frequently used tools to be accessible at a moment’s notice, these should be kept close to the doors so they remain within reach.

As you set about finding the best places for your equipment, keep accessibility and security top of mind. This means labelling every storage compartment in your van and sticking to the system. Meanwhile, you also want to factor in lockable drawers and cages to limit what crooks can get their hands on.

Now that you’ve thought about your van’s layout, it’s time to dive into each section to develop a strong plan.

Van Shelving and Racks: Smart Organisation

Robust shelves and racks make every tradie’s workday better. With many different sizes and styles available, a selection of small and medium racks ensure you can swiftly store everything from hammers and saws to cable reels and extension cords. These are best installed alongside the interior sides of the van, allowing you plenty of space to move inside the vehicle.

Although their size relies on the precise dimensions of your work van, it should be possible to fix three rows of shelving along the interior wall. As each shelf will hold several tubs, organising much of your equipment into this convenient system will instantly improve how you go about your day. However, there are many different styles of shelves to consider, so pick ones that best suit your workflow.

In addition, you will quickly find shelving and racking comes in a variety of materials. While aluminium is often considered the most durable, it’s almost the most expensive. If you’d like to cut down costs, a simple plywood design can be a useful stopgap.

Van Racking Ideas

While the interior walls of your van are the most obvious space to install shelving, pretty much every surface offers some kind of practical potential. In fact, the ceiling is a great place to install additional racks for smaller items. For instance, if you're a sparky, you can store your electrical conduits safe and sound, while also finding spots for appropriate objects to either dangle or extend along the roof.

If you don’t want to invest in a high-grade and potentially costly rack unit, PVC pipes are a clever alternative. This handy material, available in endless sizes, can be installed alongside your shelving units or along the walls to add even more storage space. For example, PVC pipes are great for storing round objects, including wire spools that might otherwise cause a big mess.

Van Partitions: A Crucial Safety and Organisational Component

Almost every tradie van features a partition between the driver cabin and storage section. This is a safety feature that keeps things from flying through the front of the van if the driver slams on the brakes. Usually, this partition is made from materials such as steel or aluminium to ensure it stops any equipment that has decided to take flight.

Alongside the safety benefits of this partition, there’s also plenty of storage potential. Although you probably won’t fit a full-scale shelving unit, there should be loads of space for hooks and racks where you can keep smaller items. For example, this highly accessible spot might be perfect for your PPE, such as hard hats, goggles, and gloves.

Van Doors: Easy Access to Common Tools

Now that you’ve considered the interior walls and the cargo partition, another practical storage space with outstanding potential is the interior of the rear doors. While you won’t install a full-scale storage solution, this is a top spot for more hooks and bins for everyday items that you often use.

If you have a range of hand tools that aren’t needed in your belt, storing them in a bin on the inside of the doors means you never have a problem digging them out of the van. Meanwhile, you can add measuring tapes or notepads so you never have to waste time when scribbling down a few details.

If you decide to use the doors, you have to make these units play nicely with what’s installed on your van’s walls. If you need to slam the doors shut to get everything closed, you run the risk of them swinging open when you’re cruising down a bumpy road.

Securing Van Interiors: Floor and Ceiling

While you’ve probably managed to squeeze everything you need inside the van, there’s also much work to be done to ensure your equipment is adequately secured. Rather than damaging the interior of your vehicle or the tools you need to complete the job, taking steps to fortify each area will save you in the long run.

For example, you should add rubber or composite flooring to your van’s interior. This provides extra grip for heavy tools and storage units while reducing the noise with everything shifting as you drive to and from the job site.

In addition, your van’s walls and ceilings must also be lined with protective materials. Although duratherm is typically used for paving outdoor areas, it provides a long-lasting barrier against damage.

Van Organisation: Optional Extras

How you organise your work van will depend on your specific preferences and the type of work you do every day. As you look to improve productivity and simplify what it takes to find the right equipment, you can also consider a range of optional extras. While some of these won’t be appropriate for every tradie, you might find they add the final touch to your vehicle.

  • Organiser towers
  • Locks
  • Interior skin panels
  • Side hangers
  • Bottle holders
  • Tool mounts
  • Hooks
  • Note Holder
  • Hangers (swivel)
  • Cab organisers
  • Lights
  • Hoists
  • Workbench

Although there are likely extra costs involved, using a shelving system that includes sliding drawers will significantly improve your van’s practicality. As you can quickly open and close each compartment, which are labelled and colour coded, you won’t ever find yourself confused about where your tools are located.

Van Roof: Additional Storage Opportunities

After carefully mapping out how the interior of your van will be laid out, it’s time to consider how your roof can be used for additional storage. While there are plenty of different types of racks to explore, drop-down options make it easy to keep ladders, hitch steps and larger equipment in place.

Now that you’ve explored every possible surface – inside and out – that can be used to store your most used tools, don’t forget to make your van a moving billboard. This means having a professional company logo and contact information added to your van’s exterior. To find out more about vehicle wraps and decals, you might find this article helpful.

Organise the Rest of Your Business with FieldPulse

Now that your work van is organised for your exact needs, you can take charge of the rest of your field service business with the help of FieldPulse. Our comprehensive business management app makes it easy to run your business from home, inside the office and on the move.

Alongside great features for tracking customer information, scheduling jobs, sending estimates and processing invoices, and so much more, you can help your business reach the next level. With so much less paperwork to worry about, you can focus your attention on providing customers with the best possible service.

Ready to find out more? Schedule a free demo today and find out how FieldPulse will save you time, money and energy.

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