A contractor takes tools out of his work van on a residential new construction site.
Business Insider

How to organize your work van

For professional tradespeople, the work van is more than just an engine and four tires. It’s your portable office on wheels. No matter what type of contractor you are, your work van or truck plays a fundamental role in your business.

You rely on it to transport all of the tools, parts and equipment you need to get the job done every day. Discover how to organize your work van.

6 tips to organize your work van

Creating a mobile storage system will help you and your crew cut the time spent finding and gathering equipment needed for the job. Here are six tips to help you organize your work van:

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1. Create a foundation.

Similar to building a house, creating a solid foundation is an essential part of building an efficient storage system in your work van. Always store bigger items on the floor or in lower compartments of your van, and leave room toward the top for smaller items.

Air compressors, generators and drain cleaning machines are some examples of large equipment that you should store at a low level. Keeping large equipment on the bottom not only maximizes space, but will also help save your back when lifting heavy items.

2. Think vertically.

Once you’ve created your foundation, start stacking items vertically along the interior walls of your van. Sort items based on size and work your way up, putting the smallest parts at the top. Install a pegboard and hooks to hang medium-sized items such as hand tools and power tools.

Stackable bins and tool storage containers are an excellent solution for keeping your small repair parts in order.

And why stop at the top? Consider hanging poles across the length of your van to suspend lightweight items from the ceiling, like extension cords. Just be sure to leave enough clearance for head room.

Bonus tip: Instead of storing ladders outside on the roof of the van, consider storing ladders inside the van along the ceiling. Work equipment stored on the outside of the van is a target for theft. Ladders that are stored inside are hidden from both harsh weather and criminal activity.

3. Location is key.

Consider how often you use the individual pieces of equipment in your work van to determine where to place them. Whether the doors are located on the side or in the back, the space around them should be reserved for your most frequently used items.

Think about your average week on the job. Which items do you use once a week? Twice a week? Daily? For those items that you use all day on the job, such as your tool belt, install a shelf or hang a hook near the door of the van for easy access. Leave the room in the back of the van for the items you use less often.

Bonus tip: To quickly reorder the products you use the most, consider investing in contractor business management support that integrates with the Ferguson product catalog. This makes it easy to restock products on the go.

4. Don’t forget the van doors.

The interior side of your van door is another surface you can use to maximize storage. Magnetized stripping is an excellent solution for hanging metal hand tools like hammers, pliers and tape measures.

One more cost-effective storage option for your van doors is to hang fabric or plastic closet organizers with pockets to store your small and lightweight equipment that you use frequently throughout the day.

Bonus tip: Secure a hand truck next to the interior side of the van or truck’s doors using cargo straps to maximize space and make it easier for you to move heavy tools and equipment on and off the vehicle.

5. Give it light.

After you’ve created the ultimate mobile storage system in your work van, the next step is to incorporate lights. Hang tap-activated lights on the interior side of your van doors to help you see on rainy days or on after-hour service calls.

Be sure to hang a lantern or a worklight in the back corners of your van to help you find the equipment that you use less often. Choosing a battery-operated worklight or lantern with a hook will allow you to move seamlessly from your work van to the jobsite.

6. Cut the work van clutter.

Because your work van or truck is your on-the-go workspace, it’s simple for the interior to become messy by the time the job is done for the day. Dirt gets tracked in, wrappers and trash from lunch on the road get tossed on the floor, and debris from cutting work material in the bed of the truck coats the interior surfaces.

Reducing clutter and keeping the work van tidy will open up the van’s space. Store a slim trash can, trash bags, sanitizing wipes and a duster on your work van to keep it clean and clear from clutter.

Get more business ideas with Ferguson

Now that you know how to create the ultimate storage system in your work van, the last step is to build it and get back on the job. Learn more ways to get the job done more efficiently with the Ideas & Learning Center.