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#33242 - 01/15/04 04:32 PM Truck / van inventories
DougW Offline
Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 1143
Loc: North Chicago, IL
If you've got some time to kill, I was just wondering (just as an idea) what you folks tote around in your vehicles, and how you do it.

As for some background (long part of the story) - I've been working as a "second man" for an established shop for just over 2 years. We work in conduit (EMT) and flex in our neck of the woods, doing mostly new, higher-end residential work. Got my own ticket last year, and have been doing more stuff on my own - everything from panel upgrades to fixture replacements.

Right now, I've got a Chevy 1500 (1/2 ton) long bed pickup, with a camper top on the back. I'm going to be making a raised plywood floor, on a frame that sits up 2" from the built in cross-bed 2x6 brackets, to hide my power tools, wire reeler, and benders beneath. Later this month (or early Feb.) I'll be getting one of the "contractor" style caps with the built in boxes in place of side windows, with a ladder rack on top. Maybe a LWB 3/4 or 1 ton van in '05, if business keep improving.

The short of it? I'm wondering what I should stock, in addition to my "usual" supplies (1/2 & 3/4 EMT supplies, as well as an assortment of 10, 12 & 14 cu wire, a few coils of different sizes of Greenfield, and some (cleaned) square little pails with supplies (1900's & switch boxes, and plaster rings/ covers, and switches / receptacles, etc.)

Until I get the cap, and can get bins / drawers / racks, it's a frickin' mess, but it's all I've got. If you've got a van, were the Manufacturers "electrician" bin & shelving package options (Adrian Steel or Weatherguard come to mind) adequate, or were they just a starting point for needed modifications?

Also curious about what you guys think is an "adequate" amount of supplies to carry "just in case", and how you do it, so when I upgrade, I've got an idea of where to start... or more precisely, where to improve.

Thanks in advance,

Doug... still feelin' like the FNG
Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
#33243 - 01/15/04 04:40 PM Re: Truck / van inventories
Electricmanscott Offline
Registered: 01/12/02
Posts: 1457
Loc: Holden, MA USA
As far as shelving, bins, etc goes standard setups included in vans are good. It is easier than starting from scratch and you can modify to meet your needs. For materials I keep what I use the most. Very little pipe stuff. Lots of decora devices and dimmers. It all comes down to the work you do most so you are prepared.
#33244 - 01/15/04 04:45 PM Re: Truck / van inventories
Electric Eagle Offline
Registered: 04/20/02
Posts: 914
Loc: Alpharetta, GA
Most of our trucks are GMC vans with Adrian Steel shelving. The electricians package is a good start, but not enough for us. A while back we bought a custom box truck that works very well and "only" cost about $5000 more than a 2500 HD van. It's perfect, we can keep a small supply house in it. This link shows the same box on a Ford.
#33245 - 01/15/04 06:54 PM Re: Truck / van inventories
Active 1 Offline
Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 687
Loc: Grayslake IL, USA
Yes EMT & greenfieldfor us too in Chicagoland. I would think you are very limited with what you can cary with a pick-up.

Like ElectricEagle said a biger truck halls more. I perfer step vans over cube vans because you have walk thru access from the cab to the back. We never use the rool up door unless we have lots of cases of something. They are all aluminum so they don't rust or dent easy.

Right now we have at least 40 cans, 40 trims, 50 bulbs, 40 spools of wire, 300' 3/8 greenfield, 100' 1/2 green, 300' EMT, #6 spool, #8 spool, RG6 spool, Cat 5 Spool, 4 cases of different 1900 boxes, box of jem boxes, and Boxes of mud rings. Also a nice assortment of breakers, fasteners, fittings, and other things you need in a bind. We also can fit in a gang box of tools and 4 or 5 ladders in the warm cargo area. No cludder no climbing over anything.

#33246 - 01/16/04 05:56 AM Re: Truck / van inventories
DougW Offline
Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 1143
Loc: North Chicago, IL
Thought about cube or walk through type van. Biggest problems are (eventually) fitting into a residential sized garage, and mobility / visibility on site.

Keeping them in mind if business gets to the point where I have employees.

Maybe a KUV or some such?
#33247 - 01/16/04 06:07 AM Re: Truck / van inventories
sparky Offline
Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5303
i've concluded that 'kits' made up of varied wire methods are useful, i.e.- 1/2" emt kit, romex kit, datacom kit, flex & MC kit...

the 'kits' with individualy removable boxes (this is just the best google i can do) seem to be the most versatile

#33248 - 01/16/04 09:56 AM Re: Truck / van inventories
DougW Offline
Registered: 06/08/03
Posts: 1143
Loc: North Chicago, IL

I'm familiar with those boxes. Grainger (and a bunch of others) sell them that fit into a sliding 4-drawer assembly, to keep 'em organized.

I'd planned on getting one for all different sizes of machine screws, one for crimp connectors, one for data/phone stuff, one for Romex (since I don't use it that much), etc.

Kind of tried to do the 'kit' thing, by using the square cat litter style poly buckets, since they stay put if they fall over, and they fit better side-by-side than round "drywall" buckets. Unfortunately, they havent come up with the removable bins like they have for the round ones, so they're still a little jumbled.

Thanks to everybody for the input so far!
#33249 - 01/16/04 11:21 AM Re: Truck / van inventories
John Steinke Offline
Registered: 04/03/01
Posts: 518
Loc: Reno,Nv., USA
Being a poor man, I've had to "make do."

I was lucky to find truck-mounting tool boxes that fit my mini-truck perfectly. Besides the crossbox, there is a long, skinny box down each side.
One of the long boxesholds most of my small parts; I keep hardware in those plastic boxes like are used by fishermen.
The other long box holds most of my hand tools; I sort them out by using cut-off rectangular Listerine bottles.
The cross box holds my drills, etc., on one side; the passenger side is reserved for truck stuff (jack,lug wrench, etc.)

The bed of the truck (reduced by the toolboxes to about 3'x 5') is covered by a hinged piece of plywood, that can easily be removed. The bed is divided at the rear of the wheel-well by a piece of wire shelving.
The back half of the bed holds tools, batteries, benders, a trash bin, and whatever small stuff I get from the parts house that day. Tools (Roto-zip, heat gun, etc.) are stored inder the long boxes in .50-cal. ammo cans.
The front half carries my demo-hammer, and three of the old-style 6-gal. wire milk crates. One of these holds an assortment of #112 and #10 wire. Another has 16 square plastic peanut jugs, holding connectors, couplings, etc. The third holds an assortment of boxes and devices. Also in the front is kept my long exrension cord and romex.

Ordinarily, I carry a 7-ft step/ 14-ft extension ladder ($200) like the ones used by the cable company.
I carry pipe by -believe it or not- by duct taping it to my side boxes.

Not the best, but It's the best I can come up with.
#33250 - 01/16/04 11:59 AM Re: Truck / van inventories
SJT Offline
Registered: 07/24/02
Posts: 241
I hope to buy my first brand new van soon. I like one that's a full 1 ton. I like the extended (maxi) style. Gives that extra 2 feet in the back. I set it up with the stuff that I use the most located within grabing distance, while standing outside the truck. If, I don't have to jump in the truck for every little thing, it seems to work out pretty good for me. Lots of shelves and bins, is the name of the game. Next van might be a GMC.
#33251 - 01/16/04 05:49 PM Re: Truck / van inventories
Joey D Offline
Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 259
Loc: Arlington MA U.S.
I have worked out of a pick-up for more than a few years and it sucks. I have a enclosed utility trailer I use now and while it's not a van it is better than the pick up. It's 6X10 with a 6' interior height. The room is great. My next move will be a cab over Isuzu with a 12' box on the back. Turning radius is awesome and price is equal to a 1 ton van.
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