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Three Tips to Upgrade Your Work Vehicle

For technicians who spend the majority of their time on the road, a work vehicle is more than just a means of transportation. It operates as a home-away-from-home, a storage facility, a cafeteria, and even a meeting room. Most work vehicles come with a few basics that help make life on the road a little easier, like a radio, AC unit, and maybe even a navigation system. But when you’re in the driver’s seat for several hours a day, upgrading your car, van or truck can make all the difference. Below are our three tips for upgrading your work vehicle.

Make Your Vehicle Your Coworker

It seems like a strange idea, but if you think about it, your work vehicle is your coworker. You depend on your work vehicle to get you where you need to go and to hold the supplies and communication tools you need to complete projects quickly and successfully. Just like a human coworker, your work truck needs care and consideration. That means keeping your vehicle clean, inside and out. If you are in charge of maintenance, don’t skip regular check-ins with your mechanic. Make sure you understand all of the car’s settings and alert functions. You can also add a few simple extras, like D-rings and ladder racks, to simplify your tool storage. Adding a hitch to your truck or van can add towing capabilities (though check with management first!), which could transform a suddenly complicated job into an easy hauling task by allowing you to transport bigger loads. Do keep in mind that driving around town with a large(r) trailer needs some practice, especially in places with tight turns and limited parking.

If you are a freelance technician or an independent contractor, don’t forget that your work vehicle can help with advertising. Simple signage can keep your name in the minds of your community and help establish your brand.

When ordering signage, make sure to include a phone number and easy to remember website.

In addition, with a vehicle that is clean and maintained, you’re able to show your customer’s that you value quality workmanship and that they can depend on you to get the job done right.

Get Organized

It can be frustrating when you can’t find what you’re looking for, especially if it’s an essential tool you need for an onsite repair visit or other work function. The organization can take a lot of time on the front end, but it pays back in dividends when you can locate every tool, piece of paper, appointment book, or any other item you need to do your job.

Previously posted: Five Quick Service Van Organization Ideas for Technicians

When your vehicle is in disarray, you risk losing time and money, as well as equipment loss. In addition, a disorganized vehicle can actually lead to accidents and injuries. Just imagine the damage that can be done from unsecured objects during an accident or sudden stop. The most simple work vehicle organization system includes a method to properly tied down tools and equipment, an inventory management system that tracks what you have on hand and what you need to replenish, and storage modules to keep everything in its proper place. Once you have the basics set up, you can fine-tune your organizational system based on the specific demands of your workload and industry. What you will discover once you decide to clean up the mess and get your work vehicle in proper order is a smoother workday, easier equipment maintenance, and more efficient time management.

Improve Security

Your work vehicle operates as an on-the-go office and storage unit. That means it houses many crucial pieces of equipment as well as sensitive paperwork and other valuables. That’s why it is so important that you ensure everything in your vehicle is safe and secure. And don’t forget, your work vehicle itself is a significant business investment, so you need to protect yourself in the event of theft or damage.

Begin with a basic security system. Car alarms may seem like an annoying and ineffective feature, but the truth is a good security system is first and foremost a deterrent. While alarms can alert you to a breach or break-in, their true value comes from letting would-be thieves know they are taking a risk. It is a basic tenet of home security to make your house an unappealing target. The same goes for your work vehicle.

Many vans come with telematics from the car marker – these systems provide online services like remote start and locking, but can often also send tracking information to the police in the event of a theft. The subscription cost of this service is always going to be less than the cost of losing your van and its contents.

It is also important to use toolbox locks and other secure storage features. It’s not enough to have the option to lock away your tools, you need to make sure the toolbox itself is easily removed.  If possible, a built-in toolbox is your best bet. If you must use a portable utility box, try to find one that includes a trigger alert, capable of releasing a piercing alarm in the event it is removed or opened without authorization.

While it may be inconvenient to lock your toolbox after every use, this simple measure will drastically reduce opportunistic thefts. Built-in toolboxes simply require a lock on their top face. Portable utility boxes, on the other hand, can benefit from both top locks and a locking system that attaches the entire box to your vehicle, thus preventing criminals from walking away with an entire toolbox.

Another simple but effective deterrent is marking your tools. By engraving all your tools, would-be thieves may think twice about taking off with your stuff. Basic engraving tools start under $20.

More than Four Wheels and a Motor

Your work vehicle is your second office, your storefront, and your warehouse. That’s why making sure you are getting the most out of your car, truck or van can go a long way towards improving your workday and even growing your business. While having the best radio, ample cup holders, and luxurious interior can certainly enhance the driving experience, ultimately your work truck needs to be considered an extension of your business. With proper care, organization, and security, you can upgrade your work vehicle and turn it into a valuable business asset.

In an upcoming story, we'll feature some of the best affordable additions for any work van. With everything from a safety-enhancing dashcam to a cheap way to add Amazon Alexa to your radio, the list will surely have something great for your office on wheels as well!