re-organizing my entire rolling inventory

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Mule

Senior Member
Location
Oklahoma
Sold my express van today to another contractor, and bought a trailer as Im tired of crawling in my van on my knees(getting old haha). So, I'm in the process of designing the interior. Any pic's or ideas would be appreciated. Ladder and conduit,or strut storage ideas, and, I'm kicking around different ideas about conduit fittings, devices, fasteners, boxes,breakers, ballast,lamps, and wire storage.

I'm thinking about corrugated or plastic individual bins on tilted shelves for alot of stuff, or perhaps for EMT, PVC, fittings, perhaps buckets with plastic organizers for conduit fittings, straps, etc. Like one bucket each for 1/2,3/4,1" and the like. pro's, con's?

Most of our work is small, like 16hrs or less, as we dont do alot of construction, mostly small jobs.....Just thinking....I want it neat, and organized, and best of all, I can walk in with my hat on.....YEA!!
 

Buck Parrish

Senior Member
Location
NC & IN
Sold my express van today to another contractor, and bought a trailer as Im tired of crawling in my van on my knees(getting old haha). So, I'm in the process of designing the interior. Any pic's or ideas would be appreciated. Ladder and conduit,or strut storage ideas, and, I'm kicking around different ideas about conduit fittings, devices, fasteners, boxes,breakers, ballast,lamps, and wire storage.

I'm thinking about corrugated or plastic individual bins on tilted shelves for alot of stuff, or perhaps for EMT, PVC, fittings, perhaps buckets with plastic organizers for conduit fittings, straps, etc. Like one bucket each for 1/2,3/4,1" and the like. pro's, con's?

Most of our work is small, like 16hrs or less, as we dont do alot of construction, mostly small jobs.....Just thinking....I want it neat, and organized, and best of all, I can walk in with my hat on.....YEA!!

I got trucks with utility beds. All the bins open out side. Plus a cap on top you can walk in.
 

charlietuna

Senior Member
The trick to the entire problem is determining the correct number of each item that you would really need for the type of work you do. Then separating your stock so that everything is accessible and have a method of replacing those items used before running low. I am suprised at what some contractors call "SERVICE TRUCKS"? Very little material for even the most common items? Their explaination "the customer will pay me to go to the supply house for their needs"! I just thought that wasn't fair to the customer, and that it was my job to be prepared for normal service work. It is a pain to crawl around inside a van, but thats the best method i found. Now i'm looking at these "sprinter" type trucks and wonder how much better they would be???
 

Mule

Senior Member
Location
Oklahoma
The trick to the entire problem is determining the correct number of each item that you would really need for the type of work you do. Then separating your stock so that everything is accessible and have a method of replacing those items used before running low. I am suprised at what some contractors call "SERVICE TRUCKS"? Very little material for even the most common items? Their explaination "the customer will pay me to go to the supply house for their needs"! I just thought that wasn't fair to the customer, and that it was my job to be prepared for normal service work. It is a pain to crawl around inside a van, but thats the best method i found. Now i'm looking at these "sprinter" type trucks and wonder how much better they would be???
Yes the Sprinter van would be my first pick. I have a friend that has a TV shop and just bought a new one with a diesel $32,000, really nice and 20mpg, but in my case we try to keep our overhead ultra-load, and I had a nice truck paid for, and the trailer was only 3grand...so no payments !!! YAHOO........Im impressed with your attention to the customer, not too many folks think that way, seem like, keep it up.

Mule, So your working out of an enclosed trailer and a Truck?
Yes, there will be days I will hate it, lugging it around, and parking issues, but the positives are the trailer is close to the ground, with lots of headroom, single axle so it doesnt marr up customers driveways, and it will be like walking into a supply house when Im done. I enjoyed my van, But I just dont like crawling back into the van to put up, or to get out a $.035 part. I've had two previous back injuries, and my knees are not the best, and its just not worth it. Also, when I un-hitch the trailer in the evenings, I have another personal vehichle to drive saving miles on our 4 door diesel.
 

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
Occupation
Field coordinator/ technical support
Yes the Sprinter van would be my first pick. I have a friend that has a TV shop and just bought a new one with a diesel $32,000, really nice and 20mpg,......
I looked at these when they first came out as Freightliner vans, real nice, air ride drivers seat, tighter turning radius than a Dodge Caravan, Mercedes turbo diesel, just couldn't sell them on the expense, cost was a couple thousand more than the Ford vans we were replacing.
 

active1

Senior Member
Location
Las Vegas
I put euro bin shelves in one of my trucks. They are more like small parts drawers. The ones I had were about 24" long, 5" wide, 4.5" tall. You might opt for a 18" deep depending on your space. It came with a metal shelf about 4' high. For driving you need to make a plywood door or the bins will open on you. They were just the right size for mud rings, trim plates, & devices in the box. You could pull the whole drawer out to cary into the job. They had some deviders that would split the bin the narrow direction which works well for the above material. Some of the standard open front bin deviders split the bins the long way which works for smaller fittings but not the above material. Either style of bin the deviders never stayed put well, glue or epoxy might have been the answer. They are solid except the small tab in the back the prevents the drawers from sliding out broke on a few. For a system I believe it was in the $500 range. I have not found any other set-up that could hold as much material organized as the Euro bins.

This is just an example, you might want to shop it out if you like:
http://www.quantumbins.ca/spec_euro_drawer_shelf_systems.php
http://www.quantumstorage.com/euro_drawer_bins.htm

Another thing we did is straped pieces of PVC inside for the benders to slide into.

I bought a Craftman chest to store smaller tools, bits, testers, etc. Make sure it has drawers snap shut until you lift the handle or pull. Roller bearings are nice to have on the chest, without the drawers tend to not slide in well if not pushed straight in.

We had space for some plastic bins and milk style crates like you get at the dollar or box stores of medium and large sizes. They were good for larger loose assortment of parts like larger fittings, odd box sizes, and dimmers. Some boxes we would always have while others would be thrown on for a certain job like 2" nipples. We even kept one for returns and defects.

We made spots on the side where ladders slid into from the back. That way you don't have to strap them down or have them bouncing around. If you do leave yourself a few extra inches of clearance by the back door so their is less chance of it getting hit on the end by the door.

When it comes down to it there are 2 ways. Buy the interior or build it. Building it takes a lot of time but IMO it is better in the end. That way you can make shelves just the right hight and width for your material. Such as boxes of circuit breakers, boxes of fittings, or boxes of metal boxes. Plywood, screws, glue, and a trim nail gun is what you need.
 

ceb58

Senior Member
Location
Raeford, NC


Mine is a 12' v nose. It really measures 13'6'' to the v. Plenty of head room which is nice. The one thing I will say and I learned it from my smaller trailer is go ahead and invest about $200.00 in good heaver tires. The stock tires will not last a year after you put a load on them. When I bought this trailer I went ahead and bought 2 new rims at a agri. supply store, I had the new heaver tires mounted and put on the trailer. I saved the stock rims and tires and now have a spare for both trailers if I need to put the smaller one back on the road. The one thing I am seeing now,after three years, is I have the trailer loaded heaver on the left side and that tire is showing more wear than the other. As far as pulling the trailer it has become second nature, you automatically look for open double spaces, you can spot places where it is easy to park and get out of. When I am not pulling the trailer I still find my self swinging further to make a turn as if the trailer was behind me:grin:
 

nunu161

Senior Member
Location
NEPA
Did you think about getting a box truck with the low step? the company i work for has 2 of them and they seem to work out very well and it isnt to bad for parking
 

Rewire

Senior Member
We looked at pulling trailers but scraped the idea due to the added costs of fuel,upkeep,license and insurance . We settled on vans and then set about creating an inventory system.
We focused on one van as the prototype for how all the vans would be set up and what inventory they would carry.We have a clip board on the inside door that lists all material and what bin it is located so no more searching.
We also stock a complete inventory in the shop so trucks can be restocked daily.
 

Mule

Senior Member
Location
Oklahoma
Moving out of the van today, into the back of the pickup temporarily until trailer interior work is done......Shew its hot today....now I've got to tackle gettting all of those vinyl graphics off of the van, getting it ready for the buyer. Done this once before and its slow work, dont need a heat gun today:smile:....

I put euro bin shelves in one of my trucks. They are more like small parts drawers. The ones I had were about 24" long, 5" wide, 4.5" tall. You might opt for a 18" deep depending on your space. It came with a metal shelf about 4' high. For driving you need to make a plywood door or the bins will open on you. They were just the right size for mud rings, trim plates, & devices in the box. You could pull the whole drawer out to cary into the job. They had some deviders that would split the bin the narrow direction which works well for the above material. Some of the standard open front bin deviders split the bins the long way which works for smaller fittings but not the above material. Either style of bin the deviders never stayed put well, glue or epoxy might have been the answer. They are solid except the small tab in the back the prevents the drawers from sliding out broke on a few. For a system I believe it was in the $500 range. I have not found any other set-up that could hold as much material organized as the Euro bins.

This is just an example, you might want to shop it out if you like:
http://www.quantumbins.ca/spec_euro_drawer_shelf_systems.php
http://www.quantumstorage.com/euro_drawer_bins.htm

Another thing we did is straped pieces of PVC inside for the benders to slide into.

I bought a Craftman chest to store smaller tools, bits, testers, etc. Make sure it has drawers snap shut until you lift the handle or pull. Roller bearings are nice to have on the chest, without the drawers tend to not slide in well if not pushed straight in.

We had space for some plastic bins and milk style crates like you get at the dollar or box stores of medium and large sizes. They were good for larger loose assortment of parts like larger fittings, odd box sizes, and dimmers. Some boxes we would always have while others would be thrown on for a certain job like 2" nipples. We even kept one for returns and defects.

We made spots on the side where ladders slid into from the back. That way you don't have to strap them down or have them bouncing around. If you do leave yourself a few extra inches of clearance by the back door so their is less chance of it getting hit on the end by the door.

When it comes down to it there are 2 ways. Buy the interior or build it. Building it takes a lot of time but IMO it is better in the end. That way you can make shelves just the right hight and width for your material. Such as boxes of circuit breakers, boxes of fittings, or boxes of metal boxes. Plywood, screws, glue, and a trim nail gun is what you need.
Thanks, this is good info, I'm taking it all in. Havent heard of the Euro bins, how do you label them so you don't forget what's in each bin?

I will definitely build my interior......



Mine is a 12' v nose. It really measures 13'6'' to the v. Plenty of head room which is nice. The one thing I will say and I learned it from my smaller trailer is go ahead and invest about $200.00 in good heaver tires. The stock tires will not last a year after you put a load on them. When I bought this trailer I went ahead and bought 2 new rims at a agri. supply store, I had the new heaver tires mounted and put on the trailer. I saved the stock rims and tires and now have a spare for both trailers if I need to put the smaller one back on the road. The one thing I am seeing now,after three years, is I have the trailer loaded heaver on the left side and that tire is showing more wear than the other. As far as pulling the trailer it has become second nature, you automatically look for open double spaces, you can spot places where it is easy to park and get out of. When I am not pulling the trailer I still find my self swinging further to make a turn as if the trailer was behind me:grin:
Thanks, Is yours a single axle, or two? I bought the shorter 10ft box thinking it would be easier to manuever. Yes, mine has got cheapo tires on it, probably wont last long. Also thinking about a "air up" small wheel for the tounge jack, thinking it would be easier to move the hitch around to hitch up.

Did you think about getting a box truck with the low step? the company i work for has 2 of them and they seem to work out very well and it isnt to bad for parking
Im sure they do, and thanks for the idea, but wanted the dual purpose use of the pickup truck.
 

Mule

Senior Member
Location
Oklahoma
We looked at pulling trailers but scraped the idea due to the added costs of fuel,upkeep,license and insurance . We settled on vans and then set about creating an inventory system.
We focused on one van as the prototype for how all the vans would be set up and what inventory they would carry.We have a clip board on the inside door that lists all material and what bin it is located so no more searching.
We also stock a complete inventory in the shop so trucks can be restocked daily.

No extra license required for trailers in Oklahoma, so that's a good thing and I would have to agree on your selection for vans for your purpose, I wouldnt want employees dragging around a trailer, that could be a maintenance and liability nightmare.... no-one cares like the owner IMO

Im thinking about the same sort of idea for inventory and parts billing control. A clip board and a re-stock ticket will go to the parts house for re-fill . Small jobs will be invoiced on site, while larger ones with alot of parts, will be invoiced via mail after I get the re-fill parts invoice from supplier, unless its a quoted job.
 

ceb58

Senior Member
Location
Raeford, NC
Thanks, Is yours a single axle, or two? I bought the shorter 10ft box thinking it would be easier to manuever. Yes, mine has got cheapo tires on it, probably wont last long. Also thinking about a "air up" small wheel for the tounge jack, thinking it would be easier to move the hitch around to hitch up.
Mine is a single axle. But just like pulling the trailer hooking it up is second nature also. 9 times out of 10 I can back up to it and feel when the hitch touches the ball.
 

active1

Senior Member
Location
Las Vegas
We labled the bins with colored tabe and a pen. Then later used a lable maker. Most things were abreviated. Such as 1G 1/2", White SP toggle, or Ivory decora 3W. We also ended up putting the cubic inch size after say "1/2" 1G" on the mud ring drawers. Reason is it is easier to sort parts out that way. Sometimes they don't have the rise or ci size and ci may not be all the same but it still was a big help. More so with the less experianced newbies. The only thing worse than getting the mud ring sizes mixed up in a box is someone installing the wrong one. Same gos with almond, light almond and ivory. I kept all the off color stuff I got stuck with in a special spot far away from the ivory on hand.

I liked to keep heavier items lower to the floor like wire.

Another thing I did was take a number of the tackle style tray with lid and stacked em up on a shelf. Them as assortments of items from 1/4-20 screws, washers, reducer washers, plastic bushings, ground bushings, steel lock nuts, cable TV terminals, cat 5 / phone terminals, specialty fittings like 2 piece or chase.

Keep spots that are easy to get to open for the most used items. Like a shelf for 5 lb boxes of screws in a few sizes, or wire nuts.
 
I worked out of a 6X10' haulmark for two years. I loved it, but trafic and parking in so-cal was an issue.
I paid 3400 for the trailer, 500 for some steel, and 200 at grainger for some acro-mils parts bins, and there it was, my rolling supply house. I kept pipe on the floor below one of the shelves, wire down low on the opposite side.
I still have it, but never use it. Loved it though.
 

Mule

Senior Member
Location
Oklahoma
We labled the bins with colored tabe and a pen. Then later used a lable maker. Most things were abreviated. Such as 1G 1/2", White SP toggle, or Ivory decora 3W. We also ended up putting the cubic inch size after say "1/2" 1G" on the mud ring drawers. Reason is it is easier to sort parts out that way. Sometimes they don't have the rise or ci size and ci may not be all the same but it still was a big help. More so with the less experianced newbies. The only thing worse than getting the mud ring sizes mixed up in a box is someone installing the wrong one. Same gos with almond, light almond and ivory. I kept all the off color stuff I got stuck with in a special spot far away from the ivory on hand.

I liked to keep heavier items lower to the floor like wire.

Another thing I did was take a number of the tackle style tray with lid and stacked em up on a shelf. Them as assortments of items from 1/4-20 screws, washers, reducer washers, plastic bushings, ground bushings, steel lock nuts, cable TV terminals, cat 5 / phone terminals, specialty fittings like 2 piece or chase.

Keep spots that are easy to get to open for the most used items. Like a shelf for 5 lb boxes of screws in a few sizes, or wire nuts.
Any problems with the bins opening up, going around corners? I'm thinking about having mine on a slight tilt to prevent that
 

220/221

Senior Member
Location
AZ
Get a 7' high trailer or you will be hunching over.

Make it 12' minimum length for conduit and an extension ladder.

Leave the center open so you can move furniture :grin:

Put the stuff you need most, close to the entrance.

Balance heavy items like conduit and wire on the bottoms of each side.








 

Mule

Senior Member
Location
Oklahoma
Get a 7' high trailer or you will be hunching over.

Make it 12' minimum length for conduit and an extension ladder.

Leave the center open so you can move furniture :grin:

Put the stuff you need most, close to the entrance.

Balance heavy items like conduit and wire on the bottoms of each side.








Great advice, and thanks for the pic's... Yes I learned in my van to keep the things you use 90% of the time close to the door....How deep, or long are those milk crate's? I like those...do you remember where you got them? look's like they work well for wire and box's....most of the ones Ive seen are more square. I've decided wire is the number one thing that will make your rig really heavy.
 
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