The real king of the jobsite and the commercial vehicle fleet is the cargo van. Whether you are looking at the newest high-top vans like the Ford Transit series or a more traditional style like the Ram Promaster, the challenges are the same but the options can range from “basic” upgrades like storage to a complete one-off custom for specialized fleet use.
So what should you be looking at?
Well, for starters, you need to have a clear vision of the types of jobs that you van will be doing – will your team be taking it home? Will it be assigned to a specific driver or simply part of a motor pool? How about maintenance – will your team handle it onsite or will you have to rely on the dealership for all scheduled upkeep. Another question, less commonly asked, is will that van be able to be easily resupplied or will it be “off the grid” for extended periods of time.
Each one of those is a consideration before you purchase a work van, but what about after the company has bought it?
Now is when Expertec and our experience outfitting trucks and vans for work in Canada can really shine. Let’s talk about getting that new van ready to work.
The first thing to think about is what sort of tools and equipment will your team need to haul each day? We’ve come to rely on Ranger Shelving to handle nearly all of our storage solutions for upfitting vans – Ranger builds units customized for the exact dimensions of many of the work and cargo vans that are in production today. This means you have no wasted space and no chance for shelving to “shift” while driving or – more dangerously – allow items to move or fall under hard braking or acceleration.
Another key point to think about when it comes to outfitting your new work van is workspace. Do you need some? How much? Again, Expertec has partnered with companies that can provide any kind of workstation you could possibly need – from a true desktop with a computer workstation to a sturdy workbench to reseal a compressor. Of course, if you need a place to work, you need lighting to help you get the job done. While interior lighting has come light years from the dim 196 bulbs from years ago, Expertec has embraced LED lighting systems and has the knowledge and equipment to properly wire power inverters that can efficiently run a complete office or shop right on site.
At the same time, exterior lighting can also be a valuable addition, too, so as you think about how you or your team will use a work van, think about what lighting might be useful for loading, unloading, or even providing auxiliary lights for driving in inclement weather or hooking up a trailer. Sound silly? Try backing up a loaded van during the darkness of winter in a snow storm to hook up a flatbed trailer with the factory reverse lights!
Something that many people don’t think about when it comes to upfitting the perfect van for the job is flooring. Again, our experience lets us call on numerous companies to provide a slip-resistant solution for two big reasons – noise reduction and safety – but the right van flooring can also help to keep interior temperatures hospitable. Sure, it’s nice to be able to easily slide a heavy generator across a painted floor, but when you’ve got to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision, guess where that generator is going? Right into the partition! The right flooring and mats keep your cargo where you put it – and the right shelving and mounting points keep it there.
The last key thing to consider as you ready a new van for the fleet is “what else?” If your team is only handling smaller items – computer equipment, small electronics, or even software installation – then you might never tax the cargo capacity of your van. On the other hand, construction contractors, support fleets, and many others will load a van to capacity and still look for ways to add more. In those cases, the right ladder rack can “create” extra space to not only carry a ladder (or two or three) but also pipe, long pieces of stock, and a variety of other things that always seem to end up being needed on the job. Today’s racks are lightweight, quiet, and stronger than ever before and, as an added bonus, some, like Prime Designs’ Ergorack, use a hydraulic mechanism to keep your worker’s feet on the ground.
Anytime you look at the cost of the investment in a new vehicle for your fleet or company, you have to take a lot of things into consideration. The key to any big purchase like this is to make sure that it provides far more in use value than what the cash value actually is. When you build a work van that meets the needs of the company perfectly, your team can be more efficient and safer than they would be if you had to press a less compatible vehicle into service. When you’re ready to take a closer look at how Expertec can make that happen, we’re ready to bring over a decade of experience in providing those answers.