Outfitting A New Service Van, Part 1

There is no limit to what you can create for your mobile office. Every time you arrive at a customer's home or business, you are giving them a first impression. Having a well thought-out truck with a clean, professional appearance will get you started...


Carrying enough stock with you is important if you wish to land an impulse sale, or do not want to waste time in traffic going back to the shop. It's a balancing act. Too much stock, and your capital is tied up being wasted. Too little and you run short, which costs you. It is my personal goal to never have to return to the shop for something I don't have. I usually succeed, but not always.

To me, the sliding door is the only option. We don't always get to choose where we get to park. Climbing snow mounds to access the side of your truck while maneuvering barn doors is no fun. Neither is having to work out of two doors hanging open on a busy one way street!

LETTERING OPTIONS

The outside of my service truck has applied lettering. It is also possible to have your artwork painted on. I chose this type as it is more cost-effective when it comes time to repair those dings and dents we seem to accrue over time. Also, adding or deleting items may be done easily. For instance: if I wanted to add a picture of a vehicle remote or a VATS key on three sides of the truck, I can easily make room by removing something. The lettering is also reflective. With this type of lettering, you will stand out in a dimly lit parking lot or at twilight.

Some locksmiths have yellow utility lights on top of their trucks. This is a great idea if you are alongside the road next to traffic. It will also garner you even more attention in parking lots. People's heads turn when they see a flashing light.

You can read my entire phone number when the slider is open. Always be sure your number is legible. For safety, I have also applied reflective red and white safety decals on all door edges, including the slider. When these doors are open, car headlights will reflect on them and help me to be seen.

FRONT OF VAN

Now let's take a peek on the inside of my office. Beginning with the front of my van, you will notice the dashboard. This is what is called a Dashmat . In Part 2 of the article I will list websites or phone numbers for the products I have used. The Dashmat is a neat product that is nothing more than a carpeted cover, available in many colors. I have chosen black as it will hide the reflection of the dashboard in the windshield.

Next, parked on top of the dash, is my XM satellite radio. I have utilized a separate source for my XM receiver. The reason for doing this is versatility. With the separate receiver, comes an FM modulator (transmitter). This allows me to work on new construction or an isolated area in a commercial building, and transmit the XM signal to where I am. All I need to do is carry my DeWalt battery charger/radio with me and tune it 88.1 FM. I can range out about 100 yards before I lose signal. I have also replaced the factory radio with an upgraded more powerful aftermarket unit. There are conversion kits available that make this a fairly easy task. This conversion also gave me extra storage for business cards and such.

COMPUTER AND STAND

My laptop and printer are located at my fingertips either from the driver's seat, or from the back. This stand as shown is holding a desktop replacement laptop, and a full size laser printer. There isn't anything I can do on a PC that I can't do here, within reason.

The stand mount is removable. It goes against my grain to drill a series of holes in the floor of my new truck. I have mounted the stand on an old Diebold bank teller safe door. These are used at teller stations to hold extra bills and coin. It's actually nothing more than a ½” thick steel plate. This prevented me from making Swiss cheese out of my floor, and I can also easily remove everything quickly should the need for servicing the engine arise.

Other stands are available that mount under the passenger seat and do not need holes drilled in the floor. However, I had chosen this type so I may still be able to carry another tech if need be. I can swing the printer to the front or remove it to allow for passenger comfort.

TOOL BACKPACK WITHIN EASY REACH

On top of the safe door, is my tool backpack. This contains picks and basic hand tools that I may need on an initial service. I simply sling the pack over a shoulder, and both my hands are free. Ninety-nine percent of the time, everything I need to tear a door down for rekey, or do a repair, is in this bag. I dislike wasted trips back to the truck for tools.

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