Outfitting A Service Van, Part 2

Dec. 1, 2007
This particular truck was configured to make work easier and to carry the maximum amount of inventory for the space allotted. Some thought was given to aesthetics, but functionality was the overriding concern.

Welcome back! In the last issue, I had shown the outside of the service vehicle as well as the cab portion. This time, I will show the main work area, as well as ways I organize the contents.

As previously stated, this vehicle is not designed to be a work of art. We work out of these trucks. That does not mean however, that they should not be neat, clean, organized, and a showcase of the work your customer can expect from you. When the customer comes over and pokes his head into your truck to be nosy, is he impressed or disappointed? You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Editor's Note: Part 1 of Tony Fiorini's article on Outfitting a Service Van appears in the November 2007 issue of Locksmith Ledger, pages 20-26, and online at www.locksmithledger.com.


Almost all of my work is done in the seated position. Keeping the aisle clear makes it easy to roll back and forth. Two boxes are strapped to the cage, as shown in the 1st photo on page 51. Inside these are four panic devices, as well as pull trims. Rearranging how they are packed will allow you to carry more, as well as hardware from different manufacturers, without losing any space. Keeping them off the floor will prevent damage from any water making contact with the boxes.


On the other side of the slider, the Ultracode machine is mounted on top of an 18-inch square parts cabinet. I had to custom drill and tap the base of the machine to mount it in this way. The location of the machine allows easy access for communications with the laptop.

This is where I have my compressed air line accessible. I can use it at the bench, or unwrap the hose and take it outside the door.

A 110VAC line is here for powering the Ultracode and also for power outside the slider. Sometimes at night it's nice to have the area lit up when working on a vehicle or when there are many trip hazards to navigate.


The divided parts cabinet is a wonderful catch-all for small parts, KIK cylinders, and VATS/transponder keys.

Further back are compartments for inventory. I carry more than a few residential deadbolts and knobsets in two finishes. I have found over the years that impulse sales do work. In addition, how many of us have been told by customers over the phone they have “XYZ” on their doors? We show up, and what is actually there is “disposable” or contradictory to their statement. Well, you will now have enough to cover the job without having to return for more stock. Ideally, I try to have enough to cover any such surprises that may come up for an entire day.

At the rear I store my airbags as well as a few common automotive pin kits. The nine-drawer cabinet carries all the extra latches and bolts. Below that is the air compressor. I also have a 110VAC line here. This powers the compressor as well as providing AC current out of the back without having to unplug the grinder.


Jumping sides, the keyboard and bench are fairly self-explanatory. The key hooks are spaced closer together, allowing me to carry more blanks in the allotted space. The benchtop is hand-made from MDF (medium density fiberboard). It is one piece, a little over nine feet long. Scribing it to the keyboard will assure that nothing goes over the back edge. MDF will not give you splinters, and is rock solid. The duplicator is a Rytan 200, and the card code machine is HPC.

All along the length of this bench are additional AC receptacles. I used the weatherproof boxes and covers for all receptacles in the vehicle. This ensures that no moisture or brass chips will enter.

Throughout the cabinets is a large assortment of cylinders, Adams Rite hardware, transponder blanks, grade one and two hardware, safe locks and parts, and a host of other good stuff.

I carry many different ADA-compliant leversets . Having the correct function is as important as the correct finish or grade. I have found over the years that the commercial customer is generally more pleased when you can finish the job without having to order the parts, or make a return trip another day for a bread and butter item. Their impression of you is just as important as the quality of work you perform.


The main work area is covered with an inexpensive ribbed floor mat. This holds pins and springs perfectly and costs around $2 per foot at the local home center.

The subfloor is 3/4 AC exterior plywood. It was glued to the truck's floor with construction adhesive. The vinyl is industrial grade Congoleum from a local flooring center. This was attached with regular flooring adhesive.

You will notice that the cabinets are not mounted directly to the floor. They are lag bolted to pressure treated wood. This is done to keep the bottom of the cabinets and their inventory from coming into contact with water. Dozens of trips in and out on a snowy day creates a real mess!


The ceiling was time consuming, to say the least. It's a full sheet of white pegboard laced with industrial elastic. If you decide to do this, be prepared to spend many hours! If you have children in need of disciplinary action, this is definitely the job for them. The laced pegboard is a great way to make sense of the spaghetti mess common to car-opening tools. By using the heavier gauge of elastic, I am assured it will last the life of the vehicle. It will also hold heavier items such as big punches and chisels as well as prybars and large screwdrivers.


The overhead lights were purchased from the local auto parts store. They use standard automotive bulbs and can be changed easily. These lights are inexpensive and easy to wire. It's brighter than daylight when all of them are on. Remembering to mount one or two close to the doors will also cast light out into the street or parking lot. This is just enough if you need to load up in the dark.

The rear compartment is also fully insulated. R11 from the local home center was used on the walls and Styrofoam on the ceiling. This makes a considerable difference when running the air conditioner in the summertime, or the heater in winter. As a creature comfort, I added two little fans. Some days, the little things make all the difference!

For the most part I try to keep the aisle clear, but we all know how that goes. Usually just a tote for deadbolt installations and my trusty automotive scan tool take up residence there.

When safe openings requiring drilling occur, they are known in advance. It's a matter of loading the scopes and rigs as needed. Small safe deliveries by use of a hand truck can also be accomplished easily with this setup.

Almost all of the cabinets were used in previous trucks. Several were cut and fabricated to some degree to achieve this setup. This is simply a demonstration of what can be done on a budget and in house, so to speak. The lettering was the only thing done by a third party.


Here are a few of the sources for the materials we had used during the construction of this service vehicle. Hopefully you will find a few ideas that can be implemented into your service vehicle to make your job easier.

• Weatherguard : www.weatherguard.com

• Silica Ultracode : www.americanautolock.com

• Snap-On Tools : www.snapon.com

• Lynch Display Vans: www.ldvusa.com

• Cornwell Tools: www.cornwelltools.com

• Stereo conversion kit: www.installer.com

• Jotto Desk: www.jottodesk.com

• Inverter: www.theinverterstore.com

• Redi -Line: www.rediline.com

• XM: www.xmradio.com

• American Van: www.americanvan.com

• Dashmat : www.godashmat.com

• Key hooks: www.plsgroup.com