Service van setup

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Ways to Set Up Your Work Van

Vans are an important tool for many fleet operations, from service to delivery to contractors and more. Due to the wide variety of vocations that utilize vans, upfitters have designed a number of options to help drivers do their jobs safely, quickly, and easily.

Check out a photo gallery of van upfit options here!

DECKED Van Storage System
DECKED in-vehicle storage and organization system is a weatherproof and ergonomic solution for full-size trucks and cargo vans. The 100% American-made DECKED system features two secure, full bed-length drawers with a 200-pound load rating per drawer that glide effortlessly on industrial-grade wheels beneath a 2,000-pound payload-rated deck. Constructed from rugged High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and American steel, owners get ergonomic access to tools and equipment while maintaining full use of their vehicle bed’s footprint.  

Storage is customizable and the system, once assembled, is easily installed and removed with little to no drilling or alteration of the vehicle body. Put critical gear right at the worker’s fingertips. Eliminating the need to step in and out of the vehicle saves time and money as well as reducing work-related injuries. 

Ranger Design Shelving & Storage Bin Options
Ranger Design’s van shelving and storage bin systems are unique in the industry, combining the strength and rigidity of aluminum extrusions with a solid substrate shelf base, for a shelf tray that is strong and quiet.
Shelving and storage bins are available in hundreds of different configurations of height, length, and shelf depth.

Ranger Design’s exclusive shelf construction of extrusions and laminate carries the load time after time. And, extra durability doesn’t necessarily mean extra weight. Ranger Design’s popular #4048-3 shelf weighs only 44 pounds. The shelves are easily adjustable in order to accommodate any kind of cargo and shelf dividers drop into specially engineered slots that eliminate all rattles.

Adrian Steel Drop-Down Ladder Racks
Adrian Steel’s ladder racks are designed specifically around the driver, making them user-friendly.

With Adrian Steel’s Drop Down Ladder Rack, drivers will never lift the entire weight of the ladder onto the rack again. It was designed to load and lower the ladder safely by using two hands, while eliminating straining and overreaching that, after time, can cause injury.

Adrian’s drop-down ladder rack can be adjusted quickly and without tools. The exclusive twist to adjust mechanism allows operators to get the perfect fit for a wide range of ladders in a matter of seconds. This keeps the ladder safely secured and eliminates rattling that can cause driver distractions.

In addition, Adrian Steel includes a guard rail to protect the ladder from hitting the outside of the van or damage vehicle graphic and the low roof racks feature an attached handle to quickly access the rack. Finally, the racks are designed with a wide base to accommodate 10- to 12-foot step ladders.

Adrian Steel Cargo Van Partitions
The Adrian Steel line of composite partitions provides a more comfortable mobile office for cargo van drivers. This new partition reduces cargo noise from entering the cab area as well as driver distractions. This quiet cab also allows for better communication when drivers need to use an approved hands-free devices.

Due to the partition, drivers don’t need to waste time and fuel getting the cab temperate on hot or cold days. Another driver benefit of the Adrian Steel composite partition is the maximum leg room and a very comfortable recline angle. In addition, the optional window is designed with anti-glare, keeping oncoming headlights from bothering the driver.

Maximizing storage is important for cargo van owners. Adrian Steel’s composite partitions provide the ability to hang popular cargo management products such as hooks and features built-in storage areas for such safety items as fire extinguishers. An integrated steel frame is included along with the composite partition.

Ranger Design Max View Cargo Van Partition
Designed to be tighter fitting and rattle free, Max View Composite cargo van partitions can increase cabin comfort by improving climate control and reducing noise. Features include a clear top to make the cab of a small van feel more spacious, 180-degree rear visibility and reduction of blind spots, contoured to allow full seat travel and maximum cargo floor space.

With Models available to fit the Ford Transit low roof, ProMaster City, Mercedes-Benz Metris and Ford Transit Connect, these partitions are built of thermoformed ABS and polycarbonate and engineered to resist maximum impact.


How to Customize a Service Van

Customizations on Wayne Winton's mobile locksmith shop include plywood linings with foam insulation, shelving and storage units, a workbench and a key-cutting machine.

Where would you go to learn how to build out your next service van or organize the one you’re driving now? What would be your first step, and how would you know when it was done?

To find out, Business Fleet spoke with three working tradesmen who used experience, ingenuity and craftsmanship to build their ideal mobile offices.

Organization and Accessibility

Each tradesman uses tools and equipment unique to his field, but all three share a common mantra: Figure out what you need and how often you need it, and then find an appropriate home in the van. In each case, trial-and-error was the path to success.

“I just made it up as I went,” says Wayne Winton, owner of Tri-County Locksmith Service in Glenwood, Colo. “And if it fit, I did it, and if not, I moved it.”

Winton’s van, a 1999 Ford Econoline, replaced a Chevrolet Astro from which Winton was able to salvage a shelving unit but not much else. After lining the interior walls with plywood painted in Tufdek, a vinyl coating for outdoor decks, he installed the shelves, additional storage compartments and a wooden workbench.

Winton's van, a 1999 Ford Econoline, replaced a Chevrolet Astro.
With the big pieces installed, the rest fell into place: Larger tool bags are stored just inside the side door, upon which hangs a nuts-and-bolts bin. The back doors open to the workbench, a roadside emergency kit and, suspended from the rear driver’s-side door, Winton’s key-cutting machine. When the weather allows, he swings the door open and cuts keys outside to avoid filling the cargo hold with brass shavings.

Accessibility was the principal objective for Eric Sherman, an electrician with Western States Electrical Construction in Newport and Lincoln City, Ore. Both interior walls of his 2006 Ford E-250 cargo van are lined with shelves and bins.

With no need to perform work in the van — and a ladder rack and conduit box on the roof — he is able to keep the floor free of clutter. He mounted a frequently used stepladder to the ceiling, which also has hooks attached for a shovel, fish rods and a “hickey,” a tool used to bend conduit.

Electrician Eric Sherman's Ford E-250 cargo van contains shelves and bins for better organization of tools.

“I threw up the long skinny things,” Sherman says. “I had the shovel hanging downward until I banged my head on it.”

Because his daily workload could involve anything from getting a grocery store’s cold storage unit up and running to rewiring electrical panels at a wastewater plant, Sherman built side door-accessible holsters for his power drill, hand sanitizer and paper towel roll.

“The idea is I can reach the most common stuff from the doors,” he says, noting that, when it comes to organization, “I’m a bit obsessive compulsive.”

“You have to think, ‘When I get to the customer, what I am going to need to have handy?’” says Russell Mullis, a forklift field service technician with Charlotte, N.C.-based Lift-One LLC. “I have different bags for different jobs. … Grab it and go.”

Forklift field service technician Russell Mullis went through a lengthy trial-and-error process to organize his van and then documented the results in a YouTube video.

A typical call for Mullis could involve a half-hour drive to a client’s warehouse and a long walk from the parking lot to the ailing forklift. After months spent making multiple trips back and forth to the van to grab tools and machinery, he carved out space in his late-model GMC Savana for a rolling cart.

“It was trial-and-error,” he says. “It’s about being more efficient.”

Planning and Discipline

None of the three tradesmen BF contacted mapped out their customizations before starting the job, but Sherman would advise first-timers to start with a rough sketch.

“I think the first thing is to figure out what you’re doing with the van and go from there. … Start doodling it out and laying it out. The ideal thing to do is make it kind of modular so it’s easy to move around.”

Once your van is arranged to your liking, he adds, you have to take time at the end of each workday to be sure everything goes back in its place to be sure you can find it the next day. “You can have a really cool setup, and it can get destroyed if you don’t keep on top of it. You have got to be disciplined.”

Sherman recommends avoiding prefabricated systems in favor of a custom setup. Winton applied the same logic to the steel bulkhead that divides his cabin from the cargo hold. Unsatisfied with the flimsy L-brackets that came with the kit, he reinforced the bulkhead by adding thicker brackets and framing it with angle iron.

“I know how much weight I roll around with,” Winton says. “People don’t realize that all that stuff in the back comes flying up if you come to an abrupt stop.”

Without a brick-and-mortar office to return to, Winton built his van to serve as a rolling workshop with all the comforts of home, including climate control. A radiant heater hangs from the safety cage on the passenger side, and he used expanding foam to fill in beam ridges and stuffed packing peanuts between his plywood bulkheads and the interior panels. The insulation helps maintain comfortable temperatures in the winter (and summer) months — and as an added bonus, it deadens cabin noise.

Winton says the plywood, Tufdek and multiple layers of insulation combine for “a very solid ride,” adding that all the planning, work, reinforcement and documentation were worth the effort. “If I put in the time now, then that will pay off in the future. … I took so much care in setting it up because it is my office. I’m in the van all day long.”

Sherman organized his van with an emphasis on accessibility, keeping the floor relatively clear and making sure frequently used tools remain within easy reach.
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Discover the work truck setup ideas with the 4 best upfit benefits

To get your work done effectively, you need specific tools. While these tools can vary depending on the day and the task at hand, one vital tool remains consistent: your work vehicle. Your work vehicle is more than just simple transportation to and from a job. It’s an important part of your day-to-day routine and a key element of your business. Working with your local distributor to explore work truck setup ideas will result in an upfit built just for the way you work!

So, why not make sure you’re getting the most out of your vehicle by giving it a proper upfit? A customized upfit based around your specific vocational needs boosts productivity – and being more productive means being more profitable!

Benefits of Work Truck Upfits

Whether you add a ladder rack, a partition, shelving, storage or other accessories, there are numerous ways to upfit your vehicle and even more advantages! Check out some of the benefits below.

#1 Organization

If your work vehicle is messy, chances are you may not be able to quickly locate the tools you need or even worse, you may misplace them altogether. The time spent rummaging for the right equipment necessary for a job costs time and, as we know, time costs money. Increase and maintain productivity and efficiency by installing the right tools in your vehicle to keep you organized!

#2 Safety

Keeping your work vehicle organized also keeps it safe. When equipment is stored haphazardly or is not properly secured, it can become a danger to you and the other equipment in the vehicle. In the event of a sudden stop or an accident, loose, unsecured items could cause injury to employees or accidentally damage other important equipment.

#3 Efficiency

Have you ever been ready to start a project at home only to realize you’ve misplaced the tool you need? The time spent hunting down the right tool can delay your project, not to mention cause some unneeded frustration. Think of your work vehicle in the same way.

Proper organization not only allows employees to quickly locate the tools they need boosting efficiency, but also aids in managing supply inventory. Storing equipment in the same place helps employees keep track of items and recognize when they may need to be restocked. It also cuts down on repurchasing expensive tools that may be assumed lost. Labeling storage units within your vehicle will also save a lot of time when on the jobsite.

#4 Professional Image

A tidy, organized van symbolizes professionalism and sends a message to customers that you will get the work done correctly and in a timely fashion.

First impressions are important, and an organized van is an opportunity to create a positive imagine in customers’ minds, which in turn reinforces your brand and boosts the likelihood that they will call on your services again in the future. They may even recommend you to their friends and neighbors.

Work Truck Setup Ideas for Any Vocation

Upfits for Your Trade

Properly planned vehicle upfits can improve efficiency for any vocation. Every trade has unique needs, and Adrian Steel works closely with individuals to ensure specific needs are met for your specific vehicle when planning an upfit package. Below are some ideas for just a few vocations.

Work Truck Setup Ideas for Contractors

As a contractor, you need to be able to respond to the task at hand, which means upfitting your vehicle with a flexible storage solution. Adjustable shelving and drop-in dividers that can be configured for your needs provide storage that can adapt quickly given the job. Locking shelf door kits, drawer units and a cargo partition offer added safety and security.

Work Truck Setup Ideas for HVAC Techs

As a HVAC technician, you must be prepared to work in nearly every condition and adapt quickly as the seasons change. Upfitting your work vehicle to meet these every-changing needs can help you work more efficiently and increase organization. Shelving with drawer units, dividers, door kits, a welded tank rack and a vice mount are just a few items that can help you meet those goals.

Work Truck Setup Ideas for Telecommunication Techs

Whether you’re restoring or installing cable TV service to a home or neighborhood or working on internet connectivity, ensuring your work vehicle is equipped to keep up with the latest technology can help you be successful. Divided shelving, composite drawers, cable and wire reel holders, partitions, and locking cabinets will keep your service calls running smoothly.

Work Truck Setup Ideas for Plumbers

Whether you’re a plumber working out of a standard van or larger cargo trailer, there are a number of accessories and equipment to upfit your vehicle in a way that best benefits your work. Adjustable shelving that can accommodate a variety of cargo, dividers, welded tank racks, vice mounts and partitions will help you increase your day-to-day efficiency.

Work Truck Setup Ideas for General Service & Maintenance Techs

As a general service contractor, no day is the same. Therefore, you need to be prepared to do various jobs on any given day and keeping your work vehicle organized will help you be more efficient and productive. Shelving units, rail kits, dividers, drawers, utility hooks and more will help you achieve just that!

Customize Adrian Steel Work Truck Setup Ideas for You

Start with an Adrian Steel Trade Package

Every trade requires different needs and Adrian Steel is committed to helping you find the best fit for you. Providing high-quality, durable and reliable products, your local Adrian Steel distributor is a great starting point to help you identify exactly what you need.

Our network of distributors will work with you to answer questions and customize your upfit package based on the needs of your job and your vehicle. Our goal is to provide you the best in cargo management solutions crafted for the day-to-day work of real technicians.

Tips for Planning Your Work Truck Upfit

There are several factors to consider when planning your work vehicle upfit. Here are a few tips.

Plan Ahead

Consider the various requirements of your job. Taking inventory of the tools and equipment used can help when planning the best method of organization that will allow your or your technicians to complete the work more efficiently. Try to separate the needs of your business and from wants, which can help establish a baseline plan and help stay within a budget. Be sure to begin your upfit planning early so your work vehicle is prepared and ready to go before your busy season begins!

Mindful of Repetition

As you are working out of your vehicle, what steps do you take at each stop? Do you reach for the same tools? What do you need to access the most frequently? Paying attention to the actions you take throughout your work day can provide some helpful information when planning the best configuration for your upfit. Creating a standardized layout in your vehicle can decrease inefficiencies in effect boosting productivity throughout the day.


Many technicians perform repetitive actions throughout the work day. If your work vehicle is disorganized or unsystematic, those repetitive tasks have the potential to cause injury, such as muscle strain, which lends itself to lowered productivity and can affect the overall bottom line.

Upfitting your work vehicle with ergonomics in mind means it will be organized in a way that you can access your equipment in the most efficient and safe manner. For example, storing heavier items near the door or selecting the right ladder rack can decrease the chance of injury keeping everyone safe and keeping the work moving.

About Adrian Steel Upfits

Adrian Steel manufactures contractor-grade products and storage solutions including shelving, drawers, cabinets, partitions, ladder racks, aluminum toolboxes, and accessories. Beyond manufacturing, our dedicated Customer Care Team and a network of highly qualified distributors can have your vehicle upfitted at a location convenient for you – at the factory, out of dealer stock, at your place of business, or through a bailment pool.

Plus, upfits installed by an authorized Adrian Steel distributor are covered for a full 3 years or 36,000 miles.

Find a distributor near you to get started today!

FInd an Adrian Steel Distributor by clicking on this button.


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MY EPIC WORK VAN SETUP PART 1 - Vans...Better than pick-up trucks for any contractor.. Do you agree?

Over the course of my career as a remodeling contractor I’ve owned a few different work truck setups. I called an old van my “work truck” for a while, and upfitted it with a customized pullout tool storage rig. It did a sufficient job at hauling our tools around, but materials were always a hassle. I then hauled a trailer behind a traditional pickup for several years, but I learned over time that this isn’t a great option for the narrow roads and heavy traffic we contend with daily. As my company grew, my needs for tool storage did too, so a little over a year ago I bit the bullet and invested in a 3500 Ram ProMaster. It has plenty of room for tool storage, my guys and I can walk down the center aisle to easily locate tools and materials, and there’s tons of room to haul things like sheet goods – all without subjecting anything to the elements.

It took one of my lead carpenters and me about 5 days to upfit the van. I estimate that having things organized saves us each about 10 minutes a day based on previous experience with other companies, and old setups we had. Now, it takes us less than a minute to find something in the van. So, for me, the investment upfront in buildout and the organization is all worthy investment for the long-term. Because I’m fanatical in my need to be organized, I improved upon my various setups and settled on seven rules for organizing that hopefully will be of some use to those with similar work trucks.

Photo courtesy of Dettmore Home Improvements
Photo courtesy of Dettmore Home Improvements
Photo courtesy of Dettmore Home Improvements
Photo courtesy of Dettmore Home Improvements
Photo courtesy of Dettmore Home Improvements
Photo courtesy of Dettmore Home Improvements
Photo courtesy of Dettmore Home Improvements

Van setup service

Tips for Your HVAC Vehicle Setup

When technicians are out in the field servicing customers, their box truck or cargo van serves as their home base. Your HVAC vehicle stores all the tools and supplies the team needs, but it still needs to be kept organized and tidy to keep them efficient and ready for the next job. Outlined are a few tips to complement your HVAC setup so that you can continue to keep your work van optimize when you go on service calls.

Get Upfits and Customization For Your Work Truck

Why You Should Organize Your Service Van

Investing time, effort, and upgrades to your service van brings you and your business several benefits.

  • Increase your productivity by wasting less time looking for things.
  • Protect your equipment from travel related damage or excessive wear.
  • Improve safety.
  • Better track inventory.
  • Make a more professional impression on customers.

How to Setup Your HVAC Vehicle

If you haven’t already prepared an inventory of your tools, equipment, and supplies, now would be a good time to do so. Identify the seasonal items that might be stored elsewhere during the off-season.

When setting up your service vehicle, do what makes sense for you and your workflows. But some things you should consider include the following key areas and HVAC work van storage ideas:

Interior Lighting

Searching for items in a poorly lit van is time-consuming and frustrating. Interior lighting allows you to find what you need on overcast days, during evening service calls, and in early mornings. Install overhead dome lamps and additional lighting, such as touch lights in especially dark areas.

Light Up Your Van


Shelves are essential to effective, efficient van storage systems. Shelving along the interior walls creates designated spaces for storing and securely fastening items such as pipes and spools of wire. In addition to improved organization and tidiness, shelves’ use of vertical space makes it easier to move through your van without tripping over objects or straining over stacks of crates.

We offer box truck shelving plans, custom shelving, and pre-designed modules specifically made for HVAC equipment.

Get Shelving


A bulkhead or separating partition reinforces the security of your cargo space, keeping drivers and passengers safe from things shifting and interfering with safe operation of the vehicle.

Learn More About Partitions


An uncluttered interior workspace allows you space for light machining or fabrication, rain or shine. Include additional power options, like a power inverter, so you will not need to search for electricity on-site at a job.


Be sure to secure your van and lock down expensive tools with appropriate security measures. For extra security, you can add deadbolts with key fob access to your shelving.

Placement of Frequently Used Items

Consider the items typically required during a service call. Keep things used regularly near the doors for easier access. Hang your tool belt within easy reach, along with equipment needed to get started on most jobs. If your service van includes both side and rear doors, store heavier equipment near the rear doors, with smaller tools and parts accessible from the side doors.

Storage Options

  • Small odds and ends: Include designated areas for little pieces and parts. You can use enclosed, secure drawers to keep small fittings and such organized and easy to access.
  • Peg boards: Add pegboards with movable hooks for hanging medium-sized items, like hand tools, power tools, or spools.
  • Ladder racks: Storing your ladder on the outside of the vehicle leads to messy visits during inclement weather. Instead use an interior ladder storage rack, if space allows.
  • Specific storage racks: Racks designed to store specific HVAC equipment, such as tanks or filters, are recommended to help organize your service van.

Get Customized Storage Cabinets


Maximize your storage space by making use of the areas on the backs of the doors. Install magnetized stripping to hold metal hand tools like hammers or tape measures. Hang fabric or plastic closet organizers with pockets to store small, lightweight items.


Buy a label maker and use it often. Label compartments, drawers, storage bins, and shelving areas with their contents so you don’t need to search several locations to find a specific item.

Knee Padding

Install padded floor mats around the doors so when you are leaning in to grab something you don’t need to kneel on a hard surface.

A One-stop Shop For Commercial Truck Purchasing

Your HVAC setup will require the investment of time and effort, as well as funding. Aztec Financial’s team of industry specialists is here to help you put together your customized HVAC van. Build your custom van and learn about how you can build your custom financing packing with Aztec Financial today.

Learn More About HVAC Equipment Financing


Thread: Service van setup

I will throw a photo of my express up at some point. I have a 2500 express myself, and I bought it from the dealership with metal shelving on the drivers side from front to back, pullout drawers on bottom, and I like the setup. Took some time to find places to bury things...But paying attention to detail and returning things to where they belong, I rarely lose something. In fact, at a glance I can usually see if I forgot something. What sucks is I have to drive the gf and kid around in it so I am forever wedging my totes and milk crates towards the back so she can have her chair up front...I would PREFER to have an aisle, but she needs her chair. On an install, I am stuck for space anyway so depending on the tonnage I throw everything into the front by the side door and take the handler first, walking it in (tall units won't stand) and sort of 45 them almost to my seat...Then the big condensing unit on the back, which really cramps my style. But I don't do many 5 ton units...I will try to get a photo out there.

"Mess with the best...Die like the rest!!!"


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Thin fabric struggled to confirm that there really were boobs.

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