How Is An Electrician’s Van Set Up?

What do electricians rack their vans when so much of the kit they carry is bulky? What is better, DIY racking or racking designed for the van and products?

An organized electrician’s van prevents spending valuable time looking for small items, like screws and terminal blocks. It also stops (most of the time) tools and components from being damaged. Most vans have DIY racking to keep items organized and accessible.

Why you should set up your van with racking

If you have ever just thrown your tools into the back of the van, then dropped by the suppliers to pick up a few rolls of cable, some conduit and switches and then put those in the back of your van.

When you arrive at the customer’s property, you will know that you will have one hell of a jumbled mess that needs to be sorted before you can even consider starting work.

If your customer sees your van in this condition, they will wonder what they have got into.

An organised van saves you money

If you search for ten minutes for a component or longer, you are losing money it’s the old adage “time is money” is very true.

Spending time in the back of your van costs you money and extends your working day, and increases stress levels for you and maybe the customer.

Plus, it’s happened to most people, and you don’t think you have the item, so you have to drive the suppliers only to return to the job and find what you were looking for. 

When it comes to an electrician, chaos is your enemy.

What are the options for setting up an electricians van

Let’s look at three options: two renowned racking companies and a DIY installation.

Type of rackingInstallation methodsCompany
Pre Manufactured steel or alloy racking systemDIYBott Smart
Pre Manufactured steel or alloy racking Installed by the manufacturerSortimo
DIY Wooden rackingDIYSelf build and install

Bott smart will supply precision-designed racking to be installed by the end-user, the electrician, or a contractor specialising in van fit-outs.

Bott smart has almost a Mechano resemblance to its design and construction but has one very attractive feature.

Bottsmart precisely uses the bolts and holes in the structure of the van, so there is no need for you to drill panels and devalue your van at the time of sale.

Furthermore, the system fits perfectly, although there is some manhandling of the racking and maybe some trimming of panels.

Bott Smartvan pros

  • Modular design that can be added to at any time.
  • Rugged construction.
  • Designed for carrying electrical components and tools from other tradespeople.
  • Sleek design.
  • Cost-effective for custom-designed racking.
  • Good reputation.
  • UK based.

Bott Smartvan cons

  • Installation can be tricky.
  • Design is not contemporary.
  • Overall cost and time of installation are excessive.

Sortimo

Sortimo has an excellent reputation for delivering purpose-designed modular van racking systems that can utilise every square inch of the van for your tools and components.

The systems are individually designed in CAD to fit your van perfectly. Sortimos have an extensive range of storage systems to keep your tools contained and safe and your components sealed to prevent spills when driving.

The manufacturer installs Sortimo. It’s an expensive system running into thousands of pounds and needs to be viewed as an investment rather than a cost.

Because Sortimo technicians install Sortimo, you can expect a first-class installation.

Sortimo pros

  • Clean professional installation service
  • High-end alloys to keep weight down
  • Custom design service
  • Rugged construction of racking and containers for components and tools
  • Stellar reputation for quality and innovation
  • UK based

Sortimo Cons

  • Price

DIY racking Installation

You will need to have some carpentry tools and patience to complete the task. However, if you lay your design out before cutting any wood, you can make a custom-designed racking system that no one in the industry has.

Is it cheap and nasty? No, most vans in the field are lined with ply to protect the structure of the van, so the evolution of making racking from plywood and timbers is a sensible proposition.

You can stamp your own personality on your racking by spraying the racking to match or contrast the out colour of your van.

DIY racking pros

  • Cost, it’s by far the cheapest way to rack your van and organise tools and inventory
  • Custom design to your needs
  • It can be modular
  • More workspace
  • Load efficiency

DIY racking cons

  • You need some carpentry skills
  • Installation can be tricky

What should all electrician vans have?

There are two things that your van needs for the security of your tools and components needed for you to work.

The first is a Van Vault or equivalent. The van vault keeps your tools and test kit securely locked away from the opportunistic thief.

The van vaults are steel construction, running on rails for your convenience. They are best installed under a raised floor to maximise working and carrying space in the van.

Install rubber mats inside the van vaults to eliminate rattles from tools.

The second items are again for security, and it’s deadlocked, get dreadlocks professionally installed to prevent your equipment from being stolen.

With the deadlocks, you can install stainless plates over the locking mechanism of the van door to prevent the would-be thief from drilling a small hole and popping your locks open.

These are essentials for peace of mind when your van is parked while working or at home overnight.

Organise your tools

When your van is racked, it’s easier for you to see where everything is, and you should organise your tools in order of frequency of use,

If you have a lot of EICR work, then have a bag and your test gear close to the van’s back doors. If you need steps to carry out the work, conveniently stowed for your convenience.

Similarly, have long drill bits at the rear of the van or close to side opening doors with the tools you use, such as SDS drills.

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