Van Shelving Do's and Don'ts

1st Nov 2019

Perhaps you have a new work van. Maybe you’ve had one for a while. You might even have more than one — your business may have several. Whether it’s a new van or an older one, you’ve probably reached the point where you want to use your van to its full potential. You need to install van shelving.

Van shelving can be a real boon to your business. Regardless of the work you do or the industry you work in, a van shelving system is a great idea. For plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians or people who work in similar service industries, van shelving provides greater organization for your cargo area. It will make it easier for you to find tools and to protect those tools. Locating that vital small part is no longer a headache. There is a place for everything, and everything is in its place. Jobs will be done faster and more efficiently, which will enable you to do more jobs in a day.

For caterers or people who deliver flowers or similar occupations, van shelving will make it easier to organize and transport your deliveries. The shelving systems used in these jobs fits the task. The shelving folds up and out of the way when it's not being used, giving you greater access to your cargo area when needed.

However, you don’t buy van shelving on the spur of the moment. It requires thoughtfulness, research and planning so you will feel satisfied with your purchase. Taking the time to make the right purchase will ensure you’ve used your money wisely and done something to improve your business.

Van Shelving Do's

With that thought in mind, here are some suggestions about things that you should and shouldn’t do when purchasing and installing shelving for your work van. Van shelving can make an enormous difference to your day-to-day work routine, so taking the time to find the right kind of shelving will pay handsome dividends.

1. Do Plan Your Van Shelving Needs Ahead of Time

As with most significant purchases you make, planning is key. How you use your van shelving will make a huge difference. You'll want to consider the following items:

  • The tools you use: Think about the tools you use every day, especially the essential ones. Can you find them at a moment’s notice when you need them, or is the back of your van so cluttered you feel you need a St. Bernard to help you find a particular item?
  • The space you need: How much space do you need in your cargo area? Are there larger pieces of equipment that will need to be stored safely and effectively?
  • Things that irritate you: Think about the things that continually frustrate you. Do you frequently waste precious minutes hunting for some small part that feels impossible to find but you need to finish most jobs?
  • Where you drive: Another essential factor is the route you drive daily. Do you drive mostly in the city, or are there occasions when you travel on more rural roads? Are your tools and products damaged when you drive on rural roads or even when you take sharp turns in cities? A shelving system will allow you to balance the weight in the back of your van. If your cargo area is full of tools that shift around while you’re driving, a shelving system will help improve your van’s handling.
  • The danger of flying parts: Have there been occasions when you've hit a bump or made a sudden stop and things fly up from the back of the van, narrowly missing you? Or hit you?
  • The kind of business you operate: Plumbers and HVAC technicians need different kinds of shelving systems than what a caterer needs. Plumbers and HVAC technicians need a shelving system that provides them with bins to store small parts that include locking mechanisms, so they don’t pop open during driving. They may also need space to store pipes or gas cylinders. Meanwhile, a caterer requires longer shelving that allows them to transport linens or cutlery easily.

When purchasing van shelving, you must consider numerous important things. Taking the time to plan properly will help you find shelving that solves many of the problems mentioned above and is the ideal fit for your van.

2. Do Draw a Plan on How to Use Your Cargo Area

As part of the planning process, sit down with a piece of paper and sketch an outline of your cargo area. Think about what you need to store and where you need to store it. You'll need a place for essential tools. One of the primary benefits of a van racking system is the protection it offers to pieces of equipment. Tools and other necessary items stored properly won't need to be replaced as often.

What about using wall space to store more items? Many shelving units include hooks for hoses or for piping. A shelving unit may enable you to bring more of these items than you have in the past, especially if you were reluctant to lay them out in the back of a cluttered cargo area.

Consider how much weight you will need to carry. Where should that weight be placed? If you need larger pieces of equipment, how can you benefit from shelving in terms of new storage space created in the cargo area?

You also want to leave yourself some room to move around. When all your tools and parts are properly stored, you'll find that you have much more legroom in the back of the van. Do you want to use that for other pieces of equipment or will having the extra legroom make it easier for you to find the tools and equipment you need?

Finally, you’ll want a shelving system that will make loading and unloading easier.

3. Do Consider and Compare Van Shelving Materials

Van shelving systems are available in several different materials. The best shelving material for your work van depends on your preferences and what you will carry in the back of your van.

Aluminum and steel shelving are both strong, durable shelving material options. Aluminum is a lighter material, so if you have heavy tools to carry or if fuel consumption is a concern, aluminum shelving can offer you fuel efficiency because it lightens the weight of your van. If you need flexibility with your tool load or your driving terrain varies from day to day, you might want to use steel shelving.

Both steel and aluminum are a solid van shelving materials and a good investment for van owners who may only purchase van shelving infrequently. Both materials install easily, offer great protection for your tools and real value for what you spend.

4. Do Research on the Installation Process

Something you’ll need to consider when purchasing van shelving is the installation process. Before you invest money into a shelving system, you want to know if it’s something that you can install quickly and efficiently.

Good suppliers like Advantage Outfitters provide details on how long the assembly and installation process typically takes. They may even offer helpful videos or documented instructions. Few people are interested in buying van racking and then not being offered any helpful suggestions about how to install it.

The idea behind using van shelving is to reduce frustration, not to increase it because you can't put it in your van.

5. Do Know Your Van Size Measurements

Work vans come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Roof heights vary as do wheelbase sizes. The amount of room that you have in a Mercedes Sprinter cargo area is different from the amount of space in a Ford Transit. Knowing the dimensions of the van and the cargo area you have to work with before you purchase van shelving is essential.

When you sit down with that piece of paper to draw out the ways to use your van's cargo area, knowing its measurements helps you decide what to put in your van. It means the difference between putting too much in the back and not enough.

Advantage Outfitters offers a helpful online guide to find out your vehicle’s measurements. You can select roof heights and wheelbase sizes to find the right shelving packages for your van.

6. Do Consider Buying a Shelving Package vs. Individual Shelves

When you’re buying shelving for your van, it’s a good idea to consider the packages that have been built specifically to fit your model of van and your kind of business. Advantage Outfitters offers packages tailored to suit your model, wheelbase size and the height of your roof, as well as packages suited for particular industries.

So, for instance, if you’re a plumber driving a high roof, 170-inch extended wheelbase Mercedes Sprinter, we have a package that will work with your van. This saves the time you would spend measuring your van and eliminates the frustration of buying individual shelving pieces and then not having them fit.

We know, however, that sometimes you don’t need or want an entire package. You’re looking for one unit or maybe a divider to complete what you already have in your van. If that’s the case, give Advantage Outfitters a call, and a member of our experienced and knowledgeable team will help you find the piece that suits your needs and fits seamlessly into your vehicle.

7. Do Look for Industry-Specific Van Shelving

While plumbers and electricians may share the need for some tools, they use many different pieces of equipment for jobs specific to their field. The same is true of handymen and HVAC technicians. They often use their cargo areas to hold vastly different items.

Whether you're driving a GMC Savana/Express, a Nissan NV or another popular van model, we have shelving packages for plumbers, electricians and other industries that require a well-organized van to get the job done fast and efficiently. You won’t need to mix and match or take a piece from here or there to create a package that gives you the organization that you require, regardless of what you do.

The shelving packages from Advantage Outfitters are designed to give their users quick access to necessary tools or equipment without having to negotiate the clutter of an unorganized van.

8. Do Check to Make Sure Your Insurance Covers Your Shelving

The best time to consider this is during your planning process. If you try to fit too much into your van or make it non-compliant with safety standards by not using storage space correctly, you could sabotage your liability insurance or your work van’s insurance coverage. Talk to the experts at Advantage Outfitters and to your insurance company to remove any insurance concerns.

Van Shelving Don’ts

Just as there are many smart things to do that will ensure you buy the best shelving package, there are a few things not to do.

1. Don't Come Unprepared

We can’t stress the importance of preparation enough. Taking the time to consider your shelving needs, how you will use that shelving, how much you need, what will fit in your work van and which package provides for all your needs will save you a world of frustration and annoyance, not to mention time and maybe even money.

If you haven’t bought your van yet, but you know you will want a shelving package, talk to our team of experts. They can help you determine what will work best for you. You might find that you don’t need as big a van as you thought you would to hold everything you need to work efficiently.

Preparation is the magic ingredient that makes all other aspects of buying van shelving that much easier.

2. Don't Just Buy the Cheapest Option

While it is always smart to keep a budget in mind, remember the old saying, “You can pay me now, or you can pay me later.” Or, “You get what you pay for.”

The cheapest option is not always the best option.

It might save you a few dollars when purchasing a shelving unit, and there’s nothing wrong with that — provided you understand that you will probably need to buy a new shelving package later or improve the one that you are purchasing now. Shelving packages constructed from inferior materials or with shoddy quality might have an attractive price sticker, but inevitably they will cost you more in the long run.

This is particularly true when you consider the beating a work van takes daily. With cheaper work van shelving options, you may be buying inferior shelving, and it could have an impact on other parts of your van.

If your shelving doesn’t keep things safe and essential tools are damaged, that will cost you money. If your shelving doesn’t latch properly and things go flying around the cargo area, denting your van walls and even potentially hitting you or your employee, that’s going to cost you money as well.

We know your budget is important. When you talk to one of our experts, they can help you put together a package that stays within your budget yet still provides you with the durability and efficiency you need in your van shelving.

3. Don’t Overload the Van

Part of your preparation process includes knowing your van's payload capacity. Consider the weight of the shelving and then calculate how much payload you have left for tools, fuel, passengers and more. It’s tempting to bring everything you use with you on every job, just in case, but overloading your van with unnecessary or extra weight impacts its performance and its lifespan. Think of your van as your mobile store, not your mobile warehouse.

Talk to the experts at Advantage Outfitters to help you determine what your van can safely carry once it has a new shelving unit.

4. Don't Forget About Warranties

Van shelving may be a one-time purchase or at least an infrequent one. After you do your planning, consider the size of your cargo area, decide how you want to use that space and all the other things that go into preparation, you want to make sure that what you buy will last. So it’s critical you consider van shelving warranties and buy from a supplier who honors the manufacturer’s warranties on their products.

At Advantage Outfitters, we honor all manufacturer’s warranties on the products we sell, including Vantech, Prime Design, Legend Rubber and Ranger Design. If you have a problem with a shelving unit that is still under warranty, we will replace it. It is part of our effort to ensure you get the quality that you have paid for when you buy shelving from us.

5. Don't Ignore Customer Service and Support

An often-overlooked element to consider is customer service and support. When you have a problem, there are few things as frustrating as bad customer service. When you spend your money to buy a product, you want to know someone will be there to answer any questions you might have.

So when you’re looking for a van shelving supplier, talk to them about their customer service. Do they offer phone support or chat support? Everybody will want to talk to you before you make a purchase, but what about afterward? Check referrals on their website or ask them if you could speak to someone who’s purchased a racking system in the past.

Quality customer service and support is a huge component when you are considering purchasing van shelving.

6. Don't Forget About Shipping

Once you’ve purchased a van racking system, you probably can’t wait for it to get there so you can install it and start using it. You don’t want to wait for a week or two for your new shelving unit to leave the factory. Fast shipping is a huge plus so you can get your purchase quickly and start benefiting from the new organizational tools available for your van.

When you purchase a shelving unit from Advantage Outfitters, it will be shipped in 48 hours or less.

Get a Van Shelving System From Advantage Outfitters

Once you've prepared, and you know what you’re looking for in a van shelving unit, call the experts at Advantage Outfitters. We have van shelving units that work with a variety of models with different roof heights and wheelbase sizes. They will provide you with great storage benefits for your needs.

When you combine these factors with our excellent customer service, our fast shipping and our experienced and knowledgeable team of experts, working with Advantage Outfitters will give you the results you need in a timely fashion and at a fair price.

You can also check out our Price Match Guarantee and our Return/Exchange policies that we designed with the customer in mind.

You can call us at 1-866-925-4844 or browse our inventory online and order today or subscribe to our email list for exclusive offers.