HVAC Work Van Organization Ideas to Improve Tech Efficiency

Stephanie FigySeptember 17th, 2020
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When your HVAC techs perform work out in the field, their company vehicle serves as their home base—making creative HVAC van setup ideas a crucial aspect of maximizing tech efficiency and organization. 

An HVAC work van or truck stores all of the tools and resources your team needs while on the job. It needs to be kept tidy to keep techs safe and productive, so they’re always ready for the next job.

ServiceTitan knows this, which is why we spoke to various HVAC pros about the HVAC van setup ideas they regularly use to improve their technicians’ efficiency.

The Basics of HVAC Van Organization

The best HVAC companies make van organization and cleanliness part of their overall philosophy. For example, at Nice Home Services in Springfield, Va., management wanted technicians to not only feel pride in their truck organization, but know that a rigorous practice of tidiness and efficiency ties directly to job performance.

"We make our team treat their truck like it's their office," says Fredy Trinidad, Training Manager at Nice Home Services. "And if you want to get work done in an office, it can't be a cluttered, dirty office."

Foundational practices of good van/truck upkeep include:

  • Create a numbered rack-and-bin system, or color-coded HVAC van shelving.

  • Check tire pressure and odometer readings on a weekly basis.

  • Encourage regularly scheduled cleanouts to keep vehicles tidy.

  • Keep an inventory list on each individual work van.

  • Conduct weekly fleet inspections.

  • Complete weekly spot inventories on all trucks.

  • Do a thorough inventory on a quarterly basis.

Of course, every shop operates differently, so you should tailor your van and truck upkeep policies to meet the specific needs and goals of your business. Adopting vigilant practices like the HVAC van organization ideas above, however, help keep your fleet of vans and trucks operational, and your team ready to service customers.

HVAC Van Setup Ideas 

Ultimately, your team of technicians must take responsibility for the organization, tidiness, and inventory of their HVAC van or box truck. The HVAC businesses we interviewed use the following methods to ensure technicians stay invested in keeping their company vehicle ready for whatever job comes their way.

Marketing Billboard on Wheels

"I think what really changed our technicians' mindset is the idea that their truck is a marketing tool. So they know that when … they have their doors open in a neighborhood when they're working on a job, and a lot of people are walking their dog or walking by and see a truck full of trash, that's not a good image for the company."

— Dominic Durbin, Tiger Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning & Electrical Service

Racking Up Tech Incentive Points

“We have a scoring system so that for different stuff technicians do, they get points, and then get rewards from the points … and keeping their trucks clean and organized is one of the ways (they) can earn the points. We'll give out gift cards and different stuff. Sometimes, it might be a day off work. Employees can just accumulate the points and later cash them in for whatever they want.”

— Mike Hudson, Nice Home Services

Seasoned HVAC Technicians

"I have three (technicians) who are 62 years old. So, they've been doing this a long time and it's very hard to get them to change the way they do things. They say, 'You know I like my truck this way,' or 'I like having all these parts,' or 'I like having stuff organized this way,' you know? They do provide their own inventory lists to our warehouse person to restock before they go out every morning, but we do not have our own formal system for that."

— Chris Hill, Dick Hill and Son Heating & Air

A Closer Look at HVAC Truck Inventory

Every shop, tech, and job comes with its own specific needs and tools to best serve the customer. That said, HVAC professionals keep some tried-and-true tools on their truck at all times to stay prepared and safe.

HVAC Personal Protection Equipment (PPE):

  • Goggles

  • Hard hat

  • Gloves

  • Arm protectors

  • Face masks and respirator

  • Knee pads

  • First aid kit

Hand Tools for HVAC Jobs:

  • Torch sets

  • Wrench sets

  • Wire strippers

  • Battery-operated drills

  • Caulk gun

Professional HVAC Essentials:

  • Vacuum gauge

  • Anemometer

  • Clamp meter

  • Vacuum pumps

  • Refrigerant scales

  • Recovery machines

  • Recovery cylinders

  • Leak detector

Tools of the Skilled Trades:

  • Ladder

  • Flashlights

  • Extension cords

  • Digital multimeter

  • Electrical testers

  • Levels

HVAC Storage Ideas

With the number of HVAC tools required for most jobs, plus space to haul large equipment such as water heaters and furnaces, efficient HVAC storage proves crucial. Outfit your service vehicle with HVAC van shelving to optimize the interior. HVAC van shelving options include ladder racks, drawers, tool boxes, locked cabinets, and more.

Before buying an expensive shelving system, take stock of what tools your techs keep in their trucks and how often they use them. Perhaps they need horizontal racks to hold HVAC van tool boxes, but a locking vertical shelf to which they can affix appliances. When it comes to storage ideas, HVAC van shelving systems come in fully customizable pieces you can mix and match to fit any HVAC service van fleet. 

Best HVAC Service Vehicle

The best HVAC van setup ideas in the world won't matter if you don't have the right vehicle for your team. Let's look at some of the trucks and vans our customers trust to get their HVAC technicians to and from job sites.

Fits in Tight Places: The Nissan NV200® COMPACT CARGO

“Nissan NV200s are very efficient on gas and ideal for the city because they’re smaller.”

— Mike Hudson and Fredy Trinidad, Nice Home Services

The Nice Home Services squad serves customers throughout Springfield and its surrounding communities, which means their trucks must be ready for all kinds of driving and parking situations—from sleepy suburban areas to busier urban centers where major highways converge.

While the NV200 works well for efficient city driving and parking, its compact size means it doesn’t offer enough horsepower to deal with unfriendly winter weather. Fortunately, Virginia doesn’t get (too many) snowstorms.

Customized for Comfort: The Ford Transit Cargo Van

"We put special bodies on the back that have lift gates, so that way we save on back injuries and things like that. We're the only (HVAC business) I've ever seen around here that have them."

— Chris Hill, Dick Hill and Son Heating & Air

Dick Hill and Son Heating & Air uses a combination of traditional vans and high-roof Ford Transit Cargo Vans—the latter of which they use specifically for installs. However, they also install lift gates on the back to help technicians load and unload heavy pieces of equipment.

The high-roof models also allow techs to stand up straight while in the back, which means they don’t need to hunch or crawl around when accessing tools and working to keep things organized. According to Chris Hill, the wraps they put on their vehicles also serve as roaming billboards for the company, which the team likes.

Reliability at a Savings: The Ford® Transit-250 Cargo Van

"Why not GMC or Mercedes, or whatever other types of cargo vans are out there? Well, primarily because of the rebates and incentives we get through our distributors, and through our best practices groups. And, of course, the long-standing relationship we have with Ford."

— Dominic Durbin, Tiger Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning & Electrical Services

Dominic Durbin and his team at Tiger Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning & Electrical Services tried a number of different truck models over the years, but now rely heavily on Ford’s Transit-250 Cargo Van—specifically the mid-roof model. This gives them the proper amount of space to transport large HVAC equipment to customers’ homes. By sticking with Ford, Tiger says they receive savings and perks from Service Nation, Trane, Goodman, and other organizations they rely on to do business.

HVAC Work Van Organization Ideas for Paperwork

Remember what Fredy Trinidad at Nice Home Services says about encouraging techs to think about their trucks as offices—the place they come every day to get work done? Well, every office must tackle organizing paperwork as part of a day’s work. 

If you've been working in the HVAC industry for any amount of time, you know the front seat of a tech’s van can quickly become littered with work orders, receipts, estimates, order forms, and other important documents your company relies on to close out jobs and keep financial records accurate.

With ServiceTitan Mobile, HVAC professionals can say goodbye to the old days of treating their work vehicle like a filing cabinet. Instead, the ServiceTitan mobile app allows shops to upload customized forms—anything from work orders and estimates to inspection checklists—so techs can access them remotely with a simple tap or swipe on a tablet. Managers can even set up the software so certain job types trigger specific digital forms, giving forgetful techs helpful prompts to eliminate missing or incorrect paperwork.

When it comes to collecting customer payments, ServiceTitan HVAC software handles that, too. With point-of-sale payment and signature capture, everything from invoices to a customer’s check or credit card information gets processed digitally and securely—not crumpled up under the seat of a company van.

The cloud-based ServiceTitan platform ensures all information gets saved and can easily be retrieved … even if something unfortunate happens to a technician's tablet out in the field.

Your HVAC Van Setup Checklist

To wrap up, let’s break everything down into a single handy HVAC van organization checklist:

  • Establish a company philosophy. Your team will better adhere to helpful HVAC van setup ideas if they know those practices lead to improved performance. Enforce policies that make sense for your business—and consider rewarding team members who meet your established standards.

  • Stay stocked and ready. Every shop employs a different method for maintaining an HVAC van inventory list and ensuring their technicians stay stocked with what they need on a daily basis. Do regular checks for all of the essential tools and equipment, and make techs accountable for organization and restocking.

  • Choose the best HVAC service vehicle. Every work truck or van offers strengths and weaknesses—what features will benefit your team and HVAC service business the most? Choose a fleet vehicle that not only meets the needs of your technicians, but also represents a valuable, long-term investment for your HVAC company.

  • Find a paperless HVAC software solution. The right cloud-based field service software can transform how your team stays organized, inside the company vans as well as in the main office. ServiceTitan Mobile helps HVAC professionals cut down on major messes and inefficiencies, while securely capturing and storing necessary documentation for every job.

ServiceTitan is a comprehensive HVAC business software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and achieve growth. Our award-winning, cloud-based platform is trusted by more than 100,000+ contractors across the country.

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