Contractors do much of their work in the field with the customers they serve throughout what can be a large service area. To reliably reach your customers, you probably need a work truck. In addition to being reliable, clean, and generally capable of representing your business well, there are certain things your truck should have before it rolls out on your first service call. Here are some of the service truck must-haves for contractors working with the public.
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Service Truck Must-Haves
No matter what kind of work you do for your contracting business, there are some things every service truck should have. Some items are for basic safety and performance, some are for keeping in touch with dispatch, and others are more for making a day on the road pass more comfortably.
Many contractors work as part of a team. Even if you’re working on your own in the field, it’s generally a good idea to be reachable by dispatch and by other service trucks. To stay in contact, keep at least one fully charged radio and a battery in the truck. If you carry a smartphone, drop a charger into the dash compartment to top it off when you need to. If your truck has the room, or your company budget allows for it, consider also carrying a portable power supply or small solar generator to recharge your gear.
Lights And Flares
Your work as a contractor has the potential to keep you on the road well after dark. This is especially true in winter, when the sun sets early and road conditions may slow you down. Be prepared with at least one powerful flashlight and a supply of fresh batteries to keep it lit. Consider adding a smaller handheld light that can put out a strobe effect to get attention from passing motorists. If the state where you’re licensed doesn’t already require you to carry a box of road flares, think about investing in one anyway, in case you have to mark off a hazard in the road.
Remember to carry a decent spare tire and the gear you need to change a flat. Since fully functional tires are basic service truck must-haves, skip the donut tire and invest in a full-size replacement tire of the same make and size as the others on your vehicle. Not only does this look better, it allows you to finish out the day’s appointments on time and without obviously mismatched tires on your company-branded truck.
You might not be the one getting stuck in the mud and snow on a service call. If you spend enough time on the road, you’re bound to encounter a fellow motorist who could use your help. Be prepared for this with a set of jumper cables and possibly a portable jump kit. Many service trucks are powerful enough for light towing, which can make a set of tow cables come in handy for helping stuck motorists. Remember that stopping to help others in a company-branded truck is not just a good deed; it’s great advertising for your business.
First Aid And Injury Supplies
As a rule, every vehicle should carry a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, traction splint, sling, and other emergency medical supplies. A decent automated external defibrillator, which can help treat people having heart attacks, can also be very helpful and usually costs a few hundred dollars. Many items in a first aid setup take training to use effectively in a crisis, so consider signing up for a first aid class before you need to use any of the gear you carry. Don’t forget to include at least one emergency blanket or a rolled-up sleeping bag, in case you have to spend the night somewhere.
Job-Specific Truck Essentials
Apart from the basics every service truck must have, your own work truck should carry the tools and materials you need for the job you’ve been dispatched to do. Only you know which tools you’re likely to need for a given job and which ones you most want to have with you in the field. That said, it’s always a good idea to keep the tools you need most, especially if they’re your own personal property, in a portable toolbox you can move from one truck to another, in case your regular vehicle isn’t available for the day.
If the work you do requires a uniform or protective gear, it might help to carry a spare set with you in the service truck. While you might never need it, it can be a great help to have a spare set of boots, work pants, or coveralls if the ones you’re wearing get muddy or dirty, torn, or contaminated with a chemical you’re exposed to.
Branding Materials For Your Service Truck
Driving around your service area creates a great opportunity to advertise yourself to the community and grow your business. More than a few jobs have been booked when a member of the public just happened to bump into a contractor in the field. To be sure you’re ready to sell your services effectively, pack some business cards and other promotional materials in your truck.
Getting Your Service Truck Ready To Roll
It takes a lot of work to get a service truck ready for work, but it can also be a lot of fun. As long as you have room in your truck, there’s almost no end to the useful gear you can carry with you on the job. Above all, remember that your safety, comfort, and ability to do your job are all dependent on the tools and supplies and other service truck must-haves you carry with you on the road.
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