Why it’s important to keep your truck clean

August 5, 2021 -  By

Most business owners know that organization and productivity go hand in hand. So, it’s no surprise that landscape contractors want to keep their trucks and trailers neat and orderly. Particularly during the busiest times of the year, having tools and equipment arranged in a systematic, accessible way can help crews work faster and more efficiently.

“Being organized not only looks professional, but it also saves time and money,” says Dan Doerr, director of new product development for Buyers Products, a truck equipment manufacturer in Mentor, Ohio. “Contractors can invest in their businesses by using professional tool carriers and choosing racks appropriate for what they need.”

Organization is a top priority at Shearon Environmental Design, says Zach Shearon, vice president of the $30 million company based in Plymouth Meeting, Pa.

Enclosed trailers keep equipment secure and allow crews to transport all of their equipment to every job site. (Photo courtesy of Emily Schappacher)

Enclosed trailers keep equipment secure and allow crews to transport all of their equipment to every job site. (Photo: Shearon Environmental Design)

“We are all about quality, efficiency and consistency,” says Shearon, adding that the company provides 50 percent maintenance, 30 percent design/build, and 20 percent specialty services, such as tree care and irrigation, to commercial clients. “Organization is an important pillar of that.”

Mobile office

Shearon says his firm prefers to use enclosed trailers, which help keep equipment safe and secure at each job site. Enclosed trailers also allow crews to carry all the equipment they will need for every job. Shearon says crews use the same trucks for the duration of the season and often organize them to best suit their needs.

“We try to keep things enclosed so there’s not a lot of equipment coming on and off — we don’t want to have to run for supplies throughout the day,” Shearon says. “Crews manage the same truck all season, so it serves as a type of mobile office for them.”

Each morning begins with a pretrip inspection to ensure crews have everything they need for the day. Shearon says crews then “demobilize” at the end of the day, cleaning waste out of the truck, adding tools for the next day’s jobs and fueling up.

“In the morning, we want to get rolling as soon as possible, so we prepare the night before,” Shearon says. “Everything has its place, and we encourage guys to put things back where they go throughout the day to make the demobilization process easier. Of course, some guys are neater than others.”

Custom fit

To keep things organized, Shearon has customized its trucks with features like tie-downs and chains to keep mowers and large machines in place, racks for items like fuel containers and storage bins for tools and small pieces of power equipment. Jeff Van de Motter, territory manager for Reading Equipment & Distribution, a truck equipment distributor in Bowmansville, Pa., says his company works with contractors to understand their needs and then creates custom organizational solutions for them.

For example, when Shearon converted some of its trucks to natural gas units, the team lost some storage space to accommodate the natural gas fuel tanks. So, Reading figured out a way to incorporate tool storage into the body of the truck itself. This has since become a standard feature in most of Shearon’s trucks. Van de Motter says the most common organization components contractors add to their trucks are toolboxes, storage compartments and tarp systems.

“Before customizing a truck, we like to visit the company and see how they work,” Van de Motter says. “The guys who work in the field usually have a lot of input about what they could use or what may not be working.”

Doerr agrees that companies can benefit from organizing their trucks and trailers in ways that best meet their team members’ needs.

“If contractors need every last inch of deck space for equipment, they can choose a rack that will give them that,” he says. “If they need security, they can choose a rack that will keep their equipment secure. At the end of the day, the peace of mind alone is worth it.”

About the Author:

Emily Schappacher is a freelance writer based in Cleveland.

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