If you don’t keep your own vehicle clean and organized, how will your clients and potential customers view your promises to clean their homes?
Yes, “organized” is not the same as “clean,” but clutter is not compatible when the message you want to convey is “clean.”
Not only does a well-organized cleaning or restoration van or truck make a favorable impression on your customers, it also makes it easier to keep the vehicle clean and to keep you and your technicians working efficiently.
Regardless of whether you work from a van, box truck or trailer, having “a place for everything and everything in its place” allows you to quickly find the tools or cleaning solutions necessary for each job.
In addition, you can determine with a quick glance if you have forgotten something when leaving the shop in the morning or are about to leave something behind as you prepare to leave the job site.
Based on what we see in some vans in the industry, keeping a work vehicle organized and uncluttered would seem like an impossible challenge. But, such does not have to be the case.
Select easy-to-clean surfaces
The interior of this box truck is proof that work vehicles can be clean, organized and uncluttered. The diamond plate walls are cleaned each week and they clean up easily. The carpeted floor is not difficult for a carpet cleaner to keep looking good, especially when it is cleaned regularly using tools that help reach tight places.
You may not see the need for a “show truck,” but choose easy-to-clean surfaces that keep moisture and pollution away from surfaces that can rust. There are several types of bed liners that fill this need very well.
A place for everything
You can also take advantage of several manufacturers’ offerings to help keep everything in its place. There are shelves for chemical bottles, holders designed to fit his sprayers, blocks, tabs and even wands and other tools.
Even when you think you have things organized, clutter seems to happen. You might compare it to a junk drawer you may have in your house. It keeps clutter out of sight. You can use that same concept in your van.
Notice modern installations that include drawers to hold soiled cleaning cloths, small items that could get lost bouncing around in the back of a van or anything else you want to keep out of your client’s view. If you implement such a system, you can keep everything in its place.
Make good use of space
Collecting new carpet cleaning tools or equipment for diversifying into related services is common for companies today. It is not long before it is evident more space is needed.
If you are buying a vehicle, consider the extended length van or even a box truck.
A well thought-out installation makes good use of whatever space is available. In this photo, notice how much space is remaining even after the truckmount and hose reels have been installed.
If a new and larger vehicle is not reasonable, be certain you are making best use of what might be wasted space. Some fresh water tanks installed into the van take up minimal space, such as fitting the tank over the wheel well or in the space around a hose reel. Tanks are also available that fit under a truckmount or with a console that fits between the driver’s and passenger seats. Both save space while helping balance the load.
There may also be potentially wasted space near the ceiling. Clamps or PVC tubes can be used to hold grooming tools or other items up and out of the way, but where can be easily reached.
A place for litter
Cleaning technicians who eat lunch while driving between jobs are common in our industry.
Empty soda cans and burger wrappers tumbling out as the driver exits the vehicle won’t make a positive impression on Mrs. Homeowner. Be sure you have a litter container that is easily accessible and emptied at the end of each day.
A bucket organizer or caddy of some type to keep all the standard small items together is helpful and also a time-saver. Your stain removal kit or favorite spotters, plastic tabs, foam blocks, a few clean towels, shoe covers and more can all be kept together in the truck, carry them in together and carry them out together.
Super straps and hose straps are nice for hanging a variety of stuff and keeping it tied together. Using straps to combine the lead sections of your vacuum and solution hoses can also save time when setting up a job. Mesh bags for carrying hoses are another option.
Most important of all is to have a scheduled time so that both the interior and exterior of vehicle and your tools get a quick cleaning each day.
You or your techs may be so tired at the end of the day that you just want to park and get home to shower and dinner. If so, allow time before your first appointment of the morning to take care of this necessary chore.
If you keep it clean, then you are doing maintenance cleaning and not a major restoration.
Scott Warrington has more than 40 years of experience in the carpet cleaning industry and related fields. He serves as the technical support specialist for Bridgepoint Systems and Interlink Supply. He can be contacted at ScottW@Bridgepoint.com.