Friday, March 15, 2013

Landscaping Truck and Trailer Tips

How to create an efficient truck or trailer for your lawn care equipment

Whether your landscaping business is conducted out of the back of a truck or a fleet of enclosed trailers, we have a few tips designed to optimize your equipment space, keep your equipment secure and organized for quick storage and removal.

Truck Only

Many landscaping businesses start out working from the back of a truck. Some may own a commercial utility truck, but the focus of these tips will be on traditional residential trucks with a standard flatbed.

Cover Your Equipment

Whether you choose a camper for your truck, or a tonneau-style cover, it’s a good idea to cover your truck bed. This not only protects your tools from the rain, it can also keep your equipment safely locked away while your crew is working.

Install a Chest or Cargo Net

For smaller items that can roll around in transit (gas cans, motor oils, packages of trimmer line, etc.), secure them with the use of a cargo net or storage chest. Storing these items together keeps your truck bed organized and lowers the potential for spills.

Use a Truck Bed Liner

Working out of the back of your truck can be demanding on your truck bed. By using a truck bed liner, you can help prevent scratches and keep your truck looking professional on the job.

Install Tie Down Anchors

Many modern trucks already feature tie down anchors inside the truck bed. If not, you can purchase these anchors and have them installed. This will make securing your lawn care equipment or materials (topsoil, sand, mulch, etc.) much easier, and more secure during transit. Always make sure that your tie down strap or rope is rated for the weight you are securing

Open Trailer

If you tow an open trailer for your equipment, there are a few common tips to consider that will help extend the life of your trailer and help you get to the items you need, faster.

Install Utility Racks

Install lockable racks for your trimmers, hand tools, backpack blowers, gas cans and more. These racks free up valuable floor space and make it easier for your crew to quickly access the items they use more often. Racks also make securing your equipment faster and easier than individual tie-downs.

Install a Trimmer Line Spool

Save time and space by installing a trimmer line spool directly on your trailer rail. Instead of carrying around multiple packages of trimmer line, your crew can quickly grab what they need and continue their work.

Keep the Gate Clear

Do not mount equipment on the lift gate or directly between a gate and riding lawnmower. Keeping these areas clear will make loading and unloading the trailer quicker and reduce the chance of damaging equipment.

Mount a Toolbox

Store smaller items, such as motor oil, hand tools and misc. parts in a mounted toolbox. These are a great way to keep your items protected, secure and organized.

Enclosed Trailers

Enclosed trailers have many advantages over open trailers: They are more protected from the elements, more secure against thieves, and the sides can be wrapped with graphics to advertise your business. There are trade-offs, however, including heavier weight, less ventilation and less convenient loading/unloading. With the right organization, some of these negatives can be mitigated.

Store Gas and Oils Neatly

Because enclosed trailers lack the same ventilation as open trailers, it is critically important that you store gas and oils properly to avoid fumes and spills. Keep all gasoline in Type I or Type II safety cans (as defined by OSHA and Underwriters Laboratories). Secure all gas cans away from power equipment and as near as possible to a ventilation source. Use containers with spill-resistant nozzles and ensure all caps are completely sealed prior to transit. To help reduce unnecessary fuel handling, clearly mark your fuel containers (premixed fuel, diesel, etc.) to reduce the amount of guesswork your crew has to do when fueling equipment. And at all times, adhere to these gasoline safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association.

Install a Roof Bracket for Ladders

Ladders take up a lot of space. You can free up a lot of trailer space by mounting your ladders to the roof of your trailer.

Organize the Inside Economically

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to keep your equipment organized. If your trailer walls are plywood, you can use most closet organizers to store items, such as gloves, trimmer line, oil containers and more. Use a standing toolbox to store smaller items such as hand tools, parts, and protective apparel. The more items you can store on the trailer walls, the easier it will be to access and use equipment on the trailer floor. But it may be wise to check with your trailer’s manufacturer before hanging things on the walls.

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