Upfitting your van is an excellent way to improve efficiency, organization and safety. You can install a range of products to upfit your vans, such as shelving, storage accessories, partitions, flooring and roofing equipment. You can even customize your upfit to achieve the best results.
There are many benefits of upfitting your work van. Developing an upfitting plan ensures the process goes smoothly, reducing your downtime and allowing you to make the most out of your van without falling into any common upfitting mistakes. Learn how to upfit a van in this guide.
What Is Vehicle Upfitting?
Upfitting refers to making modifications to a vehicle and customizing it so it fulfills a specific purpose. A van upfitter offers different equipment and accessories to help you modify your van, such as shelving, flooring and organizers.
Many tradespeople upfit their vans to help improve their organization, efficiency and safety. Upfitting can help create more space for your tools, make it easier to access equipment on the job and create a comfortable and safe space for workers.
Multiple industries and trades benefit from upfitting their vans, including:
A van upfit aims to improve your bottom line while you take care of your workers and the community you serve.
All of these industries also have numerous van models to choose from, which will make a significant difference once they start looking for upfitting equipment. Some vans you can choose from or might already own include:
- Mercedes Metris
- Mercedes Sprinter
- Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana
- RAM ProMaster
- RAM ProMaster City
- Ford Transit
- Ford Transit Connect
- Nissan NV
The type of vans your business owns or plans to buy will determine what type of upfitting equipment you purchase. You want to ensure your upfitting equipment is custom-fit for your van’s make and model, allowing you to utilize all of your space efficiently for your specific trade. You don’t want to buy a shelving unit meant for a Ford Transit only to find that it’s too large for your Mercedes Metris, especially since their cargo space capacity is different. Always look for types of vehicle upfitting equipment that are custom-fit to your specific van model.
Different Types of Vehicle Upfitting
When you’re upfitting your vehicle, you have many options. The different ways you can upfit a van include:
- Shelving: Shelving units help improve storage within your van, creating a space for bins, cabinets and shelves where you can store your tools, cargo and other equipment. An organized van improves your efficiency since workers can find what they need quickly and save space, allowing you to fit more necessary equipment within your van. High-quality shelves are durable, customizable and quiet, so your workers can drive with limited distractions.
- Flooring: Van flooring is an excellent foundation to help increase traction within your cargo area, protecting workers from slips and falls. High-quality flooring is also durable, protecting your investment from wear and tear, water, chemicals and other potential damage. Flooring creates a professional look, helping improve your brand appearance with workers and your community.
- Panels: Wall liners or panels help transport your items while reducing damage to your van. They provide insulation, helping you maintain adequate climate control within your van while protecting your tools and equipment. Panels also have a noise-deadening effect, allowing your workers to drive with minimal distractions. Lightweight wall, door and ceiling liners work best because they have little impact on fuel efficiency.
- Partitions and dividers: Installing partitions or dividers creates a barrier between your cargo and cabin areas, protecting your workers from loose equipment or tools that could risk their safety if they stop quickly or get into an accident. Partitions also increase climate control abilities in the cabin area while dampening noise, improving worker comfort and safety.
- Roof equipment: Roof racks add additional storage space for ladders or other cargo, making it easier to access and transport these items. Roof equipment enables you to save time, which is valuable on the job and helps you save money.
- Accessories: You have numerous accessories to choose from when upfitting your van to help you make the most of your work vehicle. Some products you can choose from include interior lighting, running boards, rear steps, cabinets, drawers, hooks and bottle holders.
Choose any combination of upfitting equipment to make the most of your trade or work van. A van upfitter can help you find the right equipment and accessories to improve your efficiency, safety and storage.
Benefits of Van Upfitting
There are many advantages of installing upfitting equipment in your work or trade van, such as:
- Safety: The security of your workers is crucial to your business. You can help keep your employees safe by utilizing upfitting equipment like partitions to keep items in your cargo area secure and your driver safe while they move from one place to the next. High-quality flooring also helps improve worker safety by increasing traction and preventing slips or falls.
- Organization: Upfitting presents an excellent opportunity to organize your van with various types of equipment, including shelving units, cabinets, hooks and bottle holders. An organized work van ensures you always have what you need and don’t waste any trips to retrieve additional supplies, cutting down your turnaround times.
- Efficiency: An organized van boosts efficiency since workers don’t have to spend unnecessary time looking for tools or equipment. Using the right accessories allows workers to access what they need the moment they need it, allowing them to perform their work more efficiently.
- Productivity: Using organizational upfitting equipment in your work vans allows workers to be more productive on the job. Utilizing this equipment also shows that you’re showing a high level of attention to your employees’ work, which can attract more highly qualified candidates for open positions.
- Professionalism: When customers see that your van is upfitted and organized, they’ll see that you’re a professional with expertise and experience in your trade, making them more likely to work with you again and again.
- Customization: Upfitting allows you to customize your van to your needs and trade, whether you’re an electrician, plumber, HVAC technician or other trade professional.
- Protection: Upfitting equipment can help keep your tools secure, protecting them from sustaining damage in transit or the field. Protecting your equipment is essential — these items are the tools and investments of your trade and allow you to continue doing your important work.
- Ergonomics: Upfitting equipment can prevent workers from having to strain or bend too often, lessening the tool work takes on their bodies. Drawers, shelving units and other upfitting equipment make it easier for workers to access what they need.
Upfitting your van takes your work to the next level, allowing your workers to complete their jobs efficiently and safely. You can improve turnaround times and increase revenue, helping you excel as a business.
The Upfitting Process
Modify your cargo van by following the steps below:
1. Evaluate Your Vehicle
The first step is determining what your vehicle needs. You may have a lot of loose equipment that takes too long to access while you’re on the job. Your cargo and cabin areas may mesh together, leaving your workers vulnerable to loose equipment and tools in the event of a hard stop or accident. Evaluate your vehicle to determine what you’re missing so you know what to look for when you start shopping for upfitting equipment.
2. Determine the Solution
Now that you know what you’re missing, create a list of items to help you solve those problems. If you have loose equipment or tools lying around in your cargo area, you could benefit from shelving units and storage containers. You can install a partition or divider if there’s no separation between your cargo and cabin areas. If you’re unsure of the best solution, you could always talk to a professional upfitter for guidance.
Consider your industry and your day-to-day operations here. If you’re in the carrier or delivery industry, consider deep fold-away shelves that can hold hundreds of pounds and bulky items. If you’re in electric or plumbing and have various fittings and fasteners to keep track of, storage drawers can keep you organized.
3. Shop Online or Visit a Showroom
Once you have your list of what you need, it’s time to shop for upfitting equipment and accessories. You can shop with a trusted upfitter online, get it from a dealer or go to a showroom near you. Browse by your vehicle’s make and model to get the right components for your van.
4. Install the Equipment
Once you receive your products, you can install them. Upfitters like Advantage Outfitters offer products that are easy to install, reducing your downtime so you can continue to make revenue. Once your upfitting equipment and accessories are installed, you can continue to do the vital work that benefits your community and business.
Advantage Outfitter’s customer-centric vision allows us to help you choose a van shelving solution that’s best for your industry and commercial vehicle model. Start the conversation with us today on how we can be your partner in upfitting your Ford Transit.
Upfitting Mistakes to Avoid
You want your van upfit to go smoothly, ensuring you choose the right parts for the job and reduce downtime. Some mistakes in commercial upfitting could compromise your efficiency and productivity — be aware of them so you can avoid them when you start your upfitting journey. Some common mistakes include the following:
- Focusing on price over quality: If you’re working with a budget, it can be challenging to focus on anything but the price. However, the cheapest option usually means that the materials aren’t high-quality and won’t last nearly as long as a product with high-quality materials. You’ll likely have to replace cheap products sooner, costing you more than if you went with the high-quality option first. The most affordable option also rarely comes with all the additions and features you need, making it more challenging to boost the efficiency of your work.
- Not knowing your van: Before you upfit your van, know the exact specs. For example, knowing your maximum weight capacity is crucial if you’re going to be adding new equipment to your vehicle. You should also know how to balance the weight in your van. You can always look at your manual or look up your vehicle specs online to ensure you have all the information you need before buying upfitting equipment. Professional upfitters can also suggest solutions to suit your needs and your van’s specs.
- Failing to get input from your team: It’s essential to get feedback from your workers about what they need and what would work best for them while on the job. While you may have one idea about how to upfit your fleet, your workers may need something specific to make their work more efficient, such as cabinets, drawers or hooks. Seeking input from your workers will prevent you from purchasing something that your team doesn’t need, allowing you to upfit your van efficiently.
- Choosing stock options rather than customized: While stock options can be a good place to start, you want to choose upfit equipment specific to your van. You don’t want to purchase shelving units only to find they don’t fit perfectly with your van. Look for an upfitter that separates products by vehicle so you can find items customized to the size and specs of your van, helping you complete a custom upfit that will suit your needs.
- Failing to standardize your fleet: If you’ve decided that you want to upfit your van fleet, it’s best to standardize your fleet rather than making each one unique. In some cases, having non-standardized vehicles in your fleet can make it more challenging for workers to complete their jobs efficiently, especially if they regularly switch vehicles. Non-standardized fleets can also increase maintenance, acquisition and design costs. Some vans may even become unusable in some parts of your business if they’re not standardized with others in your fleet.
Now that you know the process of upfitting your van and the mistakes to avoid, you’re ready to start looking for customized upfitting equipment to bring your business to the next level. Your upfit can help you get your company closer to peak efficiency, allowing you to complete jobs faster while generating more revenue.
As long as you have a strategy in place and keep in mind the above pitfalls, your upfitting venture can become a success. You can even speak with a professional upfitter at Advantage Outfitters if you have any questions or need some guidance on the best upfitting equipment for your specific van model. They can also help you create a proactive plan to upfit your vans as quickly as possible while boosting productivity and reducing downtime and lost revenue.
Contact Advantage Outfitters or Visit One of Our Showrooms
Advantage Outfitters is here to help you with all of your upfitting needs. We offer numerous products, including shelving units, partitions, dividers, liners, flooring, roof equipment and accessories. We are a one-stop commercial van outfitter located in New York and New Jersey, and we can help you find upfitting solutions at one of our showrooms. Contact us today to arrange a visit!
You can also shop our products online, where we make shopping simple by arranging all of our upfits by vehicle. Simply choose the model of your van and browse the list or products that fit your vehicle. Our staff can provide you with technical assistance and help you find whatever you need or answer any questions you may have. We can also ship within 48 hours, helping you reduce your downtime and get back on the road. Try Advantage Outfitters today to see why we’re leaders in the upfitting industry!
At Our Commercial Van
Advantage Outfitters is a one-stop commercial upfitter, transforming vehicles into work-ready service tools. Our customers include contractors, trade fleets, utilities, municipalities, vehicle dealers, and leasing companies.
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Advantage Outfitters, LLC
255 West Street South Hackensack, NJ 07606
Long Island | 107 E. Hawthorne Ave. Valley Stream, NY 11580