Business van advice: PETER McSEAN
IF ALL the racking accessories were laid end to end around the world, two-thirds of them would float away.
Or so it would seem. If you want something, it probably exists. And if it doesn’t, there’ll be someone who’ll make it for you. At a price.
Ah yes, price. With a fully bespoke system, you can rack up costs as quickly as you rack out the van.
Even the price of modular ones can soon add up. So you need to keep your business head on when browsing through the available options.
The DIY route
One option, of course, is to do it yourself. But think long and hard about this route. On the face of it, it might seem cost-effective, but the reality is often different. Factor in the time it will take you – to acquire the materials, plan it out, build the racking, fit it into the van, paint it, tweak it and so on.
However skilled you are, it’s sure to take longer than you expect. And time is money. Especially if your van’s off the road while you’re fitting it out. DIY racking is unlikely to be as fit for purpose, or durable, as a modular off-the-shelf solution, too.
If you’re set on the DIY route, be careful with the painting – it’s surprising how many DIY van fitters end up with a fume-induced trip to hospital. Above all, make sure the racking is totally safe; that it and the stuff it holds is secure; and that it distributes weight evenly in the load bay.
Safety must be your primary concern with racking, whether you fit it yourself or call in an expert. The best racking systems, for instance, have passed the rigorous ECE-R 17 crash test.
We recommend that you talk over your options with your local van dealer, lease company or specialist racking firm, who will know all about crash test regs, weight distribution, approved installation and so on.
How will you use it?
Quiz your employees about how they use the van before you order anything. You don’t want your operatives having to return to the van throughout the day for, say, screws, tools or connectors because you failed to order removable containers.
Good racking fitters will be able to suggest clever solutions for the way you use the van. They’ll also come up with a computer simulation of the racking design for your approval before they fit it.
No small business wants a van out of commission when it could be working. Van racking specialists know this and will fit it at a time that suits you. Overnight fitting or at weekends is common. Many will collect the van, fit it out and then return it to you. Depending on the scope of the job, they may even be able to fit the racking while you’re on site, working. Either way, it’s better business van management and a smarter, safer and more secure option than DIY.