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What’s In Your Truck?

Carrying the right equipment can save you a lot of time and money. Here’s a list of what’s in my truck.

January 10, 2019

Having just the right tool or part to solve an unexpected issue is one of the most satisfying aspects of having a carefully stocked truck. Stopping on the job for a missing item is not only annoying, it can significantly cut profitably.

Over nearly four decades in the remodeling business, I’ve collected all sorts of things I carry “just in case.” Although I don’t wear the tool belt anymore, I find I have opportunities to use them frequently on personal hands-on projects. My business has grown to where the workload requires three project managers and a large trade base, but I still get a thrill when I can quickly produce that unusually sized set-screw to finish a towel bar installation, or a basin wrench when the plumber has forgotten his that day.

The types of items you carry and how many of each you need depend on your role in the company: If you’re a lead carpenter working on jobsites every day, you’ll carry a lot more than a business owner who no longer does hands-on work.

The following is an inventory of the supplies in my own truck. You’ll have some of these items around already, but others are tricks I’ve picked up thanks to years on the job. Keeping these things nearby not only improves day-to-day production and workflow, but also prepares you for construction and medical emergencies.

About the Author

About the Author

Dan Bawden, a 30-plus-year veteran of the home improvement industry, is the president and CEO of Houston-based Legal Eagle Contractors, and is also the 2017 National Association of Homebuilders Remodelers chairman. 



Great list.. dont forget about business tools too..

A laptop with files/estimates/contracts or even a good old fashioned cost book.

Yes - a sturdy accordion file with all the client files you need that day is a great idea. Our projects are administered on BuilderTrend but my Project Managers still carry paper files with a copy of the signed contract, change orders etc. in case the client wants to see them.

I'd like to hear more ideas from other remodelers about what we should be carrying. Chime in!

I have a similar background and years in the business as Dan. I actually liquidated my remodeling business 5 years ago and 'semi retired' but continued doing estimating for another company. well, COVID put this company out of business this year so I'm back to contracting, specializing in Passive House projects, but I'm getting a second crack at setting up an entire business again.

In trying to 'correct' mistakes from the past and improve on process and procedures I've come up with what I feel is a pretty good truck (actually I also went with a high top van) pack. In addition to the list Dan has ( a good solid list) I also carry a host of 'specialty tools' that even my supervisory staff isn't expected to have. A few of those are;

A transit and a powerful outdoor laser-You'd be surprised how often one of these tools save time on a project.
A 6' to 10' expandable plate level
A tile layout laser
A distance laser
Several powerful LED floodlights
A thermal imaging camera (best marketing tool I've ever owned!)
A roll of Grace self adhesive underlayment
HUNDREDS of different fasteners (THESE are real money savers!)
Spare safety glasses and respirators (the guys get one provided but are required to have them at all times)
A host of snacks and water bottles. I can't tell you how many times someone forgot their lunch!
Several different sized bottle jacks
Screw jacks (lolly columns)

This is just the additional stuff to what Dan wrote about. My guys call my van my 'bag of tricks' because I'm always pulling exactly what's needed from it!

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