Work Van Shelving – Get Organized and Efficient
Bott SMARTVAN Van Rack and Storage Solution
I’m a big believer in modular storage and tool organization. It saves time and is, as important as the tools, that are used to get the job done. A lot of contractors don’t consider time wasted looking for tools and accessories in their trucks and vans. As contractors we need to think about tool storage and organization as a system but also an investment. Last year, I installed and reviewed the bott Smartvan racking and storage system in my Sprinter van. One year later we’re still enjoying it, and I decided to outfit my new Pro Master van with the same system.
Why I like the bott Smartvan System
My decision to use the bott Smartvan racking, and storage system in this van is based on seven things:
- It’s a DIY with no drilling required.
- The system is lighter, more compact, and takes up way less room than competitor shelves or homemade plywood shelves.
- Its all-metal frames are strong, robust, and crash tested.
- The organization is FLEXIBLE. By flexible I mean I can move, relocate, switch out or change anything I want to suit my storage needs and workflow.
- The smaller-sized, lighter bott Systainer3 boxes have forced me to focus on the efficiency of design and space. I keep those boxes tight!
- I’m now more organized.
- The system is eye-catching! It looks neat, organized, and professional to my clients.
Bott Smartvan is a German company that is now available in the US market. They design and manufacture a wide range of storage and mobile working options and you can design your own custom system with their online configurator on their website. They’ve recently got into making van partitions and partition wall storage systems – something I’d like to learn more about.
So, look, if you haven’t taken the time to analyze your workflow and look at how efficient your tool storage is … you should.
The bott Smartvan shelf rack system is a fully customizable storage system that comes with vehicle-specific mounting brackets. It is designed to be installed as a DIY project and doesn’t require drilling into the vehicle frame. This no-drill mounting means you are causing zero damage to your vehicle. Once the frame is installed you simply mount the drawer or toolbox shelf rails into the frame at the different heights and depths within the frames in a configuration of your choice.
The shelving system is compatible with the bott Systainer3 storage boxes but also has shelves that fit other manufacturer toolboxes if you choose to go that route.
Typically, the first month or so after I mount the bott Smartvan system I find myself moving things around to suit a particular workflow. For example, I placed many of my “most-used,” tools closer to the rear door so I could grab them without having to step up into the van.
Sleek Looking – Matching Tool Kits and Shelves
As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to use the bott Smartvan Systainer boxes, because having a matching system like this, is sleek and professional looking. The final product gets a verbal response of “wow” or “that’s clean looking,” compliment from everyone that sees my vans shelf system. Those comments from folks can be simply translated into this statement: “I care about my tools, as much as the work I do. You’re in good hands!”
bott Smartvan | Crash Tested
The bott Smartvan has been crash tested to comply with Regulation No 17 of the Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations (EU ECE R17) This regulation concerns the approval of vehicles regarding the seats, their anchorages, and any head restraints.
Labeling Tool and Accessories
It seems silly but labeling my drawers and boxes has allowed my crew and me faster access to tools and supplies. I’d love to know how much time is saved over a year because we no longer must open and investigate 210 drawers to find a particular item, I have a simple label maker and made labels for all the bott Smartvan drawers, boxes, and shelves effectively creating a 100% labeled tool storage system.
For most projects, I end up bringing the entire toolbox into the job site either carrying it or by using the 4-wheel bott dolly. The dolly works great for rolling a tower of tools clicked together.
Building A Charging Station
I have a shoreline plug on the rear and an external van wall, this plug feeds an internal power strip that allows me to plug into power and charge my batteries at night. It also allows me to keep a hot box in my truck in the winter to prevent caulking and glues from freezing.
To mount ALL my chargers to the Perfo panel, I need a wider and longer option. I found the Perfo panel a bit small and would like to see it offered in a larger, longer configuration. Bott Smartvan does make Perfo panels that mount inside the shelf racks, and I was thinking of using a non-ferrous blade to cut and modify them to fit on the end of my shelf rack.
Under the charging station, I will mount battery clips from Stealth Mount under the charger for quick and easy access without entering the van.
At my side door, I plan on mounting my track saw track to the Perfo panel. Fast cap makes a track saw hanging kit that mounts perfectly to the Perfo Panel. I will note that bott Smartvan does not approve of field modifications like this because it is not crash-test certified. I do know they’re looking into the Perfo panel’s compatibility with mounting chargers.
bott Smartvan | Cost
So, how much does the bott Smartvan system cost? This is one of the most asked questions on the item I review. Which makes sense. If you’re going to invest in a van racking system, it’s crucial to understand what you’re getting for your money, what costs extra, and what the ongoing costs and savings might look like.
The average cost starts around $4000 and goes up depending on what you purchase, remember this is a 100% custom and flexible system. You certainly get what you pay for, which is a smart, well-designed tool storage system. A system that simplifies the protection, storage, and transportation of tools and accessories, resulting in you spending more time working, and less time searching.
Modular organizers are designed to allow for better and more secure storage, better organization, and easier mobility.
Thoughts On the bott Smartvan System
The system was easy to install and goes together like an erector set, for adults! Plus, I felt good knowing that its safer and way more secure than plywood shelves, some bolts, and self-tappers!
Because the boxes are smaller than my prior system it forced me to reevaluate what I really needed and what could be stored in the shop. Additionally, the drawers allowed me to create accessory support storage for my tools. For example, one rack has a drawer with all my finished nailers stowed inside, complete with all the different-sized fasteners I use with that tool. This eliminated my having to search in multiple locations for the tool and fasteners.
I placed the heaviest boxes and drawers center of the van’s axle, low to the floor, and put my least used tools in the very front of the van which is where I store my ladders. Because these tools are accessed the least, I did not mind blocking them with stepladders.
I put a lot of thought into the toolbox and drawer placement. The rear, right side of the van has a vertical row of toolboxes that I reach for on almost every job. I also used the bott Smartvan organizer trays to make supporting accessories boxes. For example, I have a Systainer3 for my impact drivers. In that box is 2 impact drivers and the fastening accessories that I use the most. In the organizer box are the lesser used, but related accessories, some of them are used so infrequently but when you need it, you need it. Those items go in the accessory organizer.
One thing my guys and I noticed immediately was that we gained more center aisle space, in fact, I’m sure we more than doubled the space we had. This makes moving around inside the van easier, as well as allows us to carry bulky materials or tools to a job site if needed.
bott Smartvan Conclusion
Look, guys, in the residential remodeling and construction world job sites are busy, hectic arenas, with tools and equipment everywhere. Oftentimes contractors are just too darn busy to consider properly organizing and securing their valuable tools and equipment. But they should!
Research has shown that the key to becoming better organized on the job site is using modular organizers and that organization is key to being productive at work. Contractors use only 33% of their time on the job site working. The rest of that time is spent on tasks such as material runs, unplanned demands, and interruptions, searching for tools, searching for parts, and running errands.
While we can’t control all these unplanned interruptions, we can choose a system to organize our tools and accessories to save time searching for and digging around for stuff.
If you are still following along, then I’m guessing that you agree with me that it only makes sense to organize your tools and accessories in such a way as to minimize the time it takes to store, locate, access. as well as transport them to and from the job site.
Time is money, right? Get organized!!