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Shelf Help: The Ultimate Guide to Van Shelving

Shelf Help: The Ultimate Guide to Van Shelving
May 14, 2020 TheHoth
van shelving

Shelf Help: The Ultimate Guide to Van Shelving

Have you ever seen a cargo van that looks like the owner’s business exploded inside it? Imagine the impression a messy scene like that can make on a customer or potential customer. Plus, it’s not a fun or safe work environment. Don’t let this be your van!

Now picture a perfectly organized van with every tool and piece of equipment in its own designated space and plenty of room to get things done. Van customization and organization can keep you focused and help you avoid losing equipment or running late trying to find it. There are many ways to improve organization, but installing shelves is a great place to start. With the right shelving, your van will not only be more organized, but more professional-looking, enjoyable and safe.


An Introduction to Van Shelving

One of the primary reasons businesses choose vans over trucks is the ease of creating a custom, enclosed and mobile workstation to conveniently get work done on-site and keep employees and equipment protected from the elements. Van interiors can be customized to meet the needs of many specific industries and professions, from plumbers to electricians and many more. Perhaps that’s why full-sized vans are one of the fastest-growing and most-lucrative vehicle types.

No matter what industry you’re in, you’ll likely require shelving and storage in your van interior, and there are a wide variety of options to consider. Adjustable metal shelving is a great option, and comes in a wide variety of sizes to meet your storage needs. Open shelving is ideal for storing tools or materials that you need to access regularly and easily. For more protected storage, there are plenty of storage modules available that combine drawers, cabinets and shelving to keep everything you need secure and organized.

van interior accessories

Benefits of Commercial Shelving for Your Business

Shelving may seem like a simple addition to your van, but it can make a world of difference for your business and your day-to-day tasks. Commercial van shelving is popular for many reasons, including the following benefits:

  • A well thought-out and organized workstation can improve your efficiency and productivity. By getting more done more quickly, you can thereby increase your revenue and profitability.
  • With all your tools and equipment in their designated spots, you’ll have more open space to work with.
  • An organized van looks more professional and reflects positively on your business and brand image. Each passerby is a potential customer, so you want your van to be neat and organized at all times.
  • Loose tools and equipment present risks and hazards. Storing everything properly and securely will improve safety while on the road and on the job.
  • Knowing exactly where everything is kept in your van will allow you to keep a more accurate inventory.
  • Having all your equipment and tools secured can reduce noise and damage while you drive.
  • Studies show that visible clutter can cause mental clutter. A clean and organized work space can lead to a more enjoyable and fulfilling work life.

With these great benefits in mind, it’s clear why most work vans view shelving as a must.

commercial van interiors


Key Considerations for Van Interior and Van Shelving

It’s important to note that there is no “one-size-fits-all” van shelving setup. In fact, the more custom to your specific line of work, the better.

Choosing which type of shelving best fits your needs can get tricky. Your best bet is to make a list of everything you know you want in your van(s), find a reputable shop to install it, and bounce your ideas around with them before making any final decisions.

First, you’ll need to measure the dimensions of your van and figure out the layout you want for your tools. You should take inventory of all the tools and equipment you expect to haul daily, as well as other larger items you may need to carry every once in a while. You should then consider your workflow and what you typically use, in what order. Think about what needs to be most easily-accessible and what needs to be secured or protected. Another important consideration is workplace ergonomics improvement, or the process of removing risk factors that can lead to physical strain or injury. For example, if there is a heavy tool that you are constantly bending over to lift, this could lead to a back injury over time. Why not find the perfect shelving solution for that tool to make it more easily accessible and reduce the risk?

Once you size up all your needs and plan the layout, you’re ready to choose from one of the many shelving options available to you. Below are some professional van shelving options and ideas to help get your started.


6 Professional Cargo Van Shelving Ideas

Before getting into the options below, keep in mind that choosing to have custom van professionals design and install your shelving and/or buying ready-to-install systems will not only save you time, but also result in a more professional, high-quality and long-lasting van interior.

1. Metal Shelving Systems

Metal shelving systems come in many sizes and are often adjustable, so they can easily fit into a wide variety of vans. They are also more durable and easy to maintain than other types of shelving, such as wood, for example. That’s why the vast majority of cargo vans incorporate this first type of shelving.

Different materials can be used for metal shelving; these are most commonly steel, aluminum or composites. Traditional steel shelves tend to be more cost-effective up front and are very durable. Steel is the preferred choice for those carrying lots of heavy-duty equipment. For those who frequently drive on roads that aren’t in such great shape, it will keep your equipment and drivers protected. On the other hand, aluminum is lighter-weight and can help improve gas mileage and fuel efficiency. If you require lots of drawers and shelving to carry small parts, keeping the load light with aluminum or composites may be best. Composites are sometimes favored because of their noise-reduction capabilities.

Metal shelving can either be closed or open. While closed shelving units prevent items from falling and breaking, opened shelves allow you to quickly grab what you need.

custom van interiors

2. Custom Shelving Systems

Custom shelving systems for your cargo van provide an organization system tailored exactly to your needs. You get to create your own idea about what you want and then leave it up to the professionals to put together, to save you time and hassle.

These benefits of custom shelving include:

  • Optimized your van space according to your specific needs.
  • Specially-designed spaces custom made for your tools to keep them from falling or crashing around.
  • The results will be more professional and fit perfectly to your van.
  • Once installed, they can save you time by maximizing efficiency.
  • A customized shelving system also offers you a safer drive and saves you money in the long run by building the storage customized for the equipment it will hold.

Custom shelving is great for those working in more specific industries, such as electricians, plumbers, or pest-control workers, with unique equipment and needs.

3. Corner Shelving Systems

If you lay flooring, install siding, or work any other profession that often requires large, free spaces for materials, you may find corner shelving most useful. You can choose to install them on the floor or up at the ceiling. This type of shelving maximizes space for larger items while keeping your tools organized.

4. Durable Storage Modules 

Storage modules combine drawers, cabinets, and shelving all in one unit to maximize the space and provide plenty of storage for a wide-range of tools and equipment. They come in many sizes and can be installed on the van interior walls, the inside of the van doors, a van partition, or even in a cargo trailer behind the van. As with metal shelving, they are usually made of either steel, aluminum or composite materials, each with their own pros and cons.

5. Homemade Cargo Van Shelving: DIY Wooden Shelves

Deciding to make your own shelves will require more of your time and may appear less professional, but can save you money.

If you have the time and know how to build shelves in a cargo van, you can use plywood to make DIY custom shelving. One neat idea to try: build cabinets into the shelving for stuff you want to keep covered while you drive. Once you learn how to build van shelves yourself, you open the door to all sorts of conveniences.

Another convenient shelving trick is to build a shelf that runs the length of the van, like a false floor. This works for organizing large amounts of carpet, siding, or other long materials, that you do not want to stack.

If you aren’t 100% confident in your skills or want to ensure optimal results, you may want to leave the van shelving installation to the professionals.

6. Finishing Touches for Your Shelving Systems

Many businesses can benefit from organizing with more than simple van shelving. Little van storage tricks will make a huge difference with staying organized.

If you go the DIY route, consider building drawers into the unit, to keep tools and blueprints. For basic shelving, use milk crates to organize materials and keep them from tumbling around. Also, you can add hanging units to the top of the van and use clips to keep drawers closed. 

If you’d rather purchase professional cargo shelving accessories, below are a few great add-ons to consider:

  • Shelf dividers and doors.
  • Drawers or shelf bins for smaller tools.
  • Cases for organization.
  • Hooks to add on to the sides of your shelving.
  • Bottle restraints to keep bottles securely in place while on the road.
  • And much more!

Van Shelving Costs

The price of shelving for your van interior will vary depending on the type you choose and whether you go the professional or DIY route. Generally speaking, van shelving can cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars for something simple to a couple thousand for a more complete set up. Professional installation will add to the cost, but ensure long-lasting results and a more professional appearance.


Other Van Accessories to Improve Organization 

In addition to shelving units, other commercial interior accessories you may want to consider are:

  • Interior LED lighting to improve visibility and safety while on the job.
  • Ladder or cargo racks to free up space in your van interior and store equipment securely on top of your van.
  • Utility hooks for storing a wide variety of items.
  • Paper holders to keep all your paperwork in order and easily accessible.
  • Tool boxes for securely storing tools and equipment.
  • Partitions and wire window screens for safety and security.
  • Reel holders for cable and wire storage.
  • Drill bit holders, hard hat holders, tank holders, and so much more!

For even more van interior ideas and inspiration, check out our article: 3 Different Kinds of Commercial Van Interiors You Should Consider.

Bring Your Cargo Van Shelving to the Next Level

As you can see, there are many great van shelving options available. The materials you choose and the layout you design will make a difference in your business’ day-to-day. At Pacific Truck Colors, we view each van interior as a blank canvas and assume anything is possible until proven otherwise.

We carry contractor-grade shelving, drawers, cabinets, partitions, ladder racks, aluminum tool boxes, and many more accessories for cargo vans, pickup trucks, cargo trailers, walk-in vans, and other commercial vehicles. We carry only the highest quality van shelving and equipment at competitive prices. Our van customization services in Portland will help you to keep your vehicles organized and eventually increase your workflow efficiencies and reduce inventory damage.

In summary, the condition of your van sets the tone for the type of work you provide your customers; the organization is too important to let fly. Contact us at Pacific Truck Colors to explore your options and purchase or customize your van shelving today. We look forward to working with you!