Here is a list of 10 things you need in your truck if you’re going to successfully run your business out of it. It’s certainly not exhaustive, but it’s a start:
- A mobile phone - You need your phone to keep in touch with clients, take photos of jobs, handle invoicing or as a GPS. Therefore, it is wise to invest in a secure dock and in-car charger for when you’re on the road too. Don’t cop a fine for using a mobile while operating a vehicle. Make sure the dock securely attaches to your dash board. You should invest in a portable charger for when you need to use a dying phone away from your vehicle. Basic chargers are cheap and can be bought from most servos.
- A logbook - Whether it’s fuel consumption, kilometres or hours, knowing what you and your vehicle have done in the past is good for future planning and good for getting the most back from the tax man. Keeping on top of the information and knowing when things like services are due or when parts are likely to wear out will save you time and money in the long run.
- Oil and water – Know what kind of oil your vehicle uses and keep it and some distilled water on hand at all times. Perform a regular check on your levels while the engine is cool and make a note of when and how much oil and water goes in (perhaps in your log book). This should prevent your vehicle from overheating and costing you thousands in repairs.
- A secure place for your tools – They were expensive to buy, they’ll be expensive to replace. Don’t trust on the kindness of strangers or the honour system, make sure you have a secure place to put your tools. Invest in a sturdy lockbox with good hinges and a heavy-duty lock. Try to take the tools inside with you at the end of the day too.
- A spare set of PPE – It may be a cost now, but it’s an investment in your safety and will save you time in the future. If a piece of PPE gets lost or destroyed, you can keep doing the job without having to either be unsafe or waste time on sourcing a replacement.
- A first aid kit – For all your basic first aid needs, make sure you have a well-stocked kit in your vehicle. You can tend to medical issues like cuts and burns, or (hopefully never) make use of an Amputated Parts Module if disaster strikes and someone loses a piece of themselves.
- Drinking water – Australia is a hot and dry continent. If you’re working in the heat with all that PPE on, it’s pretty standard to work up a thirst. Humans need around two to three litres a day just to keep alive. It’s increased when you’re physically exerting yourself. Try to keep away from energy drinks as the caffeine will make you dehydrated. Grab something like Hydralyte and put it in your first aid kit as an extra precaution. They will replace the salts that flow out of your body through urine and sweat with electrolytes and fluids.
- A list of important phone numbers – Maybe your phone carks it, or you’re somewhere without mobile service? Do you want to call it a day then or get some more billable hours? Then it’s best to have a directory of clients, staff, suppliers, other tradies or safety numbers (like dial before you dig) on a piece of paper or two. If you store them in a spreadsheet program, they can be easily printed and laminated once a month and kept in your vehicle.
- A Decent torch – This is probably in your toolbox, but if it isn’t, go and get one now. It’s a safety tool as well as a tool of the trade. It lets you see and be seen in the dark.
- Jumper Cables – Make it easy for you to get help if your battery dies and make yourself the hero to whoever you may help. You might even make a new client.
- Toilet paper – You’ll thank us later.
- WD40 and duct tape – To make things move or make them stay put.
- Spare tyre and jack – If you need us to tell you this one, maybe you should think about a new job.
- A street directory – See #8.