Zack Dettmore's General Contracting Carpentry Van

Things that hang are things that bang


USED FOR Carpentry General Contracting
TYPICAL JOBS renovations, custom homes
MODEL 2017 Dodge Ram Promaster 3500
BODY Full-Size Cargo Van, Extended, High Roof


Floor storage
Ceiling storage
Roof storage
Interior lights
Wired electric
Stand inside?

See more of Dettmore Home Improvements


Set up a cleaning station. more »
Mortise shelves for toolbox feet. more »
Mount a whiteboard to help you remember. more »



Dettmore Home Improvements

Rutherford, NJ USA

Zack's van is outfitted for general contracting and carpentry. A super-organized DIY rack system made of 3/4" plywood houses Festool Systainers and Milwaukee Packouts.

Bring the Tools Inside

The storage substructure of the van was built to accommodate 45-47 Festool Systainers, although it doesn't have quite that many yet.

All the vertical pieces in the storage system are drilled with shelf pin holes, but this is only for indexing. Once layout was determined, shelves were secured with pocket screws. This makes it easy to reconfigure things in the future, and keeps the system solid.

The Milwaukee Packouts, are a little wider than Systainers, so they required wider compartments.

The Systainers don't fill the depth of the shelves, so less frequently used tools and materials go in the rear of cubbies, behind the Systainers. Then hidden items are IDed with vertical labels on the shelves.

The table saw and miter saw, both large and awkward, are located at the side cargo door so that they can easily brought on the jobsite.

Ladders, miter saw wings, and step stools that are used frequently are located at the back of the van. These items are relatively thin and narrow, so they don't take up valuable storage space in their locations.

How Much Cargo Space?

Because there aren't any protrusions in the main cargo area, there is 41" of usable width, the envy of a lot of renovators reading this right now!

Sheets of plywood and sheetrock easily fit inside and get clamped to the van to keep them from shifting around.

Zack Dettmore's General Contracting Carpentry Van
Zack Dettmore's General Contracting Carpentry Van Image from Dettmore101

Keeping the Jobsite Clean

Zack runs a clean jobsite. To support this, a cleanup station stocked with paper towels, garbage bags, and other cleaning materials is extremely accessible when the back doors are opened. Right behind these materials are two Festool vacuum cleaners.

A "Keep It Clean" mentality doesn't seem to be a primary concern for many workers, but it is a primary concern for customers.

Zack says, "I get a lot of referrals based on the cleanliness of my job sites." Having instantly available cleaning materials definitely helps with this.

Next Level Labels

Zack has everything in the van labeled, down to the bottles of spray cleaner. This makes it easier to find things in the van, and it makes it easy for anyone to put things away in the same spot.

One twist on the "Label Everything" philosophy is that visible items get a horizontal label and hidden items get a vertical label.

It works like this:

A cubby with a cart has enough room behind it for a Festool Planex. The shelving is labeled with a horizontal label for the cart contents and a vertical label for the Planex.

On Board Power

A retractable 50' extension cord plugs into jobsite power so that they can charge batteries and run the on board compressor located in the front of the van.

The battery charging station is located at the bulkhead and holds several Makita and DeWalt chargers plus a power strip with extra outlets.

Awesome Bulkhead Storage

The bulkhead has a thin compartment that takes advantage of the width of the van to store a bunch of long tools.

A 6' ladder, levels, a T-square, saw tracks, painting poles, crow bars, plus a roll of flooring protection all live in this skinny space and can be instantly pulled out the side cargo door - no tie-downs, no awkward positioning to clamp something in place.

This works for Zach, but may not work if you frequently need to haul 16' materials that protrude into the cab.

Keeping the Noise Down

Zack does not like a noisy truck, so he's come up with some ways to reduce it. Zack minimized the number of things that hang, because things that hang are things that bang.

This means there are few hanging power or hand tools, no hanging ladders, and they keep all extension cords on a reel to keep them from banging around.

Toolboxes keep things contained and the bulkhead cuts down on leftover noises. The result is a truck that's noise-free while driving!

Small Job Table

The van also has a small wood workbench to do small service jobs in the van. Frequently used tools are in reach of the bench, but can also be accessed easily from the side cargo door.

Other Stuff

Check out Zach's other vehicle videos:

Also see his Youtube channel for tools that "make money or just cost money".

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