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Newbie - Route Vehicle


Paveitall

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Does anyone have pictures showing how their route vehicles interior are set up? We have a small route but it's getting big enough to probably get something set up specifically for delivery. We typically use our suburban but that's not working so well anymore. Any suggestions would be great. We are 50/50 snack/drinks

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I would prefer to move into a cargo van at the beginning.  The space should be far superior to your suburban and the fuel mileage may be better as well.  The primary advantage is that a cargo van can fit in a lot more places than a box truck could and insurance/registration should be cheaper as well.

 

I do not use a cargo van but I generally see people either loading soda directly on top of one another in the middle of the cargo area or putting the soda along the sides of the vehicle with snacks going in the back/middle.  I have also seen a few people build shelves in their cargo vans and put snacks on the shelving while the soda goes on the bottom with enough space in the middle so they can grab what they need.

 

On the alternative, a box truck is going to be highly versatile for your product.  The best thing to keep in mind is that you should keep your heavy stuff between the wheel wells and near the floor.  This helps prevent a top-heavy vehicle and it allows weight to be distributed in a way that the vehicle was meant for.  You can simply build a few heavy-duty shelves and put 20oz bottles 2-deep in a box truck on 3 shelves or so and double up on the soda (2 cases deep x 2 cases high) per shelf.  Then, you put your chips/light snacks up near the top of the shelves and put your candy/pastries in the middle.  The trick is to make everything EASY to get access to while also maintaining proper weight balance.

 

In the past, we had to take the soda shelves out of my vehicle so I could stack 20 oz sodas directly on top of each other 2,3, and 4 high.  I literally stacked them 4-high along the left/right wall of the truck and 3-high in front of that and 2-high in front of those (the 2-high cases were in the middle where I walked.  It was mostly mountain dew, pepsi, and coke that would be taken off of the truck at my first stop to allow walking access to get to everything else).  We did this so that I could haul 50-70 cases of 20 oz soda out of a stepvan with similar specs to a UPS truck.  I sometimes put snacks on top of the soda simply because I had no room elsewhere in the vehicle but that was an EXTREME situation.

 

Most box trucks/stepvans that I see today have 20-30 cases of 20oz soda and maybe the same for 12oz soda.  These usually sit near the floor or on the lower shelves while the snacks go on top/middle of the shelves.

 

I also prefer the overhang cargo area on some box trucks that the Uhaul refer to as "grandma's attic" I think.  It certainly wouldn't be a deal breaker to not have it but you can store a lot of chips up there.

 

Overall, I considered upgrading to a minivan a while back but I just couldn't see myself getting a minivan that was probably going to be obsolete in a couple of years anyway.  I considered a cargo van which seemed like a good idea because it would be useful for the business at a later date as well, but my stepfather let me use his stepvan so I use that instead.  Currently, my 20oz soda goes near the bulkhead and I can put about 20 cases of 20oz soda in my truck along with 24 cases of cans.  Of course, I can use all of the space JUST for 20oz bottles OR just for cans if I have a route that is mostly cans or mostly bottles.  I place all chips on the top shelves, all candy on the 2nd shelf on the driver side, and all of the cookies/pastries on the driver side 2nd shelf.  My contraption works well but it's packed inside.  It can hold enough to probably get me through $2500 in gross revenue if it were perfectly stocked but I only keep about half of that stocked inside.  There's really no need to pile more candy than I need into that vehicle.  I would hate to see candy melt, get stolen, or damaged.  That's also why the canned soda goes near the rear.  i would prefer for someone to steal my canned soda than my candy or bottles!  Take a box of chips if you want too!  Just don't take my candy!

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I would prefer to move into a cargo van at the beginning.  The space should be far superior to your suburban and the fuel mileage may be better as well.  The primary advantage is that a cargo van can fit in a lot more places than a box truck could and insurance/registration should be cheaper as well.

 

I do not use a cargo van but I generally see people either loading soda directly on top of one another in the middle of the cargo area or putting the soda along the sides of the vehicle with snacks going in the back/middle.  I have also seen a few people build shelves in their cargo vans and put snacks on the shelving while the soda goes on the bottom with enough space in the middle so they can grab what they need.

 

On the alternative, a box truck is going to be highly versatile for your product.  The best thing to keep in mind is that you should keep your heavy stuff between the wheel wells and near the floor.  This helps prevent a top-heavy vehicle and it allows weight to be distributed in a way that the vehicle was meant for.  You can simply build a few heavy-duty shelves and put 20oz bottles 2-deep in a box truck on 3 shelves or so and double up on the soda (2 cases deep x 2 cases high) per shelf.  Then, you put your chips/light snacks up near the top of the shelves and put your candy/pastries in the middle.  The trick is to make everything EASY to get access to while also maintaining proper weight balance.

 

In the past, we had to take the soda shelves out of my vehicle so I could stack 20 oz sodas directly on top of each other 2,3, and 4 high.  I literally stacked them 4-high along the left/right wall of the truck and 3-high in front of that and 2-high in front of those (the 2-high cases were in the middle where I walked.  It was mostly mountain dew, pepsi, and coke that would be taken off of the truck at my first stop to allow walking access to get to everything else).  We did this so that I could haul 50-70 cases of 20 oz soda out of a stepvan with similar specs to a UPS truck.  I sometimes put snacks on top of the soda simply because I had no room elsewhere in the vehicle but that was an EXTREME situation.

 

Most box trucks/stepvans that I see today have 20-30 cases of 20oz soda and maybe the same for 12oz soda.  These usually sit near the floor or on the lower shelves while the snacks go on top/middle of the shelves.

 

I also prefer the overhang cargo area on some box trucks that the Uhaul refer to as "grandma's attic" I think.  It certainly wouldn't be a deal breaker to not have it but you can store a lot of chips up there.

 

Overall, I considered upgrading to a minivan a while back but I just couldn't see myself getting a minivan that was probably going to be obsolete in a couple of years anyway.  I considered a cargo van which seemed like a good idea because it would be useful for the business at a later date as well, but my stepfather let me use his stepvan so I use that instead.  Currently, my 20oz soda goes near the bulkhead and I can put about 20 cases of 20oz soda in my truck along with 24 cases of cans.  Of course, I can use all of the space JUST for 20oz bottles OR just for cans if I have a route that is mostly cans or mostly bottles.  I place all chips on the top shelves, all candy on the 2nd shelf on the driver side, and all of the cookies/pastries on the driver side 2nd shelf.  My contraption works well but it's packed inside.  It can hold enough to probably get me through $2500 in gross revenue if it were perfectly stocked but I only keep about half of that stocked inside.  There's really no need to pile more candy than I need into that vehicle.  I would hate to see candy melt, get stolen, or damaged.  That's also why the canned soda goes near the rear.  i would prefer for someone to steal my canned soda than my candy or bottles!  Take a box of chips if you want too!  Just don't take my candy!

As an addendum to Chris's post - be very careful about the gross cargo load of the vehicle you get.  You'll need at least a 3/4 ton vehicle if you plan to carry many sodas - a 1 ton minivan will not get it done.

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As an addendum to Chris's post - be very careful about the gross cargo load of the vehicle you get.  You'll need at least a 3/4 ton vehicle if you plan to carry many sodas - a 1 ton minivan will not get it done.

Thanks Guys, your info is very usefull

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When I was an operator and before my business grew into box trucks I used a Chevy 3/4T cargo van.  A partition was built behind the rear wheel wells, across the van and up to the ceiling.  This rear area was used for soda only stacked 6 to 8 cases high (we used cans only back then). 

 

The entire van had a previously installed floor with low nap carpet that was about 2 inches off the van floor.  This provided insulation and a smooth surface to work on.  Behind the seats and back to the partition was a single shelf that ran around the open area from the driver seat to the partition and across to the passenger wall.  It was built at a height that allowed same-size ice chests to be stored underneath which held chilled candy and pastry. 

 

The shelf held all the chips, cookies bag snacks, etc.  They were organized and stacked in a way that V's could be cut into the cases for access and then there were bungy cords holding the cases on the shelf.  I also kept a strategically hidden milk crate with the money bags in it (this was before I realized I should spend money on a roll-top safe which fit between the seats).

 

Above the soda in the back was a shelf for spare snacks.  I kept my dolly inside the van bungied to the back of the passenger seat but I have seen others who built a bracket to store theirs on the front bumper or the rear bumper. 

 

This van handled 60 machines with ease and was still used as the route vehicle for our smaller accounts when we began using box trucks.  As the business grew we retired the van, but it was perfect for what it did and it could go many placed the box trucks couldn't easily go like to downtown parking garages and crowded parking lots or streetside parking.

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Just food for thought...I use a 5x10 enclosed trailer, although it seems like it's getting smaller and smaller every day.  I have shelving installed along the sides and front.  Canned pop goes on the front shelving, bottled pop on the floor along both sides under the shelving and all of the shelving space is used for snacks.  I have two large coolers on the floor in the middle, one for chocolate bars, the other for overflow items that might need to stay cool in the summer.  At the beginning of the day, I will probably have several cases of pop in the middle aisle, but that soon disappears and opens up the entire middle for me to walk/sit on coolers while pulling stock.  Some people don't like the idea of the trailer because it can be more difficult to get into some areas, but I find that I run into that very infrequently.  It's a much cheaper initial investment and can be pulled with your Suburban.  No additional insurance/maintenance/etc for another vehicle. 

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Just wanted to say, I work out of a suburban. I had a one ton Chevy box van for nine years, and when I think of all the gas I wasted I cry.

I wish I had a pic of how I load it. I took the rear seat out and lay the middle seats down place a 4x8 of plywood down and spent Approx. $100.00 on a set of airbags for the rear springs. I can load 64 cases of 20 oz bottles (Way more cans) plus 11 50 count chip boxes plus assorted candy and pastries. I have divided my routes into can days and bottle days with some mix and I still save money on gas because the MPG difference is HUGE. Its all in how you load it. Last in, First out. I use a utility trailer to move machines. 

At the end of the week I unload some of the product hook to our travel trailer and head out camping. My wife would not ride in the one ton and I admit it was a horrible ride.

The only complaint that I have ( And its not really an issue for me) is if its raining. I can flip up the back hatch and be under that to load the cart with drinks but I have to open the side doors for chips, candy, etc. The only other issue is I have a couple cold food machines and I have been putting a cooler in the front passenger seat with ice packs and I hit those first. Then as I go thru the day and unload drinks I can move the cooler to the back

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I have worked out of my compact car!  I have a Scion xB and the MAXIMUM that could EVER be done would be about 24 cases of 20oz chips with no room for much of anything else (and I mean ANYTHING else).

 

I have sort of retired it from full-line vending and now I use it for honor boxes, odd locations that are out of the way, repairs, and light routes that don't require a lot of product.

 

I would absolutely hate to see someone load 64 cases of 20oz soda into a suburban.  If I configured my stepvan for maximum 20oz soda space (without stacking it on the shelves), I could probably meet your 64 case quantity but I would surely hope that my first stop needed a good 20 cases of soda.  I would hate to work around that all day.

 

I'm not trying to discourage you from doing what you're doing but man that sounds like some serious work.  That's why I have been so happy to get back into my stepvan -- because I can deliver SO much faster and easier out of it.  No more lost snacks between seats!

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I was forced to retire my Astro due to hit and run a couple months ago.I recently bought a GMC Savana conversion van that should hold me another 5 years before I need to consider upsizing. The van seems like it holds twice as much as my Astro did, carries more weight too.

John

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An astro van in good shape is a good choice for vending small routes. It holds a fair amount of product (not as much as larger vans) and they tend to get very good gas mileage. I want to say that they approach 20 mpg.

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I have worked out of my compact car!  I have a Scion xB and the MAXIMUM that could EVER be done would be about 24 cases of 20oz chips with no room for much of anything else (and I mean ANYTHING else).

 

I have sort of retired it from full-line vending and now I use it for honor boxes, odd locations that are out of the way, repairs, and light routes that don't require a lot of product.

 

I would absolutely hate to see someone load 64 cases of 20oz soda into a suburban.  If I configured my stepvan for maximum 20oz soda space (without stacking it on the shelves), I could probably meet your 64 case quantity but I would surely hope that my first stop needed a good 20 cases of soda.  I would hate to work around that all day.

 

I'm not trying to discourage you from doing what you're doing but man that sounds like some serious work.  That's why I have been so happy to get back into my stepvan -- because I can deliver SO much faster and easier out of it.  No more lost snacks between seats!

Chris

I understand your apprehension, Sometimes it can be a pain in the butt. but I have been using it for almost a year now and I have it down  pretty well. First stop is the one that uses the most product and so on.

Forgot to mention that I put up cargo netting behind the front seat to keep from getting banged in the head. 

Did that after I slammed the brakes and a case of Mt. Dew came flying up between the front seats. LOL

Adapt and overcome!!!!!

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I also used an SUV at first (ford expedition), and looking back I don’t know how we ever did it. We bought a Chevy express cargo and things are so much easier all the way around now. I custom built a shelf going across the rear of the van of varying heights to hold all of the snacks so that when you open the two rear doors you can pull for your machine without having to crawl around inside the van on your knees. Then I built an “overstock” shelf that also goes across the van and goes back to back with the first one. This second shelf is designed so that it will keep 8 cases of 20oz in the bottom (4 across and 2 deep) and then the next shelf is 2 deep cans all the way across. Then the remainder all the way to the ceiling is overstock. These shelves are very helpful, but still don’t hold everything, so in the beginning of the day the floor usually has a few cases of 20oz and misc product. It’s actually still a work in progress to get everything just the way I want it.

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I would literally sell out of soda while on my way to pick up more soda. It made things extremely time consuming and inefficient. Now I druve to locatiins and fully stock them up. I don't think my fuel expense will really change much.

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I started with a Chevy Tahoe (16mpg) and now have a Ford E-350 with a 10' box (12 mpg). I wish I had a 12' box on the back. I would spend too much time running back and forth to SAMs in the Tahoe. Now I go twice a week and fill the box up. Much more efficient time wise. Btw, just bought my first pallet of cans today...finally got the cash flow straight in order to do this. Two more pallets next week!

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It depends if your growing id say get a box truck. A small 10ft one. I got mine a 2002 powerstroke diesel for 3600 with 150k.miles. And I.love it. I was upgrading every couple of months. Last year I bought a ranger, upgraded to a crv, and then.upgraded to an astro. I was going to get into a cargo van but thats another small step. Plus cargo vans wont hold nearly as much product, the box truck drives wayyyy better as well as turns like an suv, u cant go wrong w one. Just add shelves which u can make with 2x4s and load heavy bottom.to.top.

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I would literally sell out of soda while on my way to pick up more soda. It made things extremely time consuming and inefficient. Now I druve to locatiins and fully stock them up. I don't think my fuel expense will really change much.

I am not saying I am right and your wrong. A couple of years ago I would have made the same argument.

I am just saying I made it work for me. 12 years ago I started out in a Nissan mini van went to a full size van went to box truck and now I am back down to a suburban because it works and I did not give alot for it. I can still fully service my machines.

Its all in the loading. The more space you have the more you take up. Its human nature, I look at my suburban when its fully loaded in the morning and say I never did need that  big golpher box truck. My mistake

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I understand you snack dude. I just don't think a newbie to our industry should try his luck with a suburban when cargo vans tend to be a lot easier to work with. It's possible that your way is better but cargo vans are known to be useful for the task.

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I understand you snack dude. I just don't think a newbie to our industry should try his luck with a suburban when cargo vans tend to be a lot easier to work with. It's possible that your way is better but cargo vans are known to be useful for the task.

your right, I was thinking of it from a vets perpective. I have had alot of my customers a tonywhere from five to 12 years.

And as we all know when you have customers that long you pretty much know what to load and what not to waste your time or space with.

My bad,  was totally coming from the wrong angle on this one

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It's all good in the vending hood snack dude. I had a feeling that you thought I was questioning your method but I was not. Next thing you know, we'd have an increase in vehicular suicide by way off mountain dew cases!

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  • 1 month later...

Oh my that looks like a pita! How do u load the machines on that small trailer standing up without a ramp?

Oh my that looks like a pita! How do u load the machines on that small trailer standing up without a ramp?

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