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Cargo Van Layout


laip51

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Would like to know if those using cargo vans for small food and beverage routes can offer layout advise or drawings.  Regular racks or custom made?  Any other tips?  Thanks.

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Would like to know if those using cargo vans for small food and beverage routes can offer layout advise or drawings. Regular racks or custom made? Any other tips? Thanks.

What type of van? Custom shelves will be the way to go. There was a lengthy discussion on this not too long ago. I'll try and do a search and post the link...

Don't know how to post the link...

Search: Newbie, route vehicle.

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I have a 1978 step-van on a van/truck chassis.  It's the size of an ice-cream truck to give you an idea.  Although it isn't really a traditional "van" as you are asking about, I can give you some insight based off of past experiences.  I put my bottled soda near the front of the cargo area, directly behind the bulkhead.  I do this because I want the heavy bottles between the front and rear axles to provide more stability.  My cans go near the rear of the vehicle, chips go on the top shelf, candy goes on the driver's side 2nd shelf, and pastries go on the passenger side shelf.  I also have a 2nd shelf on the driver's side that only holds cookies and a few other "premium" items that I sell for about 80 cents.

 

Now... I custom built my shelves.  I did a lot of measuring to figure out how I was going to do it but I wanted to EASILY fit chips on the top shelves (either side).  I really built the top shelves only for chips and it works perfectly.  I also built "cabinets" on either side of the vehicle to hold my bottles and cans.  I did this so that they couldn't fall over (and it works well) unless I turn hard left or right, but they are low enough that they generally don't fall over within the cabinets.  Then, I designed it so that 2 of my shelves go directly on top of my soda cabinets for extra support.

 

It's hard to explain, but I actually engineered a lot of it.  I used 3/4" plywood for my shelves and I screwed 1x1" boards on the bottom (when not directly on top of a cabinet) for extra support.  I adhered my shelves to the SINGLE aluminum studs on either side by installing a hinge where the stud and the shelf meet on both sides.  This means that my shelves can actually be adjusted so that they are pretty much vertical and the cabinets can be removed in case I ever need to use the vehicle for some large item.

 

Seeing that my step-van is so short.. I really have no good reason to have a walk-way between the cabin and the back of the truck.  It's actually a lot easier and faster to walk out, go to the back, open the door, remove my dolly, and start unloading.  The cargo area is only 8 feet long.  Because of this, if I were ever to re-design the cargo area (which I won't do), I would have built a solid shelf behind the bulkhead and use all of the space for bottled soda because I could easily fit 24 cases of bottles right there within relatively easy reach while also having a full shelf on top of them where I can have my chips.

 

Here is my advice: keep it simple! The more complicated your shelving gets, the less variety of stuff you can fit in those gaps.  Think about it this way.... what can hold more?  A 10' x 10' empty room?  Or a FIVE 2' x 10' rooms?  They add up to the same space.. but your 2' x 10' rooms are limited ONLY to things that are no wider than 2 feet.  The more you divide things up, the less room you have.  I tried to keep the middle aisle open so I could walk-through from the cab to the cargo area without getting out... but I quickly realized that this vehicle is too small to worry about that.  I already fill the aisle up with bottled soda when I stock up so it was useless to design it that way.  Fortunately, my design is still pretty simple so there isn't much modifications that I need to do to make it more efficient but I would love to have another vehicle!  KEEP IT SIMPLE!

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Thanks to all for tips. I am going with custom built shelves. The remarks concerning storing snacks in vehicle; I am in Texas but will try out. Does anyone have can drinks leaking or bursting from heat?

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Thanks to all for tips. I am going with custom built shelves. The remarks concerning storing snacks in vehicle; I am in Texas but will try out. Does anyone have can drinks leaking or bursting from heat?

 

I have a cargo van and I store my can sodas in there and never had a burst can yet and I live in the Arizona Desert where it will reach over 110 degrees.

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Thanks to all for tips. I am going with custom built shelves. The remarks concerning storing snacks in vehicle; I am in Texas but will try out. Does anyone have can drinks leaking or bursting from heat?

 

If the cans stay in the van for a couple of weeks they will tend to develop small pinhole leaks where the cans will rub together as you are driving around.

 

Had a buddy that used a E350 for vending, he had a bulkhead behind the seats to partition off the product. He then put a piece of 3/4 inch plywood against the bulkhead to have a smooth surface and then another piece on the floor the width of a case of soda with a 2X4 under it so that when the cases were put on it they would lean back toward the bulkhead. He then built another bulkhead over the wheelwell's and set it so the cases would against it. He also set it up so that he could lean sodas against the side opposite the sliding door and restrained them with bungee cords. By loading up against the walls and then filling in he could carry 50-70 cases of bottles and cans.

 

A small shelf above the sodas against the wall was for small boxes like famous amos, cookies popcorn etc. In the back behind the wheelwell's he kept all the chips and pastries and the chocolate was kept in a ice chest in the passenger seat or as the sodas were pulled out on the floor in the center to help restrict movement if he had to stop suddenly.

 

He was running 130-150K a year with this setup.

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I was told by someone that cans stored in heat for some time go flat?  Anyone with such experience?

Keep in mind that sodas are heavy and you won't want to be lugging around a lot of extra weight you won't be using in short order - I only carry slightly more than I'll need that day and seldom have anything riding around for more than a week.  Use your machines to store your sodas - they sell better that way  ;D  

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This is also the time of the year to dump your candy into accounts if it's getting too hot. Even if an account really doesn't need much. Get rid of that chocolate!

I usually find a machine to dump my excess chocolate into by 2pm.

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I was told by someone that cans stored in heat for some time go flat?  Anyone with such experience?

Not true, however diet sodas will get bitter as the artificial sweeteners begin to break down and the process is accelerated by extreme heat. By extreme heat I mean 120-130 degrees or more which is hotter than the sodas ought to get. If they get that hot they will start spontaneously start exploding.

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Not true, however diet sodas will get bitter as the artificial sweeteners begin to break down and the process is accelerated by extreme heat. By extreme heat I mean 120-130 degrees or more which is hotter than the sodas ought to get. If they get that hot they will start spontaneously start exploding.

Mountain dew. The original golden shower.

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