Working as a contractor is challenging. You need to be able to keep track of everything, from the people on your crew to subcontractors, and from work schedules to equipment. It’s a bit like a juggling act, requiring you to pay attention at all times. You want to do a good job for your clients and get each project done as quickly and thoroughly as possible – and to do that, you have to be organized.
The average contractor has hundreds of tools and accessories to organize and store. You can’t afford to waste precious time searching for a particular drill bit or screwdriver. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you organize and store your tools.
- Start with organization. Pick a time when you have several hours and take out all of your work equipment: tools, accessories, supplies, and so on. Decide how you want to organize them. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. The only requirement is that your system makes sense to you and to anybody else who has access to your tools. For example, you may want to organize your tools by type (all hammers together, all drill bits together) or you may want to store power tools with their accessories so you can find them quickly.
- Once you have chosen a method of organization, get containers to store your tools and supplies. Many contractors like to use hard plastic toolboxes for small items, and plastic bins for larger ones. Ideally, you want these containers to be ones that you can then compartmentalize. For example, you might want to designate a box for drill bits, and then use individual dividers or compartments to sort them by size. Again, the key is to use a system that will allow you to find what you need easily.
- If you’re a general contractor and do more than one kind of work, you may want to subdivide your tools and supplies into categories. Any plumbing tools might be stored together in one area of your warehouse or storage space, and you could do the same for electrical supplies, construction supplies, and so on.
- Store power tools safely to prevent damage. Power tools are expensive and you don’t want to risk ruining them. Make sure they are secured inside their cases. In many instances, it is best to get rid of the boxes they came in and store them in a plastic bin like the rest of your tools. You can cushion or anchor them as necessary. Another benefit of using a bin or box is that you can store accessories with the tool if you want to do so.
- Label everything. A simple label maker or even a permanent marker can help you mark the outside of each box clearly. Depending on how you plan to stack them, you should write on the side or end of the box so you can choose the box you need without a hassle.
- For many contractors, the best storage solution is to rent a self-storage unit to store their equipment. Tools have a way of piling up and as you buy new things you may have a hard time finding the space for them. If you rent a unit and keep it carefully organized, you and your crew can easily get in and out – and get to your job site.
To make sure that your tools are safe and easy to find, the key is to have a master plan for organizing them first, and then to work on finding the right storage solutions for your business. If you do both, you’ll always be in control of your equipment.