In the garage door business, as with most service industries, your work truck is your mobile warehouse and office. The truck must be outfitted, to the best of your ability, for all possible situations that you might run into on a job. Running to get parts gets to be very expensive in terms of gas and time, not to mention it being a hassle for the customer to have to reschedule their time for you to come back to the job site. Unfortunately, it is impossible to carry literally everything on any work truck, but having more than the basics is what separates the amateurs from the pros.
Choosing The Right Truck
The first step is to choose the right truck. Given the large volumes of parts carried around by a well stocked garage door repairman, it must inherently be a very large truck, capable of handling great weights!
For my business I chose a GMC Sierra 3500, long bed, crew cab, with a 6.6 liter Duramax diesel engine! This combination of requirements made it a difficult truck to find! The people that have these trucks tend to hold onto them. When they do go up for sale, they disappear in a hurry! These trucks are built with the intent that they will be loaded down and worked hard. As a result, in the used market, you often find some pretty rough looking and running vehicles. I looked for quite some time to find a truck that appeared to have been taken care of!
Next, a garage door truck must be able to handle very long, heavy door sections, track, torsion tubes and struts. It must also be able to carry an assortment of ladders, ranging in size from five feet to extension ladders that can reach 24 feet in the air. In order to carry these materials a good work truck needs a very heavy duty ladder rack. After many years in the business, I chose to have my rack custom made to my specifications. I chose Colmin-X Racks, based in Denver, to make the rack. I walked in with a very specific design of what I wanted the rack to look like. Less than a week later they had it built perfectly to my specifications! Highly recommended!
Next comes the process of stocking a garage door truck. There are many different brands of garage doors and openers and unfortunately parts for those brands are sometimes not interchangeable. I have learned over the years to save the rarer parts. Many companies throw those parts in the trash, a tremendous waste in my opinion. On my vehicle I carry a variety of both used and new parts. Typically the used parts will be supplied at very low to no cost to the customer. Since they are used, I have a bit of a hard time justifying charging much for them. My saving of parts has very often enabled me to repair older doors and openers, rather than having to replace them. This is a savings for the customer. I do try my best to evaluate and explain the cost of repair compared to the cost of replacement. Some doors and openers are simply not worth investing money in.
Every garage door truck requires an assortment of both torsion springs and extension springs. Garage doors have a wide range of sizes and weights. It is not possible to carry enough springs to cover all types and sizes of doors. In particular, owners of very heavy wood sided doors and pretty much all commercial size doors should be aware that a tech will always have to come out to measure your springs, then order them, go get them, then return to change them out. A stock of about thirty springs is sufficient enough to cover the majority of residential doors and openers.
In addition to springs and a reasonable assortment of door parts, the truck usually has several sets of track. One set of low headroom track, and one set of 12″ radius track. I carry these sets of track everywhere, just in case I run into a situation where an opener or door will not fit due to low ceilings.
I also carry spare struts and tubes for up to eighteen foot wide doors. Sometimes doors will need an additional strut added to add some strength back to the door after having been hit by a car. Sometimes I run across Wayne Dalton doors with broken springs inside a torquemaster spring line. Those require a spare tube to change the door to a standard torsion spring system. As a side note, I strongly recommend against buying Wayne Dalton products! All these parts are necessary to allow me to give the customer prompt and efficient same day service!
I also typically carry at least two Liftmaster 8365 chain drive machines on the truck. Unfortunately, by the time an opener has reached the point that a customer will call a professional about it, the opener has often gone past the point of being financially responsible to repair, rather than replace.
Well, that is how you build the perfect garage door service truck! Now all it needs is some doors and openers on it! Give me a call at 970-820-0218 or shoot me an email. With this truck, and my expertise, no job is too difficult! Thank You.