From experience, when you are out on the job, absolutely nothing puts the brakes on your crew like having to go back and get a hand truck, or more boxes, or the tool kit you can’t do without. But there’s a moving truck checklist for that!
The quickest way to make sure you have everything you need is by checking off an expert’s equipment checklist. Use this to help put your company’s checklist together. (Looking for a regular moving checklist? Try this one.)
The overall list of truck necessities gets long pretty quick, so instead of just giving you a giant bullet point list, let’s break this stuff down into categories.
Table of Contents
- The Essential* Mover Items
- The Basic Mover Items
- The Pro Mover Items
- The In Case Of Emergency Mover Items
- The Seasonal Mover Items
- The Mover Items I Find Extra Helpful
- How to Maintain Your Moving Truck
I’m gonna talk more in-depthly about the items that are obvious, items that are helpful, and items that you think you’ll never need – until you do.
The Essential* Mover Items
- Furniture pads
For each of these, check not only that you have them, but have enough of them. Cross-check with the details of the job order. Bring more than you think you’ll need because you always end up needing extra.
*If you’re doing a labor-only job where you’re just providing the muscle for someone else’s truck, it’s possible you will not be required to bring packing material or furniture pads. Check the order. But for your own truck? These are obvious must-haves.
The Basic Mover Items
Hand Truck and 4-Wheelers
Have one of each on hand, at bare minimum! You will want to add more as you grow. Make sure your crew knows how to use them properly.
Boxes and Newsprint
Even if your customer hasn’t ordered packing services, there’s always that possibility they’ll run out of supplies. Keeping just a few spare, folded boxes and a few pounds of packing paper on hand doesn’t take up much space on your truck, and might be a life-saver for your customer.
Remember, nothing translates into 5-star reviews faster than triggering a huge sigh of relief from someone who’s stressed.
Markers have a habit of disappearing, especially on moves. Keep a half-dozen in a safe place inside your truck.
Make sure you have a complete set of tools. Even if you aren’t disassembling anything, they always come in handy. These include the basics:
- Tape measure (for doorways)
- Hammer with nail puller
Make sure you have them both at the beginning of the job and at the end. These things also like to vanish when you aren’t looking. Mark every tool in your toolbox with your name in big block letters, and keep track of who is using what. (I know, it isn’t the first thing you are thinking about on the job site, but tools are not only critically important, but they are also expensive to replace.)
The Pro Mover Items
Get these different types of floor protection
- Neoprene – Highly durable, but expensive
- Rug runners – Reusable, washable lengths of cloth that can protect but also can get bunched up if not taped securely
- Sheets of cardboard – i.e., used boxes
- Plastic rug runners – Sticky, effective but disposable
If you really want to go a long way with the floor protection, you could also stock up on a bit of masonite, which looks like a sheet of plywood at a glance but is thinner, more flexible, and won’t give you splinters. Masonite is usually utilized for office moves, but there may be that occasional customer with the heavy antique bedroom set and a marble floor downstairs.
Safer and steadier than a standard hand truck for moving large appliances or large pieces of furniture like armoires and heavy dressers. Know the difference!
If you offer piano moving, this is 100% necessary. They are possible to rent, but better in the long run to buy.
The In-Case-of-Emergency Mover Items
Certain items should be on every truck out on the road. This is stuff that is rarely used -until the unfortunate happens and they become critical. Make sure you have them.
- Flares / Reflector triangles
- Spare tire / Jack
- First aid kit
- Fire extinguisher
- Chock blocks
Chock blocks can really save you from having the truck shift on you mid-carry. They’re amazing. Have them. It’s thought of as an “emergency” item, but honestly, use them every single time you get out of your truck.
The Seasonal Mover Items
- Sand (preferable to rock salt)
- Ice scraper
- Tire chains
Keep a lighter on your truck for melting ice off a frozen padlock. (Seriously, I had to do this on at least two different occasions while moving people in Colorado.)
Also, read this post if you have any questions on why sand is better than ice.
The Mover Items I Find Extra Helpful
- Step ladder – Pack your truck right up to the ceiling without having to stand on the customer’s stuff!
- Plywood – A couple of sheets can make it easier to navigate a hand truck over soft or uneven ground
- Straps – Assuming your truck has cleats built into the walls
- Broom – Because customers prefer clean trucks
- Clean towels and Wet Wipes – Because customers also prefer clean movers who can keep their furniture clean and dry
- Pad of paper – For countless reasons
- Phone charger/adapter – For just one reason
How to Maintain Your Moving Truck
- Keep some brake fluid/wiper fluid/antifreeze handy back at the office
- Keep written track of your oil changes
- Check your air filter semi-frequently
- Give your wipers a wipe
- Grab a big brush with an extra-long handle to keep the outside of your truck clean, especially after bad weather (for those of us who live in places with winter weather, that is)
With a few old towels on hand, you can keep the inside of your truck clean, dry, and safe, even while you and your crew are working in snowy and/or wet weather.
This May All Sound Like A Lot...
I mean really, with all this stuff on the truck, is there going to be enough room back there for the customer’s belongings? Actually, yes!
If it is all kept neatly and your crew is willing – on rare occasions – to have a toolbox under their feet and some packing paper on their laps as they pull away from the job site, then yes, it is all worth it.
Your customer’s stuff will fit, and the small amount of reserved space for needed items will separate you from the competition. It’s really what separates real movers from the amateurs.