Turf Magazine - June, 2009

NATIONAL FEATURES

Everything in Its Place

Tool organization options
By Jenan Jones Benson

The best tools in the world are worthless if they aren’t accessible every time they’re needed. Having a neat and organized trailer will help keep your tools at hand and help reduce damage, as well as theft.

Photo Courtesy of Jungle Jim’s. Photo Courtesy of Rack’Em Manufacturing.
The Trailer Mate can carry two blowers, two regular gas cans, two mix gas cans, an air tank, trimmer line and other accessories in an organized manner. Rack’Em Manufacturing’s Basket Kit bolts to an open trailer to hold hand tools. An optional lid makes it lockable to prevent theft.

Jungle Jim’s

“In addition to greater efficiency, [storage] racks help extend the life of tools by keeping them secure and [at reduced risk of damage],” says Jennifer Hafendorfer, sales manager at Jungle Jim’s Accessory Products, Inc. (www.junglejimsap.com) in Louisville, Ky.

Jungle Jim’s manufactures storage racks that organize one to four trimmers. For open beds, the rack attaches to the sides, and the trimmers are mounted horizontally and secured to prevent movement. A vertical tool rack for five items, such as rakes, can be added. For enclosed trailers, the rack is wall-mounted. Jungle Jim’s Spool Mate secures trimmer line and allows the spool to hang within a frame and includes a cutter.

The open-bed blower holder can be locked and adapted to manufacturer’s specifications. This product supports the tube in addition to the backpack device. Two blowers can be secured by attaching another holder vertically. Hand tools can be organized on an open trailer with Jungle Jim’s vertical rack.

During transit, mowers should be secured to avoid damage and promote employee safety. Jungle Jim’s Mower Holder meets Department of Transportation requirements, and is made of 10-gauge steel. The mower is placed in the holder with a rod behind the front caster tire, and a handle is lifted to clamp it in place. The device can be made theft-proof with one lock, and may be used with any product that has caster tires. The Mower Holder is available in two sizes. Jungle Jim also produces a similar item to secure spreaders. The company also offers the Fastrap, which attaches any wheeled product to a flatbed trailer or truck. The mower’s wheels are placed in the chocks and secured with a strap. A lever tightens the strap for secure transportation.

For a complete storage and transportation system, Jungle Jim’s Trailer Mate consists of a cargo box that fits 5 to 7-foot trailers. This maximizes trailer space by stowing equipment on the trailer rails rather than on the bed. It houses two blowers, two regular gas cans, two mix gas cans, an air tank, trimmer line and other accessories, and comes with an aircraft cable to link items as a theft deterrent. Three padlocks can be added to heighten security.

Photo Courtesy of Jungle Jim’s. Photo Courtesy of Rack’Em Manufacturing.
The Spool Mate from Jungle Jim’s encloses and protects the spool housing of trimmer line, and has a spring-loaded design to prevent unraveling. The shovel rack from Rack’Em Manufacturing can hold up to six shovels in an enclosed trailer by stacking them vertically within a single bracket.

Rack’Em Manufacturing

Items that are tossed into trucks or trailers may shift during transit, resulting in damage and downtime for the crew, according to Glenn Johnson, co-founder and co-owner of Rack’Em Manufacturing (www.rackemmfg.com) in Hawley, Pa. He says that securing equipment and supplies during travel reduces the incidence of spills of hazardous materials, and storage systems can help prevent theft, as most include or accommodate locks. An organizational device with designated spots for each item also allows for a quick inventory of supplies before and after each job.

Johnson, and Rack’Em Co-founder and Co-owner John Pallay, identified the need for better equipment handling racks while working at Stelton Mower & Trailer Sales in Piscataway, N.J.

Rack’Em offers storage racks for both open and enclosed trailers that accommodate up to three trimmers, and can also organize backpack or hand-held blowers. The open trailer design has a locking mechanism and the enclosed model is wall-mounted. There are adapter kits for various blower models.

Hand tools can be organized on an open trailer with Rack’Em’s shovel holder kit, as well as the basket kit, which bolts to a trailer to hold hand tools; an optional lid makes it lockable. For enclosed storage, Rack’Em offers a six-hook rack for tools, hoses and other supplies. A single-hook rack is also available. The two-hook model is a safe spot for items such as brooms, and the shovel rack stores up to six shovels by stacking them vertically within a single bracket.

Photo Courtesy of Performance Trailers.
The SnapRack system from Performance Trailers is a track-mounted system of landscaper tool racks.

TrimmerTrap

Bill Bellis, founder and president of TrimmerTrap (www.trimmertrap.com) in Louisville, Ky., had an interesting experience when he owned a landscape management company that spawned the idea for his product. When a crew lost a blower, they feared being fired and created an elaborate story of theft to cover themselves. When Bellis reported the loss to police, he learned that the blower wasn’t stolen at all. It fell off a truck and was retrieved by an officer. So, Bellis devised a storage system that would prevent such incidents.

Now a holder of 16 patents, the first patent was for the TT2 trimmer rack, which clamps trimmers in place in two seconds.

“A system needs to be fast and simple or crews won’t use it. Equipment is loaded and unloaded many times each day so simplicity is needed,” says Bellis. TrimmerTrap’s product lines include organizational systems for power equipment and mowers, and are designed for both open and enclosed trucks and trailers.

Photos Courtesy of Trimmertrap.
TrimmerTrap’s line of organizational systems are desingned for open and enclosed trucks and trailers.

Performance Trailers

Performance Trailers, Inc. (www.SnapRack.com) in Flanders, N.J., offers the only patented, track-mounted system of landscaper tool racks called the SnapRack. By securing heavy-duty, inexpensive tracks with receiver slots every 2 inches and attaching them to the trailer wall studs instead of the plywood walls, the system spreads the load across the framing and resists both vertical and horizontal movement. Once the tracks are secured to the walls, hooks and brackets snap in and out in seconds, allowing for fast configuration and rearrangement. There are a variety of hooks and brackets available to store and secure rakes, shovels, trimmer line and more. Track sections 5 feet long can be installed on the floor of the trailer as well, offering quick, snap-in attachment of ratchet straps, wheel chocks, tie-down devices and more to secure equipment, such as lawn mowers.

Glenn Ehrgott, president of Performance Trailers, founded the company in 1990 after seeing trailer racks falling off walls or coming loose off of the 1,000 or so trailers he sells and services each year. He also saw the need to reorganize racks quickly without continually adding holes in the trailer walls.

Keep track of odds and ends

Keep the cooler close at hand with Jungle Jim’s cooler  holder that mounts anywhere on an open trailer. Rack’Em’s model adapts to open to enclosed spaces, and offers a wall-mounted device that holds a cooler or gas can.

Keep your lubricants in place with a rack or bin. Rack’Em combines the two for a wall-mounted unit with a rack for spray cans and a bin for oil. Expandable bins for larger cans and bottles also are available.

If you can’t find an organization system that fits your needs, an alternative would be to combine your favorite products and design your own system. Whether you create a custom method or go with a manufacturer’s all-in-one device, expect to invest some money to keep your equipment organized and efficiently stored. However, that expenditure will repay your company many times over by helping reduce damage, theft and employee hours.

Based in Greensboro, N.C., the author writes articles about horticulture, landscaping, agriculture and travel. She has been a contributor to Moose River Media publications for three years.