Vending Operator Tools Choosing Hand Trucks
Transporting soda and drinks is very physical to move but with the right hand truck it’s relatively easy.
Traditional hand trucks work just fine for both soda and snack routes.
Convertible hand trucks work better for volume accounts. Convertibles allow you to convert the hand truck into a cart.
Make sure you consider wheels: hard, pneumatic or no flat wheels. Hard wheels are great on concrete surfaces; pneumatic wheels are great for off road surfaces like going across grass.
No flat wheels are the best of both hard and pneumatic wheels; if you need to change out the wheels on your hand trucks try the no flat wheels.
I recommend buying a good quality aluminum hand truck from Magliner, Westco…
Steel hand trucks work fine but at the end of the day they are heavy and wear you down.
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Vending Operator Tools Choosing Hand Trucks Tom Shivers: I’m Tom with The Vending Business Show. Here again, with Larry Towner, who is part of Service Group International, and a vending business consultant. And we’re continuing our series on vending operator tools choosing hand trucks, both conceptual and physical, as well as .. well, there are actually more tools to it than that. So, what are we going to be talking about today, Larry?
Larry Towner,: I think we’ll talk about one of the most important Vending Operator Tools Choosing Hand Trucks the biggest tool you’ll use every single day when you’re in the vending business, that’s going to be your hand truck. Tom, what do you know about hand trucks?
Tom Shivers: They’re made for handling big pieces of heavy stuff, and big things.
Larry Towner,: Yep, and that’s part of it. They’re designed in general to move a lot of weight, but also in the vending side, remember we deal in two different kinds of products. We deal largely in sodas and then in snacks and/or coffee, and products like that. While coffee is kind of a medium weight item, although it never gets really heavy by soda standards. Soda, on the other hand, is a very, very heavy product and very difficult to move, or very physical to move, I guess I should say. It’s not difficult. When you have a good hand truck it’s quite easy. But we generally run in combinations of both soda and snacks. So what we’re going to talk about is, how do you choose the particular hand truck that you are interested in using? We have used all kinds of hand trucks through the years. I mean, I’ve run many, many different kind of hand trucks. And basically, hand trucks break down into two common types. You have what’s called a traditional hand truck, which is a frame, with two wheels on the bottom, and some kind of a plate.
Larry Towner,: And then there are the convertible hand trucks, which are hand trucks that, while they have the two wheels and a plate, they also can pull out into a cart style hand truck. Or more like a cart. They have four wheels that slide up [inaudible 00:02:04]. Hand truck selection is largely a matter of what you really like, and also what the majority of what you’re going to be carrying is. If you have very heavy things a traditional hand truck works just fine. If you’re going to run a soda route a traditional hand truck, not the convertible style, will work just fine. If you’re going to do largely soda you’re fine with that. And you can stack snacks on top of it, too, because the boxes will stack up on top of each other and you can just pull it over. And I ran for years, and years, and years using a traditional hand truck and had great success with it. I was very efficient. When you’re running in and out of buildings you want to move one time. You don’t want to have to make multiple trips if you can help it.
Larry Towner,: That really eats into your time, because every time you have to go back to the truck it takes you about 10 minutes. Anyway, with that said, I ended up converting over to a convertible hand truck, and that’s largely because my operational situation changed. We started doing pre pulls on accounts, and we had a lot more volume that we were taking in. So we converted over to a convertible hand truck and we had really good success with that, too. And the choice, again it’s a lot of what you’re going to have to when you’re planning as to what you’re going to look for. Convertible hand trucks allow you to make it into a cart. If you have nice even ground, or concrete, you can do it with a convertible hand truck. You can put a lot of weight on it, about 1000 pounds they’re rated for, which is going to be almost anytime you’re servicing a vending account you won’t go quite that high. Unless you’ve got a very, very large account. Then you’re probably going to make multiple stops anyway.
Larry Towner,: One thing I always want to tell people about is, make sure you think about wheels. The wheels that you choose for your hand truck can make the difference between having an easy run and a difficult run. Years ago you had a choice of pneumatic wheels, or you had a choice of hard wheels. Hard wheels were great if you were on hard surfaces all the time, on asphalt or concrete. And pneumatic wheels were great if you were off road at all. If you went across grass at all you generally wanted pneumatic wheels. Today there’s also these never flat wheels. And the no flat wheels are kind of the best of both worlds. They work like a hard wheel, and they work like a soft pneumatic wheel as well. They’re relatively expensive compared to a traditional wheel, but folks, if you need to change the wheels on your hand trucks try those out, the never flat styles. And there’s many, many available at many different retail sources. Tom, to you have any questions about hand trucks?
Tom Shivers: Yeah, I mean there’s so many different ones. Are there any in particular that you like or recommend?
Larry Towner,: I recommend you buy a good quality aluminum hand truck. Either a Magliner or Wesco. There are some other brands that are just as fine, some of them have interchangeable parts with either of those two. But you want a good quality aluminum one. You want an aluminum hand cart largely because, on a day-in, and day-out basis you have to move that hand truck a lot. You’re going to be pulling it in and out of the vehicle all the time. I’ve run with steel ones, I’ve done it. I’m going to tell you, it works. They work just fine. End of the day, they’re heavy, they’ll tire you out. An aluminum one is light, it will pull off [inaudible 00:05:14]. A couple of things to be aware, aluminum does wear so be careful scraping it on concrete and things like that. As far as actually dragging the metal on the concrete. But I always say buy an aluminum hand truck. Handle choices? I’ve used rings, I’ve used handles. I personally like rings, or a loop style. But then again, it’s a personal choice. If you like the handles, get the handles. Other questions?
Tom Shivers: No, that’s great. Well, I guess that’s all the time we have for now. We’re going to talk about a basic toolkit next.
Larry Towner,: Yes, we’re going to do a discussion on what your basic tools for a vending operator or going to be as far as, if you’re going to be a single owner/operator there are certain tools you’re going to need to have with you all the time, and we’ll go over a basic toolkit for that application in the next show.
Tom Shivers: All right, if you want to get more good vending business tips like this, be sure to subscribe. And you’ve been watching Vending Operator Tools Choosing Hand Trucks on The Vending Business Show, a publication of A&M Equipment Sales.