Tips on how to make an efficient install area.
By Jared Smith
In Arizona, our shop is fortunate enough to have pretty nice weather all year long – but even with our near-perfect climate, we can't install outdoors. So we were forced to build a functioning install bay to provide the space, the tools, and the environment that suits the needs of our craft.
Over the years, we have definitely learned quite a great deal about the details that make for an efficient install area. By no means do we have it perfect, and we still have quite a few items on our wish list – but by taking the time to think through some layout options (and by making a few mistakes in the process), we’ve seen our install bays improve dramatically and produce favorable results.
Starting from the outside and working our way in, let’s take a quick review of some key areas to keep in mind when laying out a new install bay or upgrading the one you have.
Approach and enter
You might think a good install bay starts with a big rollup door, but I can tell you it actually begins a few hundred feet farther back than the door: the approach area.
If your shop has the ability to design and produce graphics for larger vehicles like buses, motor coaches, race haulers, RVs, tractor trailers, and boats, you must think about the approach and turning radius of these longer vehicles when deciding on a building or roll-door location. After all, if the driver can’t make a tight turn, has to accommodate a steep hill, or deal with some other obstacle, it doesn’t matter if the door is big enough or not.
In many cases you’ll be working with professional drivers, and they’ll expect a little bit of professional thinking to have occurred before you tell them to head on over. If the approach to your install bay is easy to maneuver, you’ll gain favor from these types of clients all the while making for a safer entrance and exit for their vehicles.