As a Midwest City, Okla., employee, Technician Cole Davis get $1,200 per year to purchase tools.
 - Photo courtesy of Midwest City

As a Midwest City, Okla., employee, Technician Cole Davis get $1,200 per year to purchase tools.

Photo courtesy of Midwest City

What's in a toolbox? If your fleet offers a tool allowance for technicians instead of a provided set, you must make sure they have the right tools.

Snohomish County Fleet Services in Washington provides a tool allowance for employees and requires its technicians to bring their own tools, typically up to the 1-inch combination wrench and ½-inch drive socket range for automotive technicians. The required tools would be “all the standard tools you need to do probably 90% of the work on a passenger car or light-duty pickup,” said Director/County Fleet Manager Roy Scalf. The fleet provides specialty tools in the tool room.

Examples of tools required in technician toolboxes include:

  • ¼-inch, 3/8-inch, and ½-inch-drive socket sets
  • full screwdriver sets
  • pry bars
  • combination wrenches
  • hammers
  • punches
  • plyers.
Snohomish County in Washington provides a tool allowance, which its fleet manager believes is a cost-effective solution.
 - Photo courtesy of Snohomish County

Snohomish County in Washington provides a tool allowance, which its fleet manager believes is a cost-effective solution.

Photo courtesy of Snohomish County

Midwest City, Okla. provides an allowance for techs to purchase their own tools, but it supplies tools such as ¾-inch socket sets and larger. The city also provides personal protective equipment, mechanics’ gloves, rubber gloves, uniforms, cold weather gear, steel-toed boots, jacks and jack stands, a personal Portacool fan, and electronic hand-held testers.

“We don’t want to make it sound like we’re saying, ‘You can’t work here if you don’t have $50,000 worth of tools.’ That’s definitely not the case,” said Craig Davis, transportation manager.

Do you provide tools or offer a tool allowance? We spoke to fleets about the pros and cons of both methods. Read the full story below.

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