Information Technology Tools | Main Tool Bag | Tool Loadout | Make Money as a Freelance IT Tech

This video covers how I organize my main tool bag in my work vehicle as a Freelance Information Technology Technician. I found these Dewalt DG5543 16 inch toolbags are a great bag with external and internal pockets. I have been an independent tech for over 20 years and this is how I keep myself organized and efficient out in the field so I maximize my billable hours.

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I have been in the freelance IT tech industry since 2000, on Field Nation since 2010, and on Work Market since 2011. Field Tech Academy wants to give you the secrets of 20+ years of experience how you can succeed as an Independent IT Field Tech.

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Video Transcript:

Hello, this is Michael with Field Tech Academy. In today’s video, we’re going to be talking about my main tool bag that I use for my IT field work. This is how I organize myself to try to have the most important things with me when I go into a job site.

I know so many of my videos have Dewalt things in them. I’m not sponsored by them. They’d be nice. When I find something that works, I like to just stick with it. The reason I like this tool bag is because number one, it’s pretty good size, but you can go too big as well. If you get something too big, then it’s a lot to carry into every job site.

So I like this size. I like the fact that it has external pockets of different sizes as well as a Velcro pouch, and instead of just being a hollow shell, there are pockets on the inside. Because if you just have a hollow shell, then all your tools are just going to fall down and be at the bottom. You gotta dig through them every single time, which happens

enough with this, but at least with this, I have some pockets where I can insert things into. In my main tool bag, I keep my hip pouch, which I showed in another video. That way I can just grab this if I think that’s all I need. But I also have a bunch of other bigger things that I take when I’m doing any kind of cabling or a little bit more advanced work.

Here’s an overall view of what I do keep in my main tool bag. Of course, at the bottom of my tool bag are a bunch of random patch cables and power cables and screws and bolts and all that kind of stuff. But these are the key tools that I think that every tech should have in their main tool bag.

It’s always good to keep a good drywall saw on hand, so you can cut into drywall to make your wall plate holes. It’s always good to keep a pair of pliers on hand. I do have a pair of needle nose that I keep in my hip pouch. Of course, regular pliers are very important. In my hip pouch, I keep a pair of electrical scissors.

Most of the time I don’t need side cutters, but I do keep a pair of side cutters in my main tool bag just in case I need to cut something a little thicker. Speaking of cutting something thicker, you want to keep a pair of heavy duty cutters in case you need to cut ground wire or something a little thicker.

You’re going to need something like this to do that. And these are really cheap on Amazon. By the way. I’ll put links to all these tools that are available on Amazon in the description. So you can go take a look at them. I’ll have a shopping list for you that make it easy for you. Some of these things aren’t available on Amazon.

Obviously those won’t be listed. In my hit pouch, I’ve got a standard multi tip screwdriver. Even though I have a full size screwdriver in my hip pouch. I do like to keep short screwdrivers, Phillips and flat. That way I can get into tight spaces if I need to. In my main tool bag. I keep an impact driver. I keep a good magnetic tip in here so I have quick change ability.

Of course, Phillips is the most common thing that I use. I’ve got that, but I also have my backup flathead if I need it, which obviously I don’t use very often with all that rust on it. Gotta love it. And in my drill bag, which I’ll show you next, I keep my actual hammer drill for heavy duty drilling.

Another standard tool that I really like to keep on hand is a magnetic one foot level. I like the ones that now have LED lights in these, so they light up so you can see them really clearly. Those are nice, but one foot level is really good. And then in the van I actually keep a three foot level so that I can really level out long distance things.

I like to keep two testers. I’ve got one in my hip pouch, and I have one of my main tool bag when I’m doing a bigger job. That way I’ve got two remotes and two testers. That way it makes my life easier going back and forth between rooms. If you’re doing any kind of telco, you’re going to need a butt set, and I just took a standard phone cord, zip tied it around my alligator clip cable.

That way I would have both, because there’s times you’re going to need to plug in alligator clips or switch out to the phone cable. And of course, safety is number one. So you want to make sure that you have a good pair of safety goggles. I know we’re techs, but sometimes a hammer is the thing for the job.

Yes, I know my hammer is small, but it’s not the size of your hammer, it’s how you use it, right? You don’t need hammers that much, but when you need one, a hammer of some sort will be nice to have on hand. Another thing I like to have in my main tool bag is a terminating tool that allows you to terminate all eight conductors at the same time.

This particular one here for Dynacom Keystone’s. Obviously if you prefer Levitan or Panduit or whoever, most of the brands offer tools like this to be able to crimp all eight pairs on a keystone at one time. These things are life savers when you’re doing big jobs. If you’re doing a one off or whatever, you can punch it down.

But man, on big jobs, your carpal tunnel will thank you. This little set is a lifesaver. You can get these at Harbor Freight or Amazon, and they’re like ten, $15 max. This thing has 100 different bits in it. A lot of security tips, because in this industry you’re going to be dealing with a lot of security bits. You want those multiple sizes.

You’ve got stars, allen style, of course additional flatheads and Phillips. Keep in mind though, these are not rated for impact. So you do not want to put these into your impact and really go to town on something. These are really more just so you have different size options when you need something larger or smaller than what your standard screwdriver will have.

All right. I fully recognize that I am a little OCD, but you don’t want to lose this piece of foam. If you do, and you seal this up and you throw this in your van and it gets bounced around, these little tips are going to float around in this case, and you’re going to have to sort through 100 tips when you want to find something.

If you keep this, then those tips will stay where they’re supposed to be. And you’ll also notice that I marked this. “open this side”. Don’t open this side. Because again, you flip that up and you open it up, (boom), 100 tips on the ground. It’ll make your day. Another thing you want to have on hand is a label maker.

With these IT field tech jobs, they want you to label things with a printed label. They don’t want you to use a sharpie and handwrite labels. I know some of you old school guys are going to laugh at me for carrying around a Dymo. This thing has a rechargeable lithium ion battery. I tried using other label makers that took Triple A’s or Double A’s, and man, I was spending out the wazoo to keep batteries in the thing.

So I love the fact that it’s rechargeable. They’re affordable enough that you can beat them to a pulp, and you don’t have to stress about it, and you can replace them easily. They have memory, so you can actually save nine different sets of labels on here. This is a Dymo label manager 280 has a rechargeable battery, lithium ion in it, and it takes a very standard D1 label cartridge like these little guys.

And of course, there’s a million times you’re going to be needing to measure something. Do you want a good sturdy tape measure? I personally like something that is higher quality. You want to be able to really push this out at a distance without it folding over. So spend a little money and get a decent tape measure. It doesn’t have to be Dewalt. It can be any brand you like. I showed this in one of my previous videos, but in case you didn’t see that in my main tool bag, I keep a battery bin, triple A’s, Double A’s, nine volts, the Cr2032 batteries, which are your standard computer Bios batteries, and these are also used in a lot of other

items. My cable tester takes for these little disc batteries. I don’t like buying things at retail price so I get on Amazon. I buy like a big pile of these all at once. It’s nice to keep them on hand so that I swap these out and I keep moving on. Like I said, I’m trying to do what I can to stay on a job site making money, cranking up those billable hours.

I don’t want to be leaving site to go buy batteries or spending retail price to buy 1 or 2 batteries at a retail store. I buy all this stuff in bulk. You know, we do a lot of drilling, TV mounting, cutting into walls to do wall plates and wall fishes. So you want to have a good stud finder so that you can try to avoid cutting where the studs are.

Another thing that you’re going to need in the networking world and telephony world is a tone and tray set. These I’ve had really good success with. This is one of your pricier items. If you’re not familiar with the tone and trace set, you will turn this on. You’ve got your banana clips, or you’ll have an RJ 11 sized plug, which can be used to tone RJ 45 as well because it just goes down the center pins.

Your trace will sound like this. Now, I don’t like that tone because when you’re in a closet or working on a 66 block wall, you’ll have a lot of interference that’ll sound similar to that. It just doesn’t help. So I like to put it on the alternating tone. That’s pretty distinctive. When you find that, you know you’ve got your cable.

Now with this, you’ll see that it is a female plug. There are times you’re going to only have a female plug to connect to. A female doesn’t connect a female. So I like to get one of these little jumpers that is female on both ends. RJ 45. This allows you to connect up certain pieces of equipment when you need to run a cable test on it.

The last thing that I keep in my main tool bag is my hip pouch. I set this up so that in theory, I can carry most basic things so I may not have to carry in my full tool bag if I’m just troubleshooting a cable or re terminating or something like that. I like this because it’s got Velcro, so this will go over…

You can slide this over your belt without having to take your belt off. I keep basic things like precision screwdriver, crimper, punch down, cable tester, screwdriver with multi tips. Needle nose, some zip ties, a great flashlight, scissors, box knife, pencil for drawing instead of using a sharpie, cable stripper, and an industrial style Sharpie. These tips survive so much better out in the wild

than Sharpie brands. So that’s the tool bag that I keep all of my most commonly used items in. I have a second tool bag that I use for my more heavy duty cutting things, and I’ll show you that in the next video. If you got value today from what I shared, please like the video and subscribe to the channel so that you can be alerted whenever I release new videos.

And be sure to check out my website at fieldtechacademy.com. I offer one on one coaching to help technicians like yourself, and I have some downloads available for purchase that can really accelerate your journey to be a full time freelance tech. As always, let’s get you out in the field making money. I’ll see you in the next video.

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