Keeping Your Cell Phone Handy on Site

Installers share ideas for keeping your cell phone handy on site, but safe from being dropped or lost. May 28, 2010

Iím wondering what size phone everyone uses and where you put it when in the shop. If I clip it to my belt it gets in the way of the tape measure. If itís in my pocket itís more likely to fall out, like my last one just did. The bigger phones take up more space, have a lot more features and pretty much are limited to clipping to belt. It makes bending over more difficult and gets in the way of the seat belt. The small ones seem to be more slippery and get beat up. Does anyone have any thoughts?

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor D:
I had Motorola clamshells until 2004 when I changed to a Treo. The clamshells were nice, small and durable. I thought the Treo would be a good idea, eliminating my PDA which I always left all over the jobsite. It's too awkward to use on a jobsite, you can do too much with it, none of it well. If I want to download emails or surf I bring a laptop. I keep the Treo in my briefcase, without a sim card and use it to track time and expenses. I'm back to a Motorola VA76R, I just want a basic, bulletproof phone.

From contributor C:
I keep mine in the van. The cell phone is the biggest productivity buster ever introduced to the jobsite. You can burn up several hours a day if you consider the time it takes to get back on track after being interrupted. I don't see the need to be constantly available. I'd love to hear some reasons why we need to always have a cell phone on our person on the jobsite.

From contributor G:
I have the Motorola Razr. I keep it in the coin pocket of my work jeans. Out of the way, stays put, easy access. Only thing I don't like about it is the speakerphone isn't loud enough. I use it to connect my laptop to the internet also.

From contributor J:
If you wear carpenter jeans that have a pocket on the side of the leg you can fit just about any phone in there, without it falling out ever, unless you are hanging upside down.

From contributor S:
I have a semi-rugged Samsung flip phone that I toss into the nearest tool box or work station when Iím at work so I can hear when it rings but I rarely answer it. I'll answer it if I am expecting a call but most times I let it go to voicemail and only check it a few times during the day to return any important calls. Itís true that a cell phone can totally ruin the flow and momentum of a working crew. I try to keep its distractions to a minimum when I work but sometimes being easy to reach can be a selling point for new customers or GC's. Itís a delicate balance.

From contributor T:
I use a Bluetooth. Put your phone on the window sill and work away. You can also work and use both hands when on a call.

From the original questioner:
I also have a Bluetooth, and just didn't think of using it that way. The key is putting the phone down rather than trying to carry it while working. Thanks for the idea which now seems so obvious. As regards getting phone calls, I try to make myself available to my customers. There are a lot of complaints about contractors being hard to reach, and my customers always comment that I'm easy to reach. This is a good thing, though sometimes it does interrupt the flow of work but I'd rather get the call.

From contributor D:
I work in commercial so I have a rolling tool bench. I keep my phone in a drawer in the bench most of the day when I'm on the tools. I check for messages regularly, usually when I'm walking around the site. I have distinctive rings for important callers so I make an effort to grab those calls or I can tell if it's a family member. Even if the phone's on my hip I let it ring through to the message so I can manage my calls. We use two way radios for communication on the job site.

From contributor R:
I use the iPhone in a Sumo Strap from FastCap. The Sumo Strap can adjust to fit a wide range of sizes. You can use it for tapes, phones, whatever. My phone and pliers/pen case sit on my left hip, my tape can then clip to the right side.