If it’s time for you to invest in a larger or more modern van for your small business, you will need a clear idea of what to look out for when upgrading. From new to used, electric or petrol, and how to save against tax or your motor trade insurance, our guide will help you to invest wisely.
Spending on a new van is one of the biggest decisions a small business owner can make. Being an essential investment, it needs to fit the requirements of your company so you can get a good return for your business.
Here are some of the main questions that can help you to make the right decision on your van.
Can I Afford a New Van?
Whether you are purchasing your first van or upgrading from your existing vehicle, budget will be top of your list of priorities. Consider how much you have available to spend and whether you are looking for a new or used van. Think about the van insurance outlay, future maintenance and running costs. Is a finance package with monthly repayments, a lease agreement or business loan an option rather than purchasing the vehicle outright if money is tight right now?
What Loads Will You Need to Transport?
By considering your daily business needs, you will be able to assess the van that will be the most compatible. By calculating the size, weight and volume of the goods that you are transporting, you can begin to determine the load capacity. After budget considerations, the load capacity of your new van will be the biggest decision-making factor. When loading or driving a van, you need to be aware of the payload – the maximum load you can safely carry as specified by the manufacturer.
An overloaded van can be dangerous to drive, putting undue wear and tear on the van itself as well as increasing stopping distances and the likelihood of tipping. You could incur a fine and penalty points if found driving an overloaded vehicle.
What Load Space Do You Need?
Once you have assessed the weight you will be transporting, you will then need to work out the load space. This is the available space inside the van and is usually calculated in litres or square metres. Consider what length and height are best based on the tools, equipment and cargo you need to transport. The length of wheelbase will also determine the storage capacity and a van’s ease of manoeuvrability. Think about the height – van manufacturers offer roof heights of low, medium and high, and they don’t always come as standard, so it’s worth double checking.
How Do You Need to Access Your Cargo?
If you are transporting heavy loads, you may need access to the interior cargo using a fork-lift truck and therefore a rear-door opening van would be more suitable. Vans with tail lifts and ramps can also accommodate heavier items that need to be rolled or pushed, rather than lifted.
Those doing multiple deliveries in towns or urban areas might need to think about a city van with dual sliding side doors that allow for curb side access whether using it for deliveries or loading.
How Many Seats Will You Need?
Consider how many passengers you will carry both during business hours and in the evening or at weekends if you are using it with the family. You may need an additional row of seats, plus think about comfort and upgrading your seats if you are spending many hours driving.
What Type of Journeys Will You Do?
Some vans will be suited to shorter, urban trips while others perform better on long-distance motorway driving. If you are driving long distance, you will need to think about comfort – from leather seats to air conditioning, cruise control, sound system and cabin space. If the van is travelling on rougher tracks such as to agricultural or construction sites, you might look to invest in a sturdier van than can handle more difficult terrains.
If you only carry large loads occasionally, then it may be more economical to run a small van and hire something larger as and when you need it.
What is the Right Type of Van Insurance?
The costs of getting commercial van insurance are generally higher than for a car for many reasons including size, frequency of driving and distance travelled. It’s also likely you will require additional cover for tools and equipment or goods in transit insurance if you are a courier or removal company. Generally, the larger and more powerful the van, the higher the cost of your motor trade insurance.
In part two of this blog, we will look at the types of van on the market. If you are thinking of investing in an electric vehicle, take a look at our recent blog on the Best Electric Vans for 2020.