In a previous blog, we looked at how your type of business affects the size and style of van you might choose, particularly taking into account the size and weight of the items you need to transport, the distance and areas you work as well as your motor trade insurance needs.
Vans on the market come in all shapes and sizes to suit every business from a courier delivering small parcels, a furniture removal business needing additional space, a caterer looking for a temperature-controlled vehicle or a minibus operator looking for a customisable minivan.
Here we take a closer look at the range of commercial work vehicles you could choose when selecting a van for your small business.
Of all the vehicles, panel vans are the most versatile and widespread on Britain’s roads. They are popular among many trades from builders, plumbers and electricians to couriers, caterers and other smaller delivery businesses. Easy to drive and manoeuvre, they are available in many variants and wheelbases, with rear and side doors for loading options.
The most popular panel van is the Ford Transit. It comes in a variety of sizes for small to mid-sized loads and can be modified to suit most businesses with sliding side doors, additional seating, shelving, windows, cages and a range of additional accessories for safety and comfort.
Suited for sole traders and smaller item deliveries, small panel vans include the Ford Transit Connect, Citroen Berlingo, Volkswagen Caddy and Vauxhall Combo Cargo. These are favoured by trades with low load requirements including plumbers, photographers and florists.
According to Auto Express, some of the top medium-sized panel vans for 2020 include the very popular Ford Transit Custom, Volkswagen Transporter 6.1, Mercedes Vito, Renault Trafic, Vauxhall Vivaro and Citroen Dispatch.
These include much larger payloads and load space with popular models as the Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, Volkswagen Crafter, Vauxhall Movano and Citroen Relay.
A Luton is a van cab and chassis with a large box at the rear which extends over the cab for additional storage space. Also known as a box van, it’s the most common type of van hired out for house removals and the 3.5 tonne weight class can be driven on a regular driving licence.
The Luton van has less of a payload limit than most large Transit vans but is ideal for movers because the rear loading area is a perfect box without wheel arches. Most Luton vans are also wider than a panel van but have only rear loading access.
Flatbed Trucks and Pickups
Flatbeds and pickups are a similar concept to Luton vans, but the load bed is exposed so ideal for cargo that doesn’t need to be enclosed for security purposes or to protect it from the weather. Flatbeds are popular for scrap collection and furniture or equipment deliveries. Pickup trucks have grown in popularity in recent years for both business and leisure and come in either two- or four-wheel drive versions. Ideal for transporting smaller equipment such as for landscape gardeners or agricultural use and can easily be used with trailers.
The crew van offers the most economical way to transport crews around jobs or even to ferry fee paying passengers. It has the same dimensions as a regular panel van, but the side panels are replaced with windows and the cargo section with seat rows. Seat to cargo space also varies between models and many combi or crew vans include stowable seats to boost cargo space further. Popular crew vans include the Renault Trafic and the Ford Transit Custom Minibus.
When selecting a van that suits your needs, you may find a vehicle that is fully fitted out for the right price, but it is just as likely you will need to factor modifications into your budget. Remember also that you need to let your insurance broker know of any modifications you make as this could affect your premium or worse, make your policy invalid.