As a self-employed van driver, your vehicle is one of your most important tools. In fact, we can even go as far as to say that choosing a vehicle is one of the most important decisions that will have to make because it will have an impact on almost every aspect of your daily job. With so many different vehicle models being available, choosing the right one can quickly become tricky. In this post, we will be taking a closer look at the different things that you need to take into consideration when choosing your next delivery vehicle and, hopefully, make your choice a bit easier. Read on to discover more.
This is most likely the most important consideration because the size of the vehicle also determines the type and number of packages that you can transport. Usually, a larger van is a good option because it allows you to transport a more varied selection of goods but having a bigger van can also come with a few drawbacks. To start with, larger vans are often more difficult to manoeuvre through city traffic and finding parking can be challenging. With this in mind, its worth be considering using a smaller van when you mainly make deliveries in a tight city environment. Unfortunately, when it comes to delivery vans, there is no one size fits all option. This means that it is important to objectively look at your daily deliveries and then decide on a van that works best for the type of goods that you deliver most often. Also, remember to take the height of the vehicle into consideration, some vehicles offer a “hump roof” and this is an excellent option for when you need to transport tall items upright.
Once you have decided on the van that works the best for you, it is important to shop around for the best price. The temptation to start off with a brand-new van purchased directly from the dealer is always there but remember that you are running a business and, therefore, must be sensible when it comes to costs. It is often possible to find excellent second-hand vehicles that can be bought for much less than new models. However, always do as much research as you can about the specific vehicle that you are interested in before making an offer. This includes making sure that the vehicle has a good service record and that it has been maintained well. The last thing that you need is to buy a cat in the bag.
Financing and Insurance Options
In many cases, self-employed van drivers opt to purchase a delivery vehicle via a leasing agreement or other form of credit. Since many financial institutions work closely with vehicle dealers, it might be worth your while to find out if your financial institution has any special offers available for van drivers who are in need of a van. In addition to this, financial institutions often work with insurance providers to give clients access to a one-stop solution that includes both financing and insurance. Opting for such a package makes it easier for a self-employed van driver to start delivering packages and earning some money as soon as possible. However, do check the specific terms and conditions of any leasing agreement carefully before accepting it. Many leasing agreements stipulate the number of annual kilometres that are included in the lease costs and exceeding this amount can be costly. Since delivery drivers can often cover several thousands of kilometres per year, this is an important consideration.
Fuel Economy and Maintenance Costs
Remember that vehicles also come with recurring costs, and it is important to evaluate these before making a purchase. By reducing your running expenses as much as possible, you can increase your profits. Since fuel will be one of your biggest running expenses, it is extremely important to look for a frugal vehicle that consumes as little fuel as possible. Also remember to take maintenance costs into account, which includes replacing consumable items such as tyres. Every small cost adds up in the end so taking the time to look for a vehicle that offers a good balance between practicality, versatility and efficiency is critical if you want to run a successful business. It is also important to look at the total cost of ownership of the vehicle, meaning that you should calculate the maintenance costs per kilometre based on the expected lifecycle of the vehicle. This might sound complicated but it can be done relatively easily and it gives you the vital information that you need to make the right choice.
Electric Vs. Fossil Fuel
An ever-growing number of self-employed van drivers are considering switching to electrically driven delivery vehicles. In response to this, vehicle manufacturers have been introducing more electrically driven delivery vehicles that offer several excellent advantages. While it is true that electric vehicles are more expensive to purchase, they have much lower running costs than their fossil-fuel counterparts. In addition, the governments of several countries are offering various subsidies which are designed to make it easier for people to switch to electric vehicles. If you are frequently making short trips in a city environment, an electric delivery van can offer a lot and is well worth considering. On the other hand, electric vehicles do still have several limitations and they might not be well suited to longer trips or deliveries in remote areas that do not have readily available charging points. The easiest way to find out if an electric vehicle is a right choice for you is to take a look at your average delivery roster. If you make frequent short trips in large cities, an electric vehicle is almost certain to be beneficial to you.
If you require special modifications such as a loading track or refrigerated compartment to make your deliveries, it is important to make sure that the vehicle you have in mind can easily accommodate the required modifications. While this is usually only applicable to larger vehicles such as lorries, there are speciality vans that can be used to deliver refrigerated goods in congested city centres. If you require these types of modifications, it is important to make sure that the van you are interested in can handle them because needing to make major changes after you have purchased the vehicle can be a very expensive exercise.
Many delivery drivers opt to have their vehicles branded so that they stand out amongst other delivery vehicles. Branding is a good way to give your delivery service its own unique twist and character, but it is also another expense that you need to keep in mind when making your financial calculations. Aside from this, you should also confirm that any delivery agreements that you might have in place with your customers do not prohibit personalised branding on your delivery vehicle.
As a self-employed van driver, there is no more important tool than your vehicle and choosing the right one is one of the most important decisions that you will have to make. Delivery vans come in all shapes and sizes, so you should take the time to carefully evaluate your needs and make a decision based on the results of this evaluation. Remember to take all the costs, both obvious and hidden, into consideration when choosing your delivery vehicle as this will ensure that you don’t have any headaches from hidden surprises further down the road. While it may sound tricky, choosing the right vehicle for your business becomes easy when you follow these simple tips.