June 27, 2017 at 9:02 AM
You can't even start until you know your budget. Whether it is a business or a personal purchase, you need to work out how you are paying for the van and where the money is coming from. If you are planning on using credit facilities, then explore as many options as possible to make sure that you get the best deal.
Vans come in all shapes and sizes, so you need to have a clear idea of what you will be carrying. Think about weight as well as dimensions – VOSA stops hundreds of overloaded vans every year, and as well as being a danger to your life and those of your fellow motorists, you can end up facing fines and other penalties. Better to get it right up front and have a van that is suitable for the task.
The purchase price is one thing, but the costs don't end there. Research fuel economy, insurance rates and road tax as well as the price of servicing and parts to make sure that you do not end up owning a money pit.
If the van is your livelihood, then any day that it is out of action is like money pouring out of your wallet. Check online reviews and speak to other van owners to get an idea of any reliability issues. Also, look after your van, and it will look after you. Don't stint on routine maintenance, such as checking the oil and water regularly, and get it serviced at the recommended intervals.
Whether you're a “man with a van” or part of a large organisation, your wheels serve as a rolling advert and say plenty about you and your business.
Where will your van be going? If you are driving up and down the country on motorways, then you need something that can cruise at high speeds comfortably and economically, whereas for short trips around town, a smaller power unit will be far more cost effective. Are you driving in London? Don't forget that the Ultra Low Emission Zone will come into force in 2020, so you will need something that meets the Euro 6 emissions standard.
Vehicle safety standards have increased enormously over recent years, but there are some gadgets, such as rear cameras and hill-hold assist, that can reduce the risk of accidents even further.
If you see a bargain that looks just too good to be true, then it probably is. Saving £1000 off the list price on a van that almost meets your needs could cost you more in the long run if the payload is insufficient or the fuel economy is worse compared with something that costs a little more to purchase.
Finally, this is your purchase, and you will be spending hours behind the wheel, so do you like it? Do not underestimate the importance of this factor and make sure that you spend plenty of time comparing driving positions and the overall feel of the van so that you drive away with a smile on your face.