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5 Things to keep in mind before buying a transport van

There are around 29 million vans on roads of the EU today and in 2016 alone, around 2.2 million vans were produced in the same region. This is not surprising: vans are key players in the logistics chain; they are the main ‘last mile’ transporter of goods in urban areas and an essential business tool for SME’s across the world. For hauliers in particular, vans are the bread and butter of their daily operations. This means that it’s crucial for them to buy the most suitable van for their business’ needs. This is easier said than done: as a haulier, deciding on the best transport van for you from the wide range available can be a complex task if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. When choosing a new van, it’s important to be crystal clear, therefore, on the specification requirements of your ideal vehicle in order to ensure that you choose the best option for your operational needs. We’ll take a brief look at some of the variables you should consider when selecting your business’ van:

Why are vans a good option?

A van can be defined as a medium-sized motor vehicle - sometimes referred to as a light commercial vehicle - typically without side windows in the rear part, that is designed and used for transporting goods. Vans are known for their durability and ability to carry many heavy goods. They are built to withstand a lot and are expected to last a long time. This makes them reliable modern-day ‘workhorses’. So, what factors should you take into account in order to find your perfect van?

Some factors to consider when buying a Van

The Main Players in the Van Market

  • Ford
  • Mercedes
  • Volkswagen
  • Vauxhall
  • Peugeot
  • Mitsubishi

1.Return on investment


Buying a van involves making an investment and, as with any investment, it is essential to make sure that you are going to get your money’s worth out of the purchased asset throughout its lifetime. This means that you should think at least 10 years down the line and, perhaps using a programme like Excel, integrate the purchase into your existing business model and strategy figures to see if it will be profitable down the line.

2.New vs. Second Hand?

New vans are clearly going to be higher-spec than those that are second hand. However, you can still find many used vans in great condition, if you’re willing to be judicious in your search. First of all, do your research and identify the exact van type you are looking to buy. When you find appropriate vans, ask the previous owner questions about its previous usage and carry out your own extensive checks - both online and in-person - regarding the history and current state of the van. This will ensure that your new (old) van doesn’t break down within the first few days of use.

3.Assessing Route-Type Suitability


Before buying any transport vehicle, you’ll have to take into account the kind of routes you will be using it for. This is particularly crucial when it comes to assessing van manoeuvrability. For example, if the routes will be shorter and the vehicle will have to pass through narrow streets for local deliveries, then high manoeuvrability will be absolutely key and you may want to opt for a smaller vehicle. On the other hand, if the chosen routes are longer or involve using motorways, then vehicle manoeuvrability and size is less important. For this type of journey, rigid or longer trucks could be a better option as they are more durable and adapted to longer journeys than their smaller counterparts.


Low emission vans, which use alternative fuels to diesel or are electric, can lower day-to-day running costs and reduce your business’ environmental impact, particularly if you own more than one van. This is very important in regions where there is now legislation on vehicle emissions, such as congestion charges and emission limits, that could result in fines if your emissions are too high. Newer vans tend to be more eco-friendly; indeed, the average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of new vans registered in the European Union (EU) in 2017 were 4.7% lower than in 2016. Therefore, it’s crucial to pay attention to the environmental standards of the van model you’re purchasing; manufacturers should provide extensive information about this.

5.Financing Options

As we mentioned in last week’s article, you don’t have to buy a van to use it, you can also rent or lease it. In Spain, for instance, around 90% of the time, leasing or renting is used to acquire a transport truck or light vehicle. These options can be more advantageous than buying: the lease or rental contract often covers maintenance or repair work and you have access to the newest models. Indeed, with leasing in particular, there’s even the option to buy the vehicle over time. Moreover, both options allow you to deduct the entire value of the vehicle as a tax expense, reducing the overall cost of the van-use greatly.

As an essential tool of most European SME’s, vans arguably power the European economy, helping businesses across the continent and beyond to thrive. As a haulier, a van is your prized possession, so picking the right one is absolutely essential to ensuring that your company’s operations run smoothly on a day to day basis. Use this guide to help you find the van for you in no time at all!

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