Every time you choose a van for your business, you make dozens of decisions. Some may be conscious choices, some almost automatic – and some may get overlooked. To help ensure you don’t miss a thing, we’ve put together a checklist of the 15 key considerations for making the best possible van choice to meet your needs.
The Fleet Choice checklist
The considerations below will help you identify the optimum type of van for your drivers, your fleet, your business and your bottom line.
Vehicle payload can have a direct impact on profitability and costs. For example, moving up a van size within a manufacturer’s range can increase fuel consumption by up to 30%, whereas loading a smaller van with its full payload only leads to a 9-10% increase.1
1. Energy Saving Trust research for Department of Transport
If you frequently transport long, high or fragile loads, opting for a non-standard van with racking tailored to your needs, or a special conversion, could benefit efficiency and productivity.
The longer the wheelbase, the larger the load area. Don’t pay a premium to carry around empty space. But remember there’s nothing worse than a load that’s too big.
Depending on the loads you will be carrying, you may want a higher roof than standard. However, vehicle height restrictions could limit your access with a taller van.
Will the van be used by a lone driver, driver and passenger, or a crew? Extra rows of seats and double cabs are just two options you could consider.
Rear access, side access, or a combination? Loads and loading methods (by forklift, for example) may affect your choice. Also consider hinged or sliding doors.
Fuel efficiency, legislation, taxation and even your CSR policies should inform your fuel choice.
If your business or your typical van route is within a low emission zone, an electric or hybrid van could deliver sizeable cost benefits. Location may also affect your choice of van size (for example: availability of parking space).
An attractive low monthly payment for leasing may not save you money in the long-run. Whole Life Costs need to be taken into account for a true picture.
Forming an important component of WLC [see left], service and maintenance costs can vary widely between vehicles.
A van with a gross vehicle weight of more than 3.5 tonnes must be fitted with a tachograph, and drivers’ hours and break times are then legally defined.
Van make and model, and even fuel type, can reflect positively or negatively on the image of your business.
Most fleet leasing companies offer a range of services, from roadside assistance to administrative support. These can play a significant role in reducing vehicle downtime and increasing cost-efficiency.
The choice of van for your fleet is ultimately yours. But you don’t have to live and work with that decision every day. Drivers do, so their opinion should count.