What you need to know when choosing a commercial vehicle

If you’re thinking of buying a commercial vehicle, then there are few things you should think about. Of course, buying commercial vehicles is in many ways similar to buying cars. However, there are a some considerations that are different. The very fact that buying a van or other commercial vehicle means effectively buying the key to your livelihood in many cases, instantly puts a different spin on things. You can perhaps afford to take risks with buying cars that you simply can’t with commercial vehicles. Here are some key things to think about:

Value for money
If you are buying a van as a business asset, then you need to factor it into your general business costs. The first, and most obvious, consideration is – can I afford it? If you’re replacing a van that has had its day, then the answer is probably yes. After all, if you don’t have a business vehicle, you don’t have a business. If you are starting a new business, then provided you are being cautious with your start-up finance, then the answer is also probably yes, for the same reasons. They key is to buy the cheapest van you can that will meet your needs effectively, and is in good condition. It is also vitally important that on-going costs are factored in as well. Costs such as fuel, maintenance, insurance and depreciation all need to be taken into account, as they will affect the bottom line.

Think about what you are planning to use the van for. If you need to move large loads regularly, then make sure you can do so comfortably. If you’re likely to need to stand up in the van often, then get a high-top model, otherwise you’ll always be stooping. However, don’t get anything larger than you can accommodate. Think about where you will park it on a regular basis – will it fit? Some long wheel base vans won’t fit into standard parking spaces. Also check your driving licence. A standard car licence will only allow you to drive vehicles up to a certain weight (exactly what weight depends on when you passed your test).

Consider what you need your van to do, and then make sure it has the features to match. For example, if you drive a lot or your business tends to pick up in summer, then you might want air conditioning. If you are likely to leave your van parked on the street for long periods, or you might have valuable items in it, think about getting one with an alarm and immobiliser. There are a myriad of features available for commercial vehicles and so there should be a combination to suit every business.

The general condition of your van will obviously vary depending on its age and mileage. If you are just starting up in business and have little liquid capital, then it might make sense to get a cheap van in relatively poor condition at first, and then upgrade in a year when you can afford to. However, any van with serious problems such as non-cosmetic rust should be avoided, regardless of how tight your budget is. Always go for the best condition you can afford.

Article by Hartwell – Leading providers of commercial vehicles and vans.

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