LARGE trades vans are the real workhorses of the UK roads and adaptable for all sorts of business, whether it’s removals, parcel delivery or white goods etc.
Like any vehicle for your business, you need to start by looking at what you need the van for and how it is going to be used.
The important thing with a large trades van is weight.
The gross vehicle weight is the absolute total legal weight of the vehicle, so be careful about the loads you carry, it’s as much about weight as bulk – the bigger the van, the more it weighs without any cargo.
Following the arrival of Euro 6 emissions standards, most larger vans have seen an increase in this basic kerb weight figure due to to the addition of an AdBlue tank needed to meet this legal requirement – this does mean a reduction in payload capacity.
Once you understand this, there are plenty of vans to chose from.
Our recommendation: The winner of the Business Vans Best Large Trades Van – Volkswagen Transporter T28 low roof 2.0 TDI
Despite just 102hp from the 2.0-litre TDI motor, the Transporter’s 250Nm of torque makes light work of shifting away from the traffic lights up to legal urban speeds aided and abetted by a comparatively sylph-like gross weight of just 2,800kgs.
Compact it may be, but most business users will be satisfied with a 5,800-litre load volume even in this low roof version which adds the urban advantage of being able to enter most multi-storey car parks.
There’s a good list of standard kit on this van which boasts driver’s retractable armrests, aforementioned infotainment, connectivity, parking sensors and cruise control, multi-adjustable driver’s seat, body-coloured bumpers, heat insulating glass, rear parking sensors, ABS, post collision braking, electronic differential lock and traction control.
AN SME is often looking for one van to do everything, but larger businesses and fleet managers may be looking for a mix of vehicles to meet a wide range of needs.
Everyone, however, will be looking at fuel economy, maintenance and insurance costs to make sure that they are making the right investment for their business.
The range of vans on the roads these days is pretty big.
Clearly payload will be important if you have to carry lots of heavy tools and materials, but you will also want to measure that against fuel economy and handling if you are covering many miles a week.
For the building trade, panel vans have payloads of around one tonne and with rear and side sliding doors loading stuff in and out is made easy.
Plumbers need their van to be big enough to carry the tools and materials they need but also small enough to fit on the front drive at home, again the panel van is often the perfect choice.
With interior racking options and extras like lockable roof storage for expensive copper piping, the plumbers van has to be a mobile tool store.
Security for those expensive materials is essential and the fuel economy and handling of the medium van suits those who do a lot of driving but don’t want to compromise on space.
Electricians need balance need for load space but may also need to add a roof rack for ladders and lockable pipe tubes.
Carpenters effectively require a mobile shed so flexibility and space is vital and the panel van will do the job.
High roof options can add a new dimension while a long wheelbase version will provide even more space to comfortably carry tools and materials.
Decorators have the dilemma of either going for a larger van with more space for ladders and boards or a smaller van for driving around the streets.
Space will usually win – however much room you have, you will fill it.
Landscapers and gardeners often need to transport a lot of heavy tools including lawn mowers, chain saws, stone cutters etc so a big, a hard-wearing van is essential.
Once you have decided on a large trades van, bear in mind that VED and insurance might be more expensive than a small van although insurance is based on a number of factors.
On-going maintenance costs are also important. Research the costs of parts and maintenance and look for deals that offer extended warranties or other benefits.
The commercial van market is very competitive and sometimes these extras make a real difference. A relationship with a dealer or garage is important so get to know who you’re dealing with.