Published on Monday 18 March 2019 in Van News
It's often said that there isn't a bad van out there but, different trades need different things. A typical domestic builder or commercial building contractor in the UK needs a great combination of payload and body size (and, most importantly of all, plenty of room in the cab for coke bottles, sandwiches and newspapers!). It needs to be economical, reliable to avoid costly downtime, and project a really good image to prospective customers.
A Vanarama survey recently reported that 59% of those interviewed said that their confidence in a building company would be affected by the age of the vehicle being used so, whether or not he or she is using the best van, there's a clear advantage to it being new.
A medium sized panel van will fit the bill for most builders, but which is the most reliable medium sized van? Is the overall best panel van on the market also the best MWB van? Wouldn't it be better to get the best large van?
Why does a MWB van suit builders so well?
Weight. Bags of cement and bricks weigh 'loads' – and, at the end of the day are what a builder needs on site to carry out his work. With payloads of up to 1500kgs and typically being able to carry up to four pallets a MWB really is the perfect solution – although a LWB van will offer more loadspace, this can potentially encourage overloading – even the best large panel van can't prevent an operator from accidentally putting too much weight in his or her vehicle. Most MWB vans will allow a builder to carry the standard 8' x 4' sheets of board flat in the van, between the wheelarches.
Some builders like to 'customise' the interior of their van to suit their own specific needs – there are various van racking solutions available from companies specialising in this aspect and van racking kits can be ordered directly for DIY fitment. Metal van racking in particular is durable and can be transferred from an old van into a brand new one. Of course, basic ply lining is essential to protect the van from those nasty 'dings' from the inside out, and which can devalue a van faster than almost anything else.
So, which MWB vans are best suited to the builder? Here's some to consider:
- Ford Transit L3. An obvious choice, but, with a payload of up to 1375 kgs, an internal body length of almost 3.5 metres and packed with driver aids, it has to be considered.
- Mercedes-Benz Sprinter L2. With legendary reliability and, in its latest guise brimming with the latest technology (see our video review here) it's a drivers favourite. A payload of up to 1264kg and a capacity for four europallets ensures that its designed for work and not just a pretty face.
- Peugeot Boxer L3. Whilst maybe not the newest kid on the block, the Boxer has probably the highest payload of all the best builders vans at 1525kgs. Not only that, but with a load length of 3.7 metres (over 12 feet in old money) it can take longer loads with ease. Add to that the specification offered by the 'Professional' model, and Boxer is a really appealing prospect to the builder.
- Renault Master LWB. The rear wheel drive Master has a load length of well over 4 metres, a vital dimension for builders carrying kitchen worktops for example, but, the front wheel drive version has an impressive maximum payload of over 1400kgs.
Which are the best panel vans for signwriting?
Medium panel vans are a fantastic platform for advertising your business. If you need some builders van signwriting ideas look at these examples of van art, created by our lovely van leasing customers. It's a cheap, effective method of promotion, it makes your operation look professional and can be removed relatively easily when you're ready to change your van for a new one. Find out more about van signwriting with our top 5 tips article.
Tax benefits of new commercial vans for builders:
'How much tax can I claim back on a new van?'
This depends on the new van finance option you choose.
Tax relief on a van purchase. As they are classified as plant and machinery for tax purposes, 100% of the cost can be used to reduce tax liability against profits. The VAT paid is normally reclaimable for VAT registered businesses, and if the van is used for personal use, a much reduced level of personal tax is payable compared to a car.
There are some excellent contract hire van tax benefits too. Should the builder decide to contract hire his new van, he can also reclaim all the VAT on the lease rental and maintenance charges, and up to 100% of the rentals can be offset against corporation tax.
Tax advantages of leasing a van (Business finance lease or business lease purchase) - Similar to other methods of acquisition, monthly rentals are up to 100% tax deductible. There is no need to be VAT registered, but these customers won't be able to reclaim this tax.