Published on Tuesday 12 February 2019 in Van News
Whether you're a domestic electrician or a commercial electrician, a contractor or you specialise in electrical installations, having the right van to carry your tools and supplies will make all the difference – but should you go small, medium-sized or large? Luckily for a sparky, there's plenty of choice on the market.
How big or small should an electrician's van be?
What size van you pick depends on the types of job you most-commonly do. If you're used to small-scale jobs, you'll probably want to choose a Fiat Fiorino, Ford Transit Connect or brand-new Citroen Berlingo.
For those larger-scale jobs, such as a house build, the types of supplies you carry would probably mean you need a medium van like the Ford Transit Custom (the UK's best-selling medium-sized van) or Vauxhall Vivaro (the UK-built van that's particularly popular with heating engineers).
But if you regularly find yourself carrying the larger loads to deal with the larger jobs – such as ladders, tools, conduit, trunking, sockets, switches, pendants, cables, wire spools, and more) plump for a larger van like the iconic Ford Transit or Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (the new version of which is beating the Transit thanks to its luxury interior and up-to-date technology).
Is a van always the right choice for a sparky?
Go on any discussion forum for electricians and you'll find an active thread about whether to drive a van or an estate car – it's the same question a lot of AV Technicians ask themselves too.
Vans hold a lot more, but estate cars are a good height and often – once you've dropped the seats – capable of holding everything you might need to do your job.
But you could equally justify super compact vans like the Nissan NV200, Renault Kangoo, Peugeot Partner or similar, even the Volkswagen Caddy remains a popular choice in the trade. Or if you want a big-name badge on the front of your van, why not have a look at the Mercedes-Benz Citan? It's like driving a car instead of a van – the perfect blend of luxury and practicality.
Could a pickup truck be a better choice?
Finally, a pickup truck could offer the flexibility of car-like comfort and carrying weight an electrician might need. Top performers in this category include the Ford Ranger (either Limited or Wildtrak versions are a great choice), the Mitsubishi L200 is another popular pickup. The Nissan Navara continues to make waves with loads of tradespeople snapping them up (it's so good Mercedes-Benz made their X-Class pickup truck from the Navara), and don't forget to check out the Toyota Hilux, Fiat Fullback and Isuzu D-Max either.
The vehicle you choose will depend on how you want to use it, what you carry and the places you work – but no matter what you pick, turn up on time, keep it clean and do a great job…we carried out some research about what homeowners think if you drive a dirty old van vs a smarter van …
What does your van say about you and your business?
A van is so much more than just a place to keep tools, it's your brand, and in 2019 it's time van drivers invested in their personal brand – research we carried out showed a whopping 70% of homeowners said they wouldn't have any confidence in a tradesperson (electrician or not) whose van didn't have their logo on it, and almost half (44%) would question both the professionalism and the quality of the work done by someone driving an unpresentable old van.
But it doesn't stop there … a further 43% said they would immediately assume a tradesperson's work is sub-standard, 37% would find themselves wondering how much business a tradesperson gets, and 35% would begin questioning a tradesperson's reliability even before they opened their mouth. And with 362,149 new vans registered in 2017 – and the market on track for a similar figure in 2018 – that means over 700,000 brand-new vans driving around hoovering up the work with their gleaming paintwork!
Why sign-write your van?
Having your van sign-written is an incredibly powerful and cost-effective way to promote yourself, your trade and your business (you don't even have to drive the van to advertise yourself, it could just be sat on a customer's driveway).
There are no restrictions on what you can put on your van (within the boundaries of taste) and the publicity is great value for money. Did you know that a recent study shows 3,000 people an hour will see your van when you drive in a city?
One of our customers even told us that sign-writing their van got them £10,000 worth of business in just ONE WEEK! Food for thought?
Tax benefits of new commercial vans for electricians
The best bit about leasing is not needing a big pile of cash to buy a new van because the cost gets spread out over the fixed duration of a lease contract. You'll just need to put up an initial rental which is usually of a size of your choosing.
Maintenance costs can be taken care of by inexpensive add-ons to your lease, so you won't have to worry about that either. Sound good?
Financial advantages of leasing a van
One of the main tax advantages to leasing a van can often include claiming up to 100% of the VAT back on your monthly payments – if your business is VAT-registered and based on the proviso that the van is only for business use. It's also just like buying a van in that sense because you can claim the cost of a van lease as an expense when you get around to filling in and filing your tax return.
You're probably aware of the major differences between buying and leasing – buying outright gives you an asset, but leasing gives you a lot more freedom to upgrade every 2-5 years and is often far more affordable.
Electrician van racking and storage
If you want to build out the inside of your van with racking or other storage solutions, ply lining the load space of a van is where to start…mainly because it's an affordable and sensible way to keep your leased van's interior damage-free, but also because ply wood is a great base to build on.
And there are huge amounts of storage solutions to choose from including modular stacked solutions, self-built wooden storage, slide-in form-fitted draws, door-hung storage, and more.
Finally, van leasing is one of the most popular ways to drive a brand-new LCV, and as part of most lease agreements you need to keep the van in relatively good nick (because of fair wear and tear guidelines) – that's where ply lining can save you from incurring any charges at the end of your lease contract.