How to Choose the Right Cargo Van for Your Fleet-Based Business

Your fleet is the heart and soul of your business. Finding just the right cargo van to meet the needs of your service technicians isn’t always easy. You have to find something that fits your company budget but also meets the needs of your employees.

Almost any cargo van will need a number of adaptations to perfectly meet your needs. However, some are easier to fit than others. You can’t always just choose what’s worked in the past, as the designs and features of vehicles change over time.


How Do I Choose a Cargo Van?

The Small Business Administration estimates around 33 million small businesses in the United States. Small business can encompass anything from restaurants to mom-and-pop retail stores to service-based companies. In a recent small business trends survey, researchers estimated business services make up 11% of the small businesses in America. However, other types of businesses may need fleet vehicles as well, such as a restaurant for delivery needs.

With so many different business owners investing in fleet vehicles, you can imagine there are many differing opinions on which one is the best. What works for one company may not for yours. Your best bet is to go through a series of steps to choose the right cargo van for your fleet-based business.


1. Set a Budget

Before you begin your search, set a budget for what you want to spend. You might adore a particular make and model, but if your budget isn’t there you’ll only stress yourself and your business. You must also consider ongoing repairs and maintenance in your budget so you allot enough to cover ongoing expenses.

You might look into used vehicles in the make and model you want, going with an earlier year, for example. Having a budget is the best starting point you can have. Start by figuring out how much a new cargo van runs. Look at used prices. Then, crunch the numbers to see what you can afford to invest in.


2. Get Employee Input

Your workers in the field are one of the best resources you have for figuring out your cargo van needs. They understand better than anyone the advantages and limitations of different vehicles. On a daily basis, they deal with the limitations of their current equipment. They may even have acquaintances in the industry who have vehicles equipped with the things they most need. Others may have worked for different companies and used a variety of cargo vans.

Not only can they help you come up with a dream list of the best features for a fleet vehicle, but you’ll show them you care about their opinion. Celebrating your employees helps improve staff morale and thus company culture and productivity.

Make a list of the pros and cons of different vehicles and try to come to a consensus with your field techs about which option might be best. Ask them if they’d prefer a new vehicle with less features or a used vehicle with more.

When your employees feel invested, they’re more likely to give that extra effort that takes your business to the next level.


3. Read Reviews

Once you’ve narrowed your choices, spend time researching the van. Read online reviews and check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for complaints. You can see via the BBB website if the manufacturer resolved any concerns.

Reviews can also alert you to any limitations in the vehicle that you might not have thought of. Any cargo van you choose is going to have pros and cons. You have to decide which ones you can live with and which ones you can’t.


4. Consider Fuel Efficiency

How much might you save by going with a vehicle with more fuel efficiency? The added expense of low gas mileage might make enough of a difference to give you the upgrade you’re looking for.

Of course, fuel prices rise and fall, so take this factor into consideration but don’t let it be the ultimate deciding component in which fleet vehicle you choose.


5. Check Availability of Accessories

Once you purchase your cargo van, you’ll need to get it outfitted to meet your needs. For example, if you consider a Mercedes Sprinter, you may want to check with an outfitter to ensure you can get the van shelving system installed when you want.

You can also get some pricing information to see if one vehicle’s accessories cost more than another’s. The overall cost of outfitting your fleet vehicles will depend on how many shelves you need and the type of cargo van you choose.


6. Choose Technology

Modern cargo vans come built with technology to help you track and improve your fleet performance. While it is rare to find an employee who doesn’t do as they should, it does happen. For the most part, however, you can use the technology to ensure your job mapping tactics utilize your fleet to the most advantage.

Don’t let lack of new gadgets hold you back from buying an older model, though. You can also add these features after factory or use phone apps to improve performance.


Weigh the Pros and Cons

Any cargo van for your fleet-based business is going to come with advantages and disadvantages. Figure out which elements will make your business most successful in the long-term and make the best decision you can based on future growth and current needs.

If you’re still unsure, get more input from your technicians and other leaders. Maybe even turn to a mentor or your local outfitter for advice on the best options for your business.

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