When you’re just starting out in your business it’s likely that your finances will be tight. Spending spare cash on vital equipment and tools makes sense, but paying out for a brand-new van, no matter how desirable it is, could be seen as anything but.

This is because there’s an abundance of used vans that have plenty of life left in them on the market. What’s more, they’re available for a fraction of their original cost, and could therefore provide you with the vehicle you need while keeping your finances in check.

Even so, you’ll still have to approach this purchase carefully in order to make the right decision for you and your business purposes.

#1 Work out your budget

As mentioned briefly above, your money will have to work hard for you, and blowing it all on a van or a truck could leave you struggling in other vital areas, such as marketing. Sitting down and working out how much you can afford to spend before venturing out to look around the car dealerships could mean that you go into any situation with your eyes wide open. Of course, it’s not just about the money in your pocket or your account as you may be able to secure a loan, but again you’ll have to ensure that you can afford the repayments.

#2 Draw up a shortlist of makes and models

Once you know your budget, you can start looking at the different makes and models available within that price range. Looking only at the range you can afford will help you to not get seduced by vehicles that are out of your reach and will mean that you stand a better chance of selecting the best you can afford rather than measuring it up against what you can’t.

#3 Ensure your choice of vehicles are big enough

You shouldn’t just go for the vehicles that look good, you need look at ones that are practical for what you need and the function they need to perform. You’ll need to ensure that they’re big enough to house all the work gear you need and any supplies you may have to purchase for customer jobs. Racking, storage, and other additions can be added later either by yourself or a qualified fitter, but you still need to make sure there’s room for it and that you have enough space to accommodate what you’ll have.

#4 Do your research

When you have your shortlist of vehicles that could do the job, you need to start researching them in detail. If your business is going to take you far and wide, you’ll want a vehicle that’s economical to use. It’s no good driving miles to do a job when all your profit will just end up in the gas tank. In this, you’ll also have to consider the mileage. Taking on a vehicle that already has incredibly high mileage when you need to drive thousands of miles yourself may not be the best move as it may already be too tired and prone to breakdowns.

#5 Check the comfort levels

As it’s likely that you’ll be spending a lot of time in your business vehicle during your working day, you should take time to check its comfort level. Although you may get an idea of this just by sitting in the driver's seat, you would do well to actually take it for a test drive. This will help you to understand if the suspension will have you feeling every bump and pothole in the road or if the drive is smooth and comfortable. It will also help you to assess the driving position and the position of all the buttons, levers, and additional gadgets it has to offer.

#6 Make use of exterior space

You’ll also have to pay attention to the exterior of the vehicle to make sure the bodywork is in good order. Although the color may be something that draws your eye to it or makes it that much more attractive, it certainly shouldn’t be the main selling feature.

As your vehicle will be a business asset, you should seriously consider making the most of what you what’s available to you. Opting to have your company vehicle with graphics that promote your business will not only hide an unsightly exterior but also act as an investment for your company. This is because no matter where you’re driving or where your vehicle is parked, it’ll be a permanent advertisement to everyone who sees it.

A few final thoughts

Getting your first company van is an exciting move, however, it’s also one where costly mistakes can be made. Taking a step back and making sure you know your financial limitations, as well as the best makes and models that you can afford before you start shopping for your new vehicle is a good idea.

Be sure to focus on the main points such as mileage, fuel consumption, drivability, and internal space and access. External issues such as color can be hidden by using a vehicle graphic wrap that also promotes your business and makes your van a mobile advertising board for all to see.