For every owner driver in the courier industry, there are real concerns relating to the expensive maintenance of vehicles and the chances of a profitable resale of a van. There are a few easy ways to keep costs low and profits high and avoid the headaches that can come with the job.
While losing money in a resale is a big fear for many couriers, there are also issues of security, engine reliability and legality to take into account. These are my top tips for the main areas of van maintenance.
First and foremost, an owner driver needs to be able to rely on their van, which means the engine must be in tip-top condition. Regularly checking the levels of engine oil, coolant, screen washers and even brake fluid is a great way to easily keep on top of your motor. Learning to do this yourself will also save time and money and help you avoid a trip to the garage.
Not only is a tyre check important for the overall maintenance of the vehicle, it’s also important for your safety while driving. Storing heavy tools and equipment in vans can be necessary in this industry, but it adds extra weight onto the tyres which can cause damage. You should regularly check your tyres’ air pressure to ensure you can rely on them to perform safely.
With a job that requires so much travelling, safety is a high priority. Faulty or dirty lights can cause accidents and are illegal to drive with when broken. Regularly checking all lights will ensure maximum safety on the roads and keeping them clean will help to avoid any issues with damage.
As any owner driver will know, vans can be a major target for criminals who know that valuable tools and equipment are often stored in them. One of the surest defences against this is to install additional locks and alarms to keep thieves out and your pockets full. This will also help protect against thieves damaging your vehicle in the attempt to break it open.
While the exterior of the van doesn’t necessarily contribute to the running of the vehicle, it does have a major impact when it comes to reselling. Keeping on top of cleaning and paintwork will ensure that the vehicle’s value remains high until it comes to selling it on. The exterior of the van will also present an important image professionally: a clean and well-cared for motor will help to create potential job opportunities.
The interior is just as important as the exterior when it comes to making an impression on a potential buyer. In this profession, drivers can easily bring dirt and debris into the van with them which can increase the costs of valeting when it comes to reselling. Make sure to brush your clothes and feet off as much as you can before entering the vehicle and invest in seat covers to protect the interiors from wear and tear.
Following these simple tips will enable any owner driver to keep on top of crucial maintenance to ensure the reliability and resale value of any van. An efficient vehicle makes for an excellent courier!
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day owner driver courier jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.