If you’re a self employed courier driver, a van is the single most important business investment you’ll make. Such an important decision requires research, which will ensure that the vehicle you buy is best suited to the specific types of courier jobs you do (or would like to do in the future).
The best way to ensure that the van you’re considering is right for you is to think long and hard about a few key questions.
· What kind of products will you be delivering?
Firstly, consider what kinds of deliveries you will or are focusing on, taking their average size into account. This step will help you determine how large your vehicle needs to be.
· How many miles do you plan on driving each year?
Take a moment to think about whether your work is mainly comprised of local deliveries, or whether you’re planning on driving longer distances.
· How reliable is the van likely to be?
Always chat with other drivers and read as many online reviews as you can before making this crucial investment. While a dealer may tell you that their van is perfectly suited to your requirements, only independent reviewers – preferably those who have already used the vehicle for courier jobs – will give you an accurate picture.
After considering all of these factors, read on for my recommendations for three of the best vans on the market right now.
For Small Loads
If you’re a self employed driver and are taking on courier jobs that involve lots of nipping in and out of busy city traffic and on-street parking, I would recommend the compact Vauxhall Corsavan.
This vehicle is as speedy and easy to handle as a small hatchback, and it’s fun to drive as well. Thanks to its small size, its running costs are low, and it comes in either a Petrol (1.2, 69bhp) or a Diesel (1.3, 74bhp and 94bhp) model.
The only potential drawback of the Vauxhall Corsavan is the load size. It only accommodates small deliveries with its one load variant of 0.92 cubic metres. However, if that is all you need, you’re making a great choice.
For Medium Loads
The Ford Transit Courier is a popular choice on the self employed courier market, as it’s safe and easy to operate, and also offers a great fuel economy.
This fourth-generation model’s emissions are low, which is a perk that’s becoming increasingly important for those carrying out courier jobs in towns and cities around the UK.
The Ford Transit Courier’s load is a good, standard size of 2.3 cubic metres, carrying up to 660kg. It comes in a range of Diesel engines, and is also available with three-cylinder ‘EcoBoost’ Petrol.
For Larger Loads
If you’re carrying larger loads, the Citroën Relay provides tons of space. With its load volume of 13 cubic metres, a 3,705mm load deck and its height of 1,932mm, it can hold a heavyweight load of up to 1,975kg.
This van may not be as slick as a Mercedes, but – on the bright side – doesn’t come with the latter’s price tag either. Instead, it offers a steady ride, a spacious interior with three seats (the middle one folds down into a handy writing desk) and decent fuel economy.
All Citroën Relays are equipped with 2.2-litre HDi, and the mid-range model offers a 38.2mpg combined economy rating. In reality, this translates to a respectable 35mpg on the road (a figure which only dips to 31mpg with a full load).
Since there are so many excellent vans on the market, choosing the one that’s right for you can be a challenge. Just take your time, process all information and talk to your colleagues before making a decision, and you’re sure to find a vehicle that’s perfect for you.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day 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.