What is the Best Refrigerated Van for Small Businesses?

Small businesses often have much bigger operational challenges than medium or larger corporations.

Coping with tight budgets while trying to grow and succeed in competitive markets, means entrepreneurs certainly need to do their homework if they are going to get a good return on any investment.

Large outlays for equipment can make a big dent in operational budgets. Some of these are must-have items, however. The temptation can be to go for something secondhand that is easier to afford.

When it comes to refrigerated vans, finding the right size vehicle and whether to contract hire or buy outright are some of the main considerations a business owner might have. Getting the right fit for your needs can be challenging and working with a specialist service makes sense.

Type of Van

Much will depend on the type of cargo you will be transporting in your business. If you’re a florist, for example, you’ll be looking at a chiller van with a range between 5 and 7⁰C. For food products, there will be industry standards that you will need to adhere and you could range from chilled to frozen. In some cases, you might even need a van that has compartments at different temperatures.

  • There are generally four different types of refrigerated van: insulation-only, chiller conversion, semi-freezer and freezer.
  • Most are converted from normal vans and this involves the use of a range of materials that can affect the final asking price.
  • For example, insulation vans will have material such as Styrofoam added to the walls, ceiling and bed.
  • This will reduce the amount of space available, of course, as well as adding something to the cost.
  • A freezer van will have a freezer unit installed and more reinforcement and insulation in areas like the doors.

Hire vs Purchase

At first sight, buying your refrigerated van outright would seem to have numerous benefits. There are a few things to consider, however.

Contract hire can often be less costly and more practical. For instance, you will have the maintenance of your van covered by the contract in many cases and you can upgrade if you need to switch to a different van. You pay a monthly fee for the contract hire rather than having to find the initial funding which can put less strain on financing.

It’s worth looking over all the options where financing is concerned to find the right fit for your business. Try to look to the future rather than simply focus on the price – what will your needs be 12 months from now and will you require more or a larger van?

Van Size

The size of the van you choose is going to largely depend on the payload you will be carrying. Too large a van can cost you more to chill so getting the right fit is essential. Too small and you are likely to have to make more journeys to deliver your products. Of course, your needs could change over time – you might, for example, have seasonal periods where demand is higher and more cargo needs to be transported.

It’s important to work with a specialist team that understand what needs should be considered. At FridgeXpress, for example, we have more than 20 years of experience dealing exclusively with refrigerated vans for a wide range of different industries and sectors. We can help you make the right decisions so that you get a van that perfectly fits your needs.

Electric vs Petrol/Diesel

Another consideration is whether to opt for a petrol/diesel van or an electric one. There have been huge advances in recent years with electric, eco-friendly refrigerated vans and that makes them a good choice for many businesses.

Again, it’s worth discussing the pros and cons of electric vehicles – not least because petrol and diesel are being phased out and many areas, including London, now have clean air regulations which means you may be charged extra if you don’t have a green van.

One option you might like to think about when trying to decide which refrigerated van to choose is to hire one for a short period. This gives you the chance to find out which size is best and what sort of system you need to protect your goods.

If you are a small business and want to make the best choices when it comes to a new refrigerated van, contact the expert team at FridgeXpress today.