What is the Best Way to Manage Your Refrigerated Van Fleet?

Mercedes-Benz Refrigerated Van Conversions

Managing a large fleet of fridge vans in your business can be complicated and there are plenty of different challenges that need to be addressed. How you finance this part of your operation can have a big impact on your bottom line as much as the types of vans and refrigerator units you need.

Do you buy individual fridge vans outright or is it better to lease or contract hire?

Catering firms, food delivery outfits, meat, poultry and fish vendors and pharmaceutical companies often deliver to more than one customer, either locally or nationally, and require fridge vans. That generally means operating a fleet rather than just one or two vehicles.

Fridge Van Fleet Options

There are several options if you run a fleet of fridge vans and which you choose can impact both your financial bottom line and your operational efficiency.

The first and most obvious is to buy your replacement van outright from an approved dealer. You have different ways to do this including through hire purchase or getting a loan from your bank. You also have to take into account how much it will cost to convert your van to the right specifications. Some finance lease arrangements also allow you to own the fridge van after all payments have been made.

The downside of buying your fridge van outright is that, while you own it all, the value of the vehicle is likely to diminish over time. You are responsible for elements like maintenance and paying for repairs if the van breaks down. It also means that you are linked to one particular vehicle and the technology it has. With high-tech developments in freezer and refrigerator units, this can be a false economy in the long term.

A more popular option nowadays is called contract hire. This is where you enter into an arrangement with a company for a set period and hire a van for the longer term rather than just a few days. The hire vehicle is still the property of the rental company and has to be returned to them once the contract period has expired.

The 5 Benefits of Fridge Van Contract Hire Agreements for Fleets

The reason why many fleet owners opt for contract hire is that it has several important benefits. These include:

  1. You pay a set monthly fee for the van and can get discounts from some firms if you are hiring more than one to support your fleet. The cost savings are often better than if you, for example, take out a loan and buy the van outright. You can also keep control of all costs and know what you are paying across the whole fleet.
  2. Working with the same contract hire company that specialises in refrigerated vans means that you can tailor provisions to your needs. That includes the type of refrigeration unit that you have installed.
  3. Most contract hire arrangements are accompanied by ‘free’ maintenance and servicing. That means you don’t have to worry about this part of managing your fleet and can offload it to a reliable third party. It also means you can be more confident that your vans are going to stay on the road and are fit to drive at all times.
  4. There’s always a chance that any van can break down however well-maintained it is. The good news is that specialist fridge hire companies offer great support which means you’ll be able to get a replacement vehicle out to you in next to no time if you do break down. Of course, refrigerated vans in general carry perishable goods and any delays in delivery or transportation can be catastrophic.
  5. A specialist contract hire company is likely to be responsive to your needs. If you have to reorganise your fleet, add vans at certain times or switch to the latest technology then you will get the support that you need. For example, you may need a van with either chiller, freezing or a multi-function capacity that requires a specialist installation.

You might now be working with a mix of purchased vehicles and want to switch to contract hire so that you can maintain your fleet better in the future.

The key is to choose a hire company that is focused almost entirely on refrigerated vans and is not tied to any particular make or manufacturer. Modern van hire companies may have one or two fridge vans available but the choice is likely to be limited. That’s why choosing a company like FridgeXpress makes so much sense.

Why Choose FridgeXpress

When you’re developing your refrigerated van fleet, it’s important to work with a specialist company. Refrigerated vans are all we focus on at FridgeXpress and we work with businesses in towns and cities across the UK. If you’re looking for a flexible contract hire arrangement with a company you can trust, contact the team at FridgeXpress today.


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