If you’re looking to become a delivery driver, you might be thinking “why should you rent a refrigerated van instead of just buying one”? And that’s a good question. We’ll explain in more detail the costs and benefits of rentals in this 7-minute read.
1. Why are so many people becoming drivers?
Delivery drivers are in high demand. Modern Retail explains, “The Road Haulage Association recently announced that the UK currently faces a shortage of 100,000 truck drivers. There is a direct disconnect. We have an [in-demand] industry actively seeking drivers, yet shortages of them have and will continue to create issues down the line. RHA chief executive Richard Burnett in August informed Sky News that [training] those 100,000 short drivers would take at least 18 months – in this timeframe, a real threat has been posed. Many delivery firms simply may be unable to get the goods ordered to the shelves.” As job seekers see the attractive hours and pay involved with being a delivery driver, many are making the switch.
2. What are the costs involved?
If you’re a delivery driver, there are some costs involved with getting set up and running your delivery business. These include fuel costs, rental or vehicle purchase price, repairs, servicing and running of your vehicle, your annual road tax and MOT test, cleaning your vehicle, licence and any other registration fees, car insurance, breakdown recovery fees, phone & data plans, GPS memberships, buying or paying for a smartphone, parking & toll charges, clothing and shoes for work. To get up and running faster, you may want to rent as much of the equipment needed to do your job as possible. This will allow you to start taking on jobs right away with less initial outlay.
3. What is the purpose of refrigerated van vehicles?
You may think of simply purchasing a transit van. And you can take on a lot of work with one. But what about refrigerated vans? They let you transport goods that need to be kept at a steady temperature. And without one, you can’t ship most perishable goods. That locks out a fair bit of the market for you. The purpose of refrigerated van vehicles is to keep goods at a regulated temperature regardless of the outside conditions during the duration of transport. When you rent a refrigerated van instead of a simple transit van, you’re increasing the companies that you can drive for.
4. Why should you rent a refrigerated van?
We’ve mentioned renting a refrigerated van a few times. And that’s because for most drivers, the benefits of renting outweigh the initial outlay of purchasing a van. You can secure a short term refrigerated van rental for £375.00 + VAT per week. And long term refrigerated van rentals will run you approximately £950 + VAT per month depending on mileage & spec. But within this, you’ll get breakdown cover, full routine maintenance, servicing and repairs on both the van and refrigeration system. Plus, if something does go wrong, you can get immediate delivery of relief vans when needed.
While you could buy, that might damage your customer relationships. WhatCar states, “The downside is that you’ll have to pay for maintenance, tax and insurance yourself and keep on top of them all in order to keep your van in the best condition. Also, if you damage the van, you can choose to shop around for the lowest repair price or just leave it and save yourself the money – although we wouldn’t recommend that because it doesn’t present a very good image to your customers.”
5. What are the most popular refrigerated van models?
The most popular refrigerated van models balance cargo space with fuel economy and safety features. At the top of the list are Freightliner & Mercedes-Benz Sprinter refrigerated vans. However, Freightliner was retired in 2021, so you’ll see those used. Sprinters are one of the most popular refrigerated vans and we go into a lot of detail about them on our blog. As FreightLink also explains, “One of the [longest-running] models on the market, Sprinters offer a great [all-rounder] experience for carrying large loads. With a load volume of up to 17m3 and a 5.5-tonne weight range, the Sprinter offers an impressive capability for goods..” Then you have the attractive Nissan NV and Nissan NV200 which are slightly more affordable than the Sprinter. Lastly, consider the spacious and powerful RAM ProMaster, starting at around £29k.
6. Why would you want to buy a refrigerated van instead?
You might want to buy a refrigerated van if you know you’ll be driving it long haul or to areas where it will get damaged. Perhaps you’ll be doing inter-country transit and wouldn’t benefit from some of the added features of inclusive roadside assistance. Maybe you just want to own the asset so you can brand and paint it however you wish. Or perhaps you have the cash to buy a van but a poor credit score makes rental too expensive. Whatever your reason, once you drive that van off the lot, it will be your responsibility from top to tail.
7. What other gear should you buy?
To make your deliveries quickly and easily, you’ll want a smartphone with a reliable carrier and a good data plan. Buy a good phone mount too. Next, you’ll want a decent dash GPS and a backup map with a dashcam on the front and back of your vehicle. Remember that the weather can change, so have warm and wet clothing options available including gloves and an umbrella. It’s also a good idea to have a roadside breakdown bag with flares, a tyre repair kit, a first aid kit, a flashlight and similar. Lastly, remember to look after your back by wearing a brace and using lower back support in your driving seat to keep your posture intact.
When understanding why you should rent a refrigerated van it’s important to look at the full scope. You have a range of refrigerated vehicle options available to you from used, new or lease purchases. But however you get your van, know that going refrigerated allows you to capture more of the delivery market for better earnings. And understand that renting can keep your overheads low allowing you to get started sooner.