Making your works van work for you
No matter the size of your business a vehicle is a big investment. Whether you have one, two or a fleet of vans you need to make sure each vehicle pays its way. To squeeze every last penny of value from it.
One way to do this is to add extra seating to the rear of the vehicle by using van conversion kits. It’s something more contractors and operators are doing. Extra seating makes the vehicle more versatile and can save you plenty of money and make your operation more efficient. But, like anything, there are pros and cons to van conversion kits. And some things to think about before you take the plunge.
What are van conversion kits?
Let’s start at the beginning. We’re not talking about turning your Transit into a souped up hot rod with a jet engine and funky paint job. Van conversion kits simply allow you to add extra seating to the rear of the vehicle. You have the option of buying and installing the kit yourself or going to a company who specialise in converting vans. A third option is to buy the individual components rather than a kit. But we’ll come on to that.
Firstly, why convert your van at all?
In a word? Efficiency. Open the back doors of your van and there’s a huge cargo space. Which is fine if you move a lot of cargo. But for many companies a lot of that space is wasted. It can be put to better use. But let’s look at the pros and cons of van conversion kits.
Pros of van conversion kits
Extra seating capacity
The most significant advantage here is the fact you can transport more tradespeople from one site to another. This is helpful if you work in a team and would like to cut back on the cost of using or buying a second van. You’re working more efficiently as you’re bringing more people to the site rather than making multiple trips. And if the conversion is done right, you’ll still get all your equipment and supplies there too.
By adding more seats, you have far more flexibility in how you use your van. Especially if the seats are foldable. You can still transport more people from site to site, but you can also ensure that if you are the lone worker in the van, you can fold the seats and create more room for cargo again. Dual-use makes it a more cost-efficient option, and the flexibility means that you don’t have to keep swapping vans depending on their use.
Converting your vehicle with a van conversion kit can be a cheaper option for your business, as you’re not having to go and buy an entirely new vehicle. The money saved on new vans plus the reduction in running costs, repairs and insurance can add up to a significant amount for any business.
When you have one vehicle to flex across two needs, you can be more efficient in your day-to-day work.
Cons of van conversion kits
Less space for cargo
There is probably only one drawback to converting your works van. But it’s potentially a huge one. When you convert your vehicle to include extra seating, you give up much of the space you would usually use for equipment and materials.
So, you do have to carefully consider whether the cargo space you’ll be left with after the conversion will be large enough for your needs.
Choosing New Seats
The seats are the most important part of any van conversion. They need to be durable, safe and look good.
There are also some grey areas when it comes to installing new seats into your van, for example, you may want to check with your insurer to make sure your policy is still valid. There are also some safety considerations, such as the fact that you may not be legally required to install seat belts, but you should so for the safety of the passengers you are planning to drive from place to place.
What makes a good van seat?
Some vans require foldable seating, so a seat that can fold down to make room for cargo is an excellent option for your conversion. You should also try to find seats with excellent lumbar support. You can find seats that are adjustable and come with the best possible support when being transported from place to place. It should fit the space with room for people to sit, and it should of course be comfortable while you are travelling between sites.
There are several things to consider when you are choosing van seats for your conversion. These include:
- Do the seats comply with EU standards and legislation?
- Are they foldable?
- Do the seats have fittings for seatbelts? Or are seatbelts already fitted?
- Do you know what material you want?
- Do you need armrests, or are you looking at basic seats?
- Are different trims available?
- Are they suitable for your make of vehicle?
- Are fittings included?
All of these things are questions that you should ask yourself before you make a final decision on which seats you’re going to use in your conversion.
Who Should install van conversion kits?
You can choose to install the van conversion kit yourself, or you can get the professionals to do it. It depends on how confident you feel about the process. There are plenty of guides online that can teach you how to do it – YouTube is an invaluable source of information here! If you are in any doubt about whether you should install the conversion kit yourself, you should call in the professionals!
Kit or components?
You can buy full van conversion kits, but you’ll often get better value buying the individual components from direct from the manufacturers. This way, you can buy what you need rather than an entire kit that you may not have a need for in the end.
If you’re thinking of converting your van make sure you choose the best seating. All our seats are manufactured in our UK factory to the highest EU standards.
You can check out the full AlphaSeating range by clicking here.