If you need to hire a van for the first time you may be surprised at all the different options there are out there. From short wheelbases and long wheelbases to large vans with a tail lift, picking the right vehicle for the job you need to do is essential.
Whether it’s a one-day hire or for a longer period, it pays to check out all the options if you want to get the best price.
Here the team at White’s Bodyworks take a look at the choices available.
Fridge and Freezer Vans
While most vans are designed to carry tools, products and things like furniture, fridge and freezer vans are aimed at businesses that carry perishable goods like food, drink and pharmaceuticals.
Most general van hire services don’t offer a wide selection of cooler vans, however, which is why it’s important to go through a specialist provider. Rugby-based FridgeXpress, for example, prides itself in being completely focused on fridge and freezer vans for hire and offers delivery across the UK. They also provide vehicles with tailored interiors such as different compartments and storage facilities.
Small Van Hire
If you’re a tradesman, home delivery service or florist, you may only want small storage space. With a maximum payload of around 850kg, these two-seater vans are ideal for use in town and are more like driving a normal car.
Most vehicle hire companies will have at least one or two vans of this type on their forecourt and it’s worth shopping around for the best price.
Medium Size Van
For bigger loads, a medium size van is probably the best all-around option if you’re not 100% sure about the capacity you need. It’s not so large that you need an HGV licence to drive it and can hold a payload of around 1000 kg. It’s a great option if your moving home and don’t have enough stuff to warrant hiring a removal company.
If you’re only driving it where you live, it’s often a better idea to check out smaller, local companies as they may be able to offer better prices.
Large Van Hire
Larger vans have slightly more payload allowance, up to around 1250 kg and this space is mostly achieved vertically with more headroom. This is the better choice if you only want to make one journey, for example, if you are moving house as the extra space gives you plenty more leeway.
Vans with Extra Seating
Medium and larger vans also come with additional seating. For example, if you’re taking a work team out to a site and you need storage for tools but also extra seats, these are a good choice. A crew van hire usually has a payload limit of about 800 kg but includes 6 seats so you need to balance the transportation needs of your equipment and your manpower.
Luton Box Van with Tail Lift
The 3.5-tonne Luton box van is probably the largest hire vehicle that you might want to hire. It’s often used for moving property or transporting heavy goods. It still only has a payload allowance of around 1,250 kg but comes with a tail lift which means it’s ideal for lifting weighty objects like fridges and cabinets. The downside is that you will need an HGV licence to drive it.
Van Hire and Wheelbase
When you hire a van for the first time, you may come across a choice between a long wheelbase and a short wheelbase. This basically applies to the distance between the front wheels and the back wheels.
A long wheelbase tends to offer more storage space and a smoother ride. Short wheelbase vans tend to have a more sporty feel and better handling but less space. In the end, it comes down to personal preference but it’s worth bearing in mind when you look at your choice of hire vehicle.
Check out this quick guide from Aspland Self Drive.
Electric Vans vs Diesel vs Petrol
You may find small vans that run on petrol but most, on the whole, are diesel-powered nowadays. This is likely to change over the next few years because diesel is being phased out.
What Do I Need to Hire a Van?
If you are hiring a van under 3.5 tonnes, you can do so with a regular driving licence. Anything above that and you will need an HGV licence.
There may also be some restrictions relating to your age when hiring a van – for example, Hertz stipulates that you need to be over the age of 23 for smaller van hire and over 25 for larger. There can also be a surcharge because of age and experience.