To help keep you ahead of the competition, Head of Sales Operations at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, James Douglas, gives the lowdown on how to select the best van for the job across five key areas.
Electricians require a van that is both comfortable on the road and has enough storage to accommodate all the gadgets and tools required to do the job. Practicality is just one part of the puzzle, though, with reliability and the right brand partner just as important to making sure the business is as efficient as possible on a day-to-day basis.
A van that starts every morning and keeps going all day every day is often the number one priority for owners and fleet managers, because a breakdown isn’t just inconvenient, it’s expensive – with downtime when your van’s off the road costing businesses an average of £500 a day per van.
James explains: “Van reliability starts with picking the vehicle that’s right for you. There are several key questions that you should consider; ask yourself how many miles do you drive? Where do you drive? How many people are in the van at once? What are your heaviest loads and how much do they weigh? Are there any areas where unnecessary costs can be cut down?”
Practicality in the commercial vehicles sector goes well beyond just the size of the load bay and its weight capacity. Buying a van that can be fitted with a unique racking system or be ordered with a bespoke conversion could make the difference for your business.
James says: “Electricians can waste hours unnecessarily hunting around for tools; a well thought out racking solution can therefore be invaluable. Not only does it make the most of space, it also improves safety and security by ensuring expensive tools or large loads are stowed away and out of sight.
“For customers with more unique needs, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ Engineered For You programme can help you convert a van for your exact requirements.”
Vans are so much more than load-lugging workhorses these days with many fitted with hi-tech accessories to make life easier. James advises that researching the kind of technology that is available should play a big part in your purchase decision. For example, picking a van that comes with a Bluetooth handsfree kit can save you having to stop and make calls, while parking sensors can prevent pricey repair bills from car park bumps and scrapes that are all too common. “Seek out features which counteract damage to save you money in the long run. Using something like Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ online vehicle configurator or iPad showroom sales aid is a great way to take the guess-work out of van buying,” James adds.
The van selection process doesn’t end with the vehicle itself, so it’s vital to consider aftersales upfront. Taking out a service plan can help keep running costs to a minimum and take the sting out of unplanned bills, while a maintenance schedule will help you keep on top of repairs with regular reminders to visit a dealer.
James adds: “Even a scheduled visit to the dealer can be a huge disruption which is why back in 2017 we rolled out extended hours servicing across our network of 71 Van Centres and 26 Authorised Repairers. This means customers can bring their vans in at the end of their working day and pick them up the next morning with our dedicated staff working late to complete the job. We also offer Mobile Service Clinics which can deliver service work, inspections, A/C servicing, MOT repairs, minor warranty work and software updates at a customer’s premises.”
Even when you have chosen the vehicle that suits your business best, there are then decisions to be made around financing. With so many choices available when purchasing a commercial vehicle, it can be tricky for business owners to work out which option is best. Buying or leasing a van will ultimately depend on the stage your business is at and what you need the vehicle for. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Financial Services offers a comprehensive range of finance options. Every Volkswagen Van Centre has a finance expert who is on hand to guide business owners through the process and will work with you to analyse your business needs and establish the best option for you.
James concludes: “However you operate your fleet and regardless of which vehicles you run, make sure you select the right partner who will help reduce your downtime and keep your operations running smoothly. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ Working With You promise is a commitment to find the right vans and aftersales package for your business, however big or small, because if your vehicles are working then you’re working.”
For further information on Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ multi-award-winning products and services or to find out more about the Van Centre network, please visit: www.volkswagen-vans.co.uk