Should I Buy New or Used Shelving for My Commercial Vehicle?

12th Aug 2023

The cost of installing commercial shelving in a van is often the primary reason people seek used commercial van shelving as an alternative to newer shelves.

The cost of installing commercial shelving in a van is often the primary reason people seek used commercial van shelving as an alternative to newer shelves. Alternatively, some feel used shelving is adequate for their needs and don’t wish to invest in premium shelving. There are advantages to either option, and delving into each will help you make the best choice for your commercial van.

Buying New vs. Used Commercial Van Shelving

When you consider choosing between new and used commercial van shelving, there are some definite reasons for opting for either. Companies, businesses and individual contractors face the decision between sourcing shelving from a manufacturer or distributor and finding preowned ones.

You will find several pros and cons when taking either route. Additionally, there are van shelving do’s and don’ts to guide the process of achieving your van’s full potential.

Used Commercial Van Shelving — Pros and Cons

If you are starting your cargo van business, are tight on available investment funds and need standard van shelving, this could be your choice. If you can find shelving at a better price than purchasing new, this might be a viable option if you are unfazed by style, aesthetics and general wear and tear.

The pros of buying used van shelving are:

  • It could be more cost-effective than new shelves.
  • There is potentially faster delivery than new shelves.
  • It will likely fulfill your needs.

The cons of buying used van shelving are:

  • It may be harder to source the required shelving.
  • There are no guarantees.
  • The shelves' warranty might have expired.
  • Your insurance might only cover new shelves.
  • Shelves are likely already customized.
  • Shelf dimensions might match another van.
  • You may not know the exact age of the shelves.
  • It could be challenging to find replacement parts.
  • There is typically no aftermarket or sales service.
  • The shelving is likely worn and may be damaged.

New Commercial Van Shelving — Pros and Cons

A competitive van outfitter will offer price matching for identical new items and have a team of experts to help with product selection. You can choose shelving designed for your cargo van model with vocational packages such as delivery or electrical to ensure the shelves fit your precise needs.

The pros of buying new van shelving are:

  • Shelving inventory is readily available.
  • Manufacturer and distributor guarantees are in place.
  • The shelves come with a warranty.
  • Your professionally sourced shelves may reduce insurance premiums due to lower risk.
  • You can customize shelves to your professional needs.
  • There are shelving packages designed for specific vehicles.
  • You can expect your brand-new shelves to last the warranty period.
  • You have a guarantee on shelving capacity.
  • Manufacturers and distributors stock replacement parts.
  • You receive aftermarket and sales service.
  • Your new shelving is fresh, clean and structurally sound.

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The cons of buying new van shelving:

  • These might be more expensive than used shelves.
  • New shelves may take longer to deliver than used shelves.

Top 7 Things to Look for When Buying Cargo Van Shelving

Outfitting your work van takes some consideration, and when shopping shelves, there are a few points to bear in mind. You may have plenty of van racking and shelving ideas, but knowing what to look for and the questions to ask when shopping van shelves will help you narrow your options and make the most practical choice.

1. What Is the Van Shelving Price and Why?

One of the first things many people consider when shopping for new or used shelves is the cost of buying commercial shelving to put in a van. The cost varies by product, size, material, quality, components, use and brand — that said, premium shelving packages are generally a larger investment than individual shelving units. It is best to thoroughly review the asking price if you discover a used shelving system or individual units.

2. Are the Van Shelves Reputably Branded or DIY?

When shopping for secondhand shelves, you want to look for ones by the top van shelving manufacturers and should ask about the brand. Homemade van shelving may appear well constructed and stable, though it may snap or collapse once you apply sufficient pressure. You receive exact weight limitations and best practices when you purchase new shelving.

3. What Is the State and Quality of the Van Shelves?

You can choose from various materials, including steel, aluminum and wood, though you need to determine the quality and establish the shelves' state. See if there are dents, corrosion, sagging or bends in the material and ask about the use and age.

4. What Are the Van Shelves' Dimensions?

Some shelves fit into almost every van type and tend to be the smallest size available. If you require substantial shelving, you must know the exact measurements to ensure they fit comfortably in your cargo van. Identifying what your van carries is also essential, as you need to accommodate your cargo.

5. Are the Van Shelves Industry-Specific or General Use?

Standard shelving may suffice initially, but a bakery van may discover they need a delivery shelving package with folding shelves to clear the area for larger confectionaries. As an electrician, you might require an electrical shelving package that offers locking cabinets, plastic bins, drawer cabinets and a wire reel holder.

6. Is It a Van Shelving Set or Individual Units?

Purchasing a shelving set or package with more than one shelf means you have more storage space, which is varied and designed to fit the van appropriately. Buying and combining individual units may lead to wasted space or a loss of versatility.

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7. Could You Resell Your Commercial Van With the Shelves?

Someone might sell a commercial van with shelves because the shelving is fixed to the vehicle, and removing them will alter the aesthetics. Additionally, the van has more value if sold to someone looking for an up-fitted commercial van. For instance, if you are an electrician who upgrades your fleet, marketing your vans to another electrical company with preinstalled shelves increases the appeal. However, it would be best to have premium shelving from a reputable brand in good condition.

How to Determine Your Needs When Buying Van Shelving

How to Determine Your Needs When Buying Van Shelving

Knowing how to up-fit your commercial cargo van helps you get the most out of your essential work van. To help determine your van shelving needs, consider the following:

  • Van size and space for shelves: Look at a comprehensive van layout guide, consult the user manual or physically measure the van.
  • Your profession and equipment: Certain shelving offers generic use, while other types provide industry solutions — including types of storage and compartmentalization.
  • Level of flexibility required: Depending on your industry, there may be times when your shelving needs to alter or shift, like installing fold-away shelves for delivery vans.
  • Size of shelves needed: Apart from vehicle size, you should determine the shelf size and useable surface area.
  • Types of roads and terrain: Road and driving conditions contribute to choosing shelving and storage types, materials and accessories.
  • Assembly and installation: Check the level of intricacy and tools you will need for assembly and installation.
  • Shelving material and weight capacity: Several factors help determine whether to choose steel or aluminum van shelving.
  • Available budget: The initial instinct is to decide on your investment amount and find suitable shelving. Instead, determine your daily work requirements, then budget and invest in the best shelf quality, size and application that matches.

Trust Advantage Outfitters, LLC for Your Van Shelving Needs

Trust Advantage Outfitters, LLC for Your Van Shelving Needs

The right shelves help maximize storage space, keep items organized and support goods and equipment while remaining structurally sound. At Advantage Outfitters, we strive to offer all your shelving needs for a range of van models and sizes at a fair price. Order customized van shelving and accessories suited to your vocation and storage necessities.

Most orders leave our warehouse within two business days to ensure timely delivery. We partner with reputable national carriers to offer shipping to the lower 48 states for your convenience. If you would like to discuss new van shelving options, contact Advantage Outfitters or visit our showrooms in New York and New Jersey to view your new van shelves in person.

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