Which is a Better Contractor Vehicle - Work Van or Pickup?

18th Mar 2022

If you're new to the contractor industry or you're an existing contractor looking to upgrade your transportation unit, you may be wondering which contractor vehicle is the best choice for you. In our years of experience, we've consistently seen two different kinds of vehicles that contractors choose — a cargo van or a pickup truck. Both have their merits and drawbacks. This guide will walk you through each to find the best match for you and your business.

The Pros of Using a Pickup

The pickup truck is a more traditional choice when it comes to contractor transportation — and for plenty of great reasons. These vehicles are already well-established in the industry, so you can find multiple makes and models guaranteed to fit your needs. Additionally, you can customize pickup trucks fairly easily.

If you're involved in a contractor service that requires you to transport tools and supplies, pickup trucks are perfect because of their increased carrying capacity compared to vans. Having a bed to load long stacks of pipes and lumber makes your life and job much less stressful. This  outside storage option is also a great way to reduce the amount of noise and clutter in the cabin of your vehicle.

Furthermore, pickup trucks are an excellent option for business owners to reduce costs over time thanks to their reliable durability and low gas mileage. Due to improved suspension systems and resilience over rough and easy terrain, pickup trucks are a great option when you need a long-lasting contractor vehicle. Plus, you can cut your gas costs by choosing a pickup for your jobs.

The Cons of Using a Pickup

The benefits of using a pickup truck are clear, but not everything about them is perfect.

A primary drawback of the pickup truck is that it can be somewhat uncomfortable to drive in for lengthy trips. A pickup truck's suspension and durability are great benefits, but they're also the primary cause as to why driving one can be stiff and uncomfortable. Cruising down highways for long stretches of time can lead to a stiff experience. If you plan to do a lot of long-distance travel in your contractor vehicle, you'll want to keep that factor in mind.

Additionally, the pickup truck has noticeable limitations in security for your parts and tools. The open bed is an accessible place to store equipment. However, you may find that accessibility to be unsafe. All of your tools and parts could be susceptible to theft or damage from the elements while you're away from the truck doing your work. There are covers you can put onto the bed of your truck, but they limit its carrying capabilities. If you plan to transport large or valuable equipment or parts, you'll want to consider the van for your contractor business.

That open storage also leaves your equipment liable to weathering — snow, rain and even direct sunshine can start to work on your tools, contributing to rust. You and your tools will also be more exposed to the outside conditions. If you'll be traveling through harsher weather, this is a factor you might want to consider.

As another option, a van offers the kind of storage to protect your tools from the outside elements and the ability to step inside for some cover during inclement weather.

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The Pros of Using a Van

Over the past several years, we've seen the cargo van become one of the fastest-rising contractor vehicles in the industry. After taking a look at the benefits of using a van, it's pretty clear why that's the case.

The biggest draw of using a van is its enclosed cargo space which allows you to safely store your tools, materials and appliances without worrying about theft, losing them while driving and more. This space also helps protect your materials from extreme weather conditions.

In addition to the ability to securely store your materials and tools, using a van as a contractor vehicle also gives you opportunities to customize the inside to best fit your needs. For example, you can add shelves and drawers to the inside of your van to improve organization and existing security.

Beyond organizational customization, vans offer a much-improved driving experience for frequent and long-distance travel. These vehicles aren't as stiff as pickup trucks while driving, so they offer a smooth ride and easy driveability.

For business owners, a van is an effective option when you want to increase your advertising opportunities. The side of a van is essentially a large, blank canvas just waiting to display your logo or artwork. You can increase brand awareness and get free advertising space wherever you go without having to pay for additional advertising space.

The Cons of Using a Van

Similar to the pickup truck, the van comes with noticeable downsides that contractors should consider before deciding which contractor vehicles they should use.

Typically, vans aren't as durable as pickup trucks, nor do they have the same level of visibility. This comes down to the noticeable differences in suspension and other related parts. If you expect your vehicle to have a lot of wear and tear, a pickup truck may be the better option for you.

A van doesn't have nearly the same capabilities in terms of towing. This can make certain services in the industry a lot more difficult, and even indicates that the van has a far lower weight-limit capacity than a truck. If you plan to use your vehicle for towing or to transport heavy appliances and parts, you should highly consider a pickup truck.

One final drawback is that a cargo van lacks passenger space. A pickup truck typically has space for at least three people in the cabin, sometimes offering an entire second row of seating. However, a van usually only has two seats for a driver and a passenger. This can make multi-person jobs tricky to organize without additional vans, which becomes costly over time.

Which Is Better? It Depends on the Job

There are a few benefits and drawbacks to choosing either the van or the pickup, and you should consider them when making a decision. Ultimately, the type of vehicle you choose should come down to what you plan to do with it.

If you plan to do local work with heavy material and equipment and expect to experience wear and tear, the pickup truck is the clear option for you. This vehicle is also best for transporting multiple team members to jobs.

If you see yourself traveling far distances, needing to store expensive tools and equipment and wanting easy advertising space for your business, going with the van is likely the best choice for you.

Of course, even with the above reasons laid out, the choice can also come down to personal preference. There are no right or wrong answers — choose the option that best fits your business and preferences.

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Whatever contractor vehicle you choose, Advantage Outfitters, LLC can help you customize your vehicle for increased organization and efficiency. We've helped many businesses around the New York City area get the interior vehicle customization they need to successfully operate their business on the go. If you're looking to join our list of satisfied clients, reach out to us now and increase the mobile capability of your business.

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