Choosing a Work Vehicle: Cargo Van or Pickup Truck

Though many electrical contractors start out using a pickup truck for their work each day, eventually you’ll need to upgrade to something bigger. For one thing, you no doubt own quite a few expensive tools. It’s easy for tools to be stolen out of a work vehicle. Though you can install locking tool boxes, what happens is that you get in a hurry and forget to lock the boxes and then return to find that your favorite tools have been stolen. This can be frustrating and expensive. And it may lead you to the conclusion that what you really need is a cargo van.

Choosing a Work VehicleDodge Ram Promaster

A number of car makers manufacture good, sound work vehicles including the Dodge Ram Promaster. This series of trucks and vans is fairly priced and has some nice features that contractors love. Ram offers a few standard upfitting packages or you can configure your work space yourself. Look for standard packages to meet the needs of the locksmith, plumber, HVAC expert and electrician.

The Ram ProMaster comes with three different trim styles, the 1,500, 2,500 and 3,500. The ProMaster provides an impressive interior standing height of 76 inches and nearly 4,400 pounds in payload capacity. Ram trucks are deemed 179 property for Federal Tax purposes. If your business qualifies, you may be able to expense up to $500,000 of Section 179 property. This does change from one tax year to the next so check with your accountant to be sure.

Ford work vehicles

Ford makes a solid line of commercial trucks as well. Some offer more passenger seating, while others offer more storage. If you need to haul a work crew around each day, then the Ford Transit Connect is a good solution. They also make a van simply called the “Transit” which offers three roof heights and five choices of wheelbase. This is a lightweight but highly durable work vehicle with plenty of options for storing tools and equipment.

Choosing a Work VehicleMercedes-Benz Sprinter

Mercedes Benz has now developed a full line of work vehicles. You can find everything from luxury pick-up trucks to 18-wheelers. Their trucks are known for their durable construction. The company doesn’t scrimp on anything, so expect high quality workmanship all the way from the frame to the steering wheel.

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a very popular full size cargo van available in two body styles.  Their largest and most expensive van offers almost 3,000 pounds of payload capacity and 190 cu ft. of cargo space. Though this is not the cheapest option, it is one of the most comfortable. Its sleek body style and excellent maneuverability make it a real winner with all tradesmen. The starting price is in the mid $30,000 range making it one of the more expensive choices.

Nissan and Toyota both make a very dependable cargo van that offers good gas mileage and a fairly affordable price. Nissan’s standard van starts at about $22,000, with the Toyota van in that same pricing vicinity. The Toyota Proace is a medium-duty work van, but has a short wheelbase and very little headroom.

Tips for success

You can often find great deals in auto trader magazines, online and at neighborhood car lots. Be sure to have the work vehicle checked out by a mechanic, as many of these work vans have over 100,000 miles on them. Pull the Car Fax as well to see how many owners and/or accidents the van has had. Lastly, use one of those new apps that gives you the average selling price of any truck or car in your city. This can ensure that you don’t pay too much.

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