First Van

Hi guys I started up my maintenance business in July and have been making do with our old Ford Fiesta for a vehicle since then! But I want to get a van for the coming season and had been set on a VW Transporter swb panel van. But having seen this dropside model Im wondering if that might be a better option. Im not concerned about not being ableto leave tools on it. But it may be a help with waste. I currently pay someone £10 per bag to take it away but customers dont like having it sat around while I wait for him to come, can be upto a week.

I do a a fair bit of planting and turfing and may take on landscaping projects in the future. I just cant decide if the pick up stle back would be agood idea or not! What do people think?

Many thanks Lee

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  • PRO Supplier

    Hi Lee,

    I had a light utility a bit like this for my maintenance rounds. Ok for weight, (not too much) and very economical. However mine had an under deck drawer where I could keep general, non precious tools - I think you will find you get sick of carting tools in & out, so some storage - even an Armorgard lockable safe for forks, hoes  etc would be worthwhile.

    I bagged most of my waste so relied on ratchet straps to keep the bags down......if you have loads of garden waste, maybe adding a grill/ mesh all the way round would be an upgrade?

    • Cheers. Thank you for the advise. 

  • PRO

    Hi Lee, we have a T6 Transporter van and an old 4 door L200 pick up.  Our van has racking behind the bulkhead and will still take 4 (full to the top) bulk bags or more if you don't fill them so much. 

    I started using the L200 pickup for lawn mowing last year and it's great but a little high to lift the mowers on and off (2 men).  I used it for general gardening for a couple of days but if you are working away from the vehicle, it is a pain in the A$$ keep having to remove all the tools regardless of if you are using them.

    • Okay thanks Darren that’s very helpful. Think i’ll probably settle on a T5.

  • We've always used panel vans you couldn't leave a broken bootlace unattended where we are.

  • alongside my lwb van i had a citroen relay tipper which i later got caged and it was brillyant for waste removal, downside you couldnt leave as much as a brush in the back for some thieving git climbing over. that said i did sell it last year and opt for a second high top lwb van as i get most items delivered to save my time and the waste i can eaily pile into the van and tools out of sight so the van wins hands down for me.

  • PRO

    Not sure about transporters but large size tipper vans with a crew cab will go some way to solving tool storage, dead locks, things chained up inside and its as safe as a panel van and you still have the easy use of the open bed. Of course less storage but if you are smart with your storage you can make use of all the space.

  • Lwb panel van all day long especially if your are going into landscapes as you can get 6ft fence panels in the back

  • PRO

    For about the same money you could pick up a 2 year old lwb vivaro.. 

    Probably get most of what you need in it most of the time.  Could maybe use a trailer with it for days when you have extra waste or materials to carry.

  • PRO


    For me first and main vehicle would always be a lwb van, preferably with a high roof as i can't stand stooping in the back of the van these days. My next van will defo be high roof because as well as the stooping issue i will be able to get 6ft fence panels in too. Also with lwb i can get 3m stuff in on the diagnal which would not be able to do with swb. The extra foot length of the lwb is a no brainer for me and with the transporter still fits a normal parking space.

    I have always had lwb transporter panel vans, and have a trailer for bulk materials and waste when i need it which seems to be nearly all the time these days. Dropsides and tippers are amazing but are 2nd vehicles in my opinion. Dont underestimate the value of being able to lock things in the back of a vehicle. Mine has no windows and a bulkhead and is like a mobile shed. You will always have situations where you need to leave the vehicle - even if only for a few minutes. Eg. I'll just pop in and look at that job on the way home or i'll just nip into the bank and pay in those cheques.

    Also when you are filty and its torrential rain you can always shelter in the back of the van for ten minutes rather than getting the cab all messed up.

    Good luck





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