Fleet Management for Van Drivers
Most sole traders start out with one van as their main form of business transport, but when it's time to expand and buy another van or maybe more, you start to get into 'fleet' territory.
Knowing how to manage a fleet of vans, even a relatively small fleet, can be crucial to maximising profits and minimising the risk of being unable to deliver your full service levels.
Here's what you need to know.
Your vans are an important asset
If your company is operating more than one van, or a combination of vans, lorries, cars, construction vehicles or minibuses, you should adopt a fleet management strategy to assist with the successful running, maintenance and upkeep of the vehicles.
Fleet management will involve some or all of the following responsibilities:
- Purchase or lease considerations: Achieving the right price and keeping to payment plans and lease agreements
- Insurance: This could be fleet van insurance, any driver van insurance or single vehicle insurance. Speak to your van insurance company to understand what the best plan is for your fleet.
- Maintenance: Every minute a van is off the road is costing you money. Making sure you have a van maintenance programme in place for your vehicles can help you to minimise the effects of broken down vans and maximise the efficiency of your fleet.
- Upholding traffic laws: Understanding and adhering to the applicable rules and regulations for operating vans and commercial vehicles in the UK and abroad.
- Fuel management: If your vehicles are not driven efficiently, there will be a significant impact on your profit margins.
- Safety, training and accident management: Making sure your drivers are properly trained to drive your vehicles safely and having processes in place to deal with accidents and repairs.
- Route planning and optimisation: Some businesses will need to ensure their vans are travelling the most direct and time efficient routes in order to fulfil deadlines and create optimum productivity.
- Upfitting: The installation or upgrading of features that allow the occupants to do their job more efficiently.
- Vehicle disposal: Making sure your fleet is kept efficient through the disposal of old vans and purchase of new models.
Fleet van insurance or any driver insurance?
You can buy fleet van insurance for two or more vans. Fleet van insurance helps you to keep things simple because you will have one insurance policy providing consistent cover across all your vans. There's one renewal date and you choose the features you require across all vehicles.
Any driver van insurance means you can insure each vehicle separately, with different levels of cover and insurance features, and each van can be driven by different members of your team.
What is best for your business's fleet will depend on a number of factors, so it's best to talk to insurers who know what they're talking about.
Contact iVan today, for van insurance that's built for your business.
Van Driver Speed Limits – What's the Law for Your Van?
As a van driver it's really important to be safe and considerate on the roads. Large vans present a distinct danger to other road users in a road accident and the speed at which you drive will have a significant impact on the level of damage caused or injuries suffered.
If you're caught speeding, your van driver employment could be affected; the cost of your van insurance will rise once you have points on your licence and the fines can be pretty hefty.
What are the speed limits?
All vehicles must adhere to the specified local speed limits in designated areas, such as outside schools etc. These speed limits are set by local councils and must be clearly signed.
The speed limit for all vehicles in built-up areas (unless otherwise signed) is 30 mph (48 km/h). This is the same for all single and dual carriageways with street lights (unless otherwise signed).
Once you get onto single carriageways, dual carriageways (without street lighting) and motorways, the speed limits for vans are not the same as for cars.
Car-derived vans* have the same speed limits as ordinary cars on single carriageways 60mph (96 km/h), dual carriageways and motorways 70 mph (112 km/h).
If a car-derived van is towing a trailer the speed limits are as follows: single carriageways 50mph (80km/h), dual carriageways and motorways 60 mph (96 km/h).
Vans and commercial goods vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight must stick to the following speed limits: single carriageways 50mph (80 km/h), dual carriageways 60 mph (96 km/h), and motorways 70 mph (112 km/h) or 60 mph (96 km/h) if articulated or towing a trailer.
In England and Wales, vans and commercial goods vehicles of more than 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight must stick to the following speeds: single carriageways 50mph (80 km/h), dual carriageways and motorways 60 mph (96 km/h).
In Scotland, vans and commercial goods vehicles of more than 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight must stick to the following speed limits: single carriageways 40mph (64 km/h), dual carriageways 50 mph (80 km/h) and motorways 60 mph (96 km/h).
Other rules for van drivers
Vans and commercial vehicles with a maxim laden weight of more than 3.5 tonnes must have a speed limiter fitted. These devices restrict the fuel supply to the engine and may mean your vehicle is unable to reach the speed limit.
Motorhomes will be classed as "goods vehicles" if they are carrying goods for sale or exhibition, are used as a workshop, or used for storage.
What is maximum laden weight?
There are a number of terms for "maximum laden weight", including maximum laden mass, maximum authorised mass, revenue weight, and gross vehicle weight.
All refer to the gross (all inclusive) weight of the vehicle and everything loaded onto it, including the people.
What are the penalties for speeding in a van?
Speeding offences are often handled via a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) which could be handed to you on the spot or you might receive it through the post.
If you plead guilty to the driving offence you won't need to go to court. The minimum penalty for an FPN is £100 fine with three penalty points on your driving licence
If you do not plead guilty you will need to go to court. If you are found guilty of the speeding offence, the amount of fine and penalty will be decided by the court. The fine will be a percentage of your weekly income. This is capped at £1,000 or £2,500 for speeding offences on the motorway. (January 2022)
The court has the power to suspend your licence or disqualify you from driving.
Motoring offences are bad for your van insurance
If you get points on your licence from a speeding offence your van insurance premium will almost certainly go up at renewal.
Many companies require their drivers to have clean licences to help them keep the cost of any driver van insurance as low as possible. This might mean that getting caught speeding could be a sackable offence.
So, it's a really good idea to get to know the speed limits for your particular van and keep a close eye on your speed at all times.
* a goods/commercial vehicle which is constructed or adapted as a derivative of a passenger vehicle and which has a maximum laden weight not exceeding 2 tonnes.
Best Vans for Delivery Drivers and Couriers
Back in August we answered some of your questions about starting work as a delivery driver. Here we look at some of the best vans for the job.
There's lots of choice out there and what you decide upon will be guided primarily by the type of deliveries you are making and your budget. But, as a basic starting point, here are Vanarama's top three vans for delivery companies and couriers.
The small van
Vanarama favours the Ford Transit Connect as the "staple small van", saying it is an "excellent small van" which is a force to be reckoned with in the highly competitive small van market.
The Connect has a 1.5 litre EcoBlue Diesel engine which can deliver between 58.9 – 68.9mpg and a responsive 6-speed gearbox. The Vanarama review says that the cabin is excellent and offers car-like comfort.
Despite being a small van, even the shortest Connect models provide back doors measuring 1.2m wide x 1.2m high, plus a 43cm wide x 1.2m high sliding door at the side. The loadspace measures 1.5m x 1.5m at max and 1.2m between the wheel arches.
It can hold one to two Euro pallets which can be secured in place with lashing points and multiple hook points. Maximum payload starts at 600kg for the smallest L1 model, and weighs in at more than 1,000kg for the largest model.
Vanarama says the Ford Transit Connect is "perfect for short or long-hop delivery drivers".
The medium-sized van
This time the vote goes to Vauxhall and its UK-built Vivaro. Vanarama says the build quality is excellent and for van drivers looking for the perfect blend of space, mobility and excellent running costs, the Vivaro is "definitely the place to start".
The loadspace offers a load length of 2.8m which can be increased to up to 4m by using the load through feature. The loading bay measures 1.4m high x 1.6m wide (1.2m between the arches) and the 1.2m-high by 1m-wide side door gives easy accessibility. With an impressive payload average of 1,415kg across the range, the Vivaro makes a great option for delivery van drivers.
The large van
For new delivery drivers anticipating the need for a roomy loadspace, Vanarama has chosen the Citroen Relay as its top pick in the large van category. They describe the Relay as a "proper workhorse" capable of carry very large loads while keeping the running costs down.
It has one of the largest load bays available in the large van category: 1.8 m between partitions and 1.4m between the wheel arches. The back doors are almost 2m high and 1.5m wide with a side door of 1.2m wide.
The payload limit is 1,500kg, but there are variants of the van that can take up to 1,995 kg and there are plenty of lashing points across the loading bay.
Vanarama says that while the cabin is basic, it is comfy and has all the creature comforts that you need while out on a delivery route. And as for durability, well, the Relay really is a hard-working beast which is ideal for long distances.
Best insurance for vans
Just as your choice of van will be dictated by your budget and needs, your van insurance will vary depending on the specific type of cover you need.
For instance, if you need any driver van insurance because you want flexibility when driving, you might pay a little more than for a single driver. However, the benefits of having multiple drivers insured may mean that you can keep your delivery business going even if one of you drivers cannot get out on the road.
Talk to iVan today to find the best insurance quote for your van whether it's small medium or large.
Get your PIVG subsidy now when buying an electric van
The Plug-in Van Grant (PIVG) has been available to purchasers of new all-electric commercial vehicles (and a select few hybrid vans) since 2012, but there are fears that the scheme could soon be phased out following two cuts to the grants in 2021.
On 15 December 2021, the Government reduced the amount of grant available for electric vans across the range of sizes. This followed a previous round of reductions made in March.
How much grant can I claim on an electric van?
Grants of up to £8,000 had been available for purchases of electric vans up to 3.5 tonnes, but this figure was reduced in March 2021 to £6,000, and again in December to a maximum of £5,000 (up to 35% of the purchase price).
Grants for small vans up to 2.5 tonnes are now a maximum of £2,500 (up to 35% of the purchase price). From March to December this figure had been £3,000.
There is also now a limit on the number of van grants available to individual customers. Fleet owners will be able to claim the subsidy for up to 1,000 vans per application.
Can I claim a grant for any electric van?
The PIVG provides a government-funded subsidy for vans that are able to be driven with zero emissions. The latest qualifying criteria states that vans must be able to:
- travel at least 60 miles with zero emissions
- create less than 50g/km CO2 emissions
Are grants available on larger vans and trucks?
Vans weighing up to 4.25 tonnes qualify for the 'small truck' grant and buyers can receive up to £16,000 or 20% of the purchase price (prior to December 2021 this had been £20,000).
These larger alternative-fuel vans are seen as an important part of a greener logistics industry and a special exemption has been granted so that, in certain circumstances, they can be driven on a standard UK driver's licence.
What about the cost of the charging system?
Grants of up to 75% towards the cost of electric vehicle smart chargepoints at domestic properties in the UK are available through the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS).
However, the grants will no longer be available to homeowners in single-unit properties from April 2022 (installations must be completed by 31 March 2022 and the grant claim submitted by 30 April 2022).
Those who live in flats (homeowners) and people who live in rental accommodation (both flats and single properties) will still be able to apply for the grant.
The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) provides vouchers towards the upfront cost of installing a workplace charge system and is available for eligible businesses, charities and public-sector organisations.
Electric van insurance with iVan
There have long been murmurings that insurance for electric vans is more expensive than traditional vehicles, and yes, any new or niche technology in a van will make it more expensive initially. However, this is largely to do with the higher-than-average vehicle purchase prices and the cost of replacement parts and repairs.
As electric vans become more commonplace, and as the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned, possibly by 2030, the costs related to electric vans will come down and so will the price of electric van insurance.
If you want to find out how much it would cost to insure an electric van, contact iVan today, the van insurance specialists.
The Cost of Van Insurance - How Is It Worked Out?
The type of van you have, the level of cover you want and how you use your van will all affect how much your van insurance costs. If you want a special policy, such as any driver van insurance, fleet cover, or young driver van insurance, this will all affect the price.
Similarly, adding tool cover, breakdown cover, a courtesy van in the event yours is off the road for repair and any other special provision will also add to the price, but these extras can be invaluable if you rely on your van to work.
Different van insurance companies charge different prices and you should always shop around for quotes; however, the cheapest isn't always the best and you could be left out of pocket in some circumstances if you choose your van insurance unwisely.
How to get cheap van insurance
You will need to answer a set of questions about yourself, your van, and your van insurance needs. The answers will affect how individual insurers work out their price for your van insurance policy.
You will need to be honest when answering the questions as any false, fraudulent information you provide may lead to consequences in the future. If you need to make a claim and your insurer discovers that you lied when taking out the policy, your cover could be invalidated. This means you won't receive any insurance payout and you may find it very difficult to get insurance cover in the future.
Key information that insurers use to calculate your van insurance price
Van insurance groups: Your van will have an ABI (Association of British Insurers) rating based on its value, cost of replacement parts, performance, acceleration, top speed, and level of security and safety features.
Level of cover required: From the lowest level (and generally the cheapest) third party only, to third party, fire and theft, up to the highest level of van insurance comprehensive cover. Comprehensive van insurance covers damage caused by fire, cover for when your van is stolen, protection for third parties if you are in an accident, and protection for you and your vehicle in an accident.
Your unique details: including where the van will be parked overnight and during the day, your driving history (including penalty points and previous claims), whether you want additional drivers or young drivers to be insured on the policy.
Category of van insurance: there are four main types of van insurance cover and your choice will affect the price of your cover:
- Social, domestic and pleasure only – usually the cheapest, but you cannot use your van for work in any capacity.
- Social, domestic, please and commuting – this class adds cover for driving to and from a single place of work.
- Business use for carriage of own goods – suitable for tradespeople who carry their own tools and businesses delivering their goods to different destinations.
- Business use for carriage of goods for hire or reward – typically used by couriers and delivery firms carrying other businesses' goods.
- Business use for haulage – typically for larger vans and lorries transporting commercial goods over longer distances.
Getting a good deal on your van insurance
All van insurance companies work out the price for van insurance using their own unique calculations and that's the reason why it pays to shop around.
At iVan we can do the hard work for you, by searching for the best van insurance policy suited to your needs. We provide great deals on any driver van insurance and under-25 van insurance as well as providing insurance cover for small fleets.
So why not get a quote today.