Work Truck or Work Van? That is the Question

It’s long been a point of discussion and debate. What’s better to use for work: a pickup truck or a cargo van? By sight, they might seem very different. It’s best to take a long look at the large inventory of Chevy work trucks and work vans. The pickup truck usually has an open bed and off-road capabilities while the cargo van has an enclosed area that’s best when driving around a city or town. But, both offer similar benefits: there’s excellent towing capacity and a large area to stow tools and equipment. So which one is best for you and your business?

Pickup Truck Benefits: 

You’ll usually hear carpenters and plumbers and others of their ilk promoting the benefits of a pickup truck. Why? It’s due to ease of use. These workers who carry long pipes or stacks of lumber prefer to load and unload their supplies from an open pickup bed or rack than to reach into an enclosed van. And, if need be, they can load pallets of heavy items with a forklift into a pickup truck.

Business owners also cite a few design features in which the pickup truck gets the nod over a cargo van. Driving visibility comes up often as a pickup preference especially if you are maneuvering through narrow city streets or fast highways. The suspension capability of a pickup truck is rated better than a cargo van’s suspension. And finally, drivers like the choice of gears on a pickup truck rather than only having an automatic transmission on a cargo van.

Another consideration in which a pickup truck is chosen over a van is gas mileage. Most of today’s pickup trucks offer better fuel economy than a cargo van. If you drive a lot for your business and put a lot of miles on your vehicle, perhaps a pickup is the better choice. Cargo vans, especially older models, weigh more and have older, less fuel efficient engines. Some workers complain that vans are harder to work on or require more shop hours to fix things that are engine related.

While they do have the name “cargo,” pickup trucks usually offer more, not less, capacity than a van. If you’re a contractor or glass installer, you’ll probably choose the pickup to carry all of your tools and equipment. Pickups also provide better towing capabilities and passenger room. For those who opt for a heavy-duty pickup truck, you’ll have the ability to pull thousands of more pounds than a cargo van. If passenger room is of key importance, perhaps for an extra worker or family member, a crew-cab pickup boasts five seats and still offers excellent towing and hauling capabilities.

Finally, there are a few personal reasons that business owners prefer pickup trucks over vans.  Some note that a pickup provides a higher resale value. Others don’t like to hear the noise of equipment or tools banging around inside a van when they’re driving on rough roads. Many note that they just plain and simple like the image projected by a pickup truck. A square vanilla-looking van isn’t their taste.

Cargo Van Benefits:

If you opt for a cargo van, you’re not alone. Cargo vans are one of the fastest-growing, most lucrative vehicle segments. Last year, U.S. sales of full-size vans increased eight times faster than the industry average. So what are you waiting for?

One of the biggest benefits offered by a cargo van is its enclosed cargo area. This provides a two-fold advantage. First, it offers more security and theft protection so you don’t have to carry your valuable tools inside at every jobsite or worry that prying eyes might break into your vehicle. Secondly, it keeps your load safe from bad weather, especially if you’re carrying sheetrock or other materials that will be damaged by rain.

If you need extra interior space that is easily accessible, a van offers organizational features and customization for all of your job necessities, such as shelves or drawers to help you keep order with all of your stocked parts as you travel from jobsite-to-jobsite. A vam also gives you easier access from the driver’s seat to the back to reach for items. Many models have more than 500 cubic feet of cargo volume and 5,000 pounds of payload. For many, a van becomes a mobile showroom for their wares.

Another nod to driving a van for business is its comfort. If your business takes you on long trips on a daily or weekly basis, a van is a much smoother ride than a truck, provides better maneuverability, and is easier to drive. It also does not require large, expensive tires to replace.
While some workers choose to add toppers to the bed of their pickup trucks, cargo van owners note these additions actually limit the height inside the truck’s bed and prohibit big pallets of materials. Electricians, florists, caterers, and other field workers find that a van helps them carry their products and accessories without fear of falling over and being damaged.

Finally, cargo vans offer one other important ability that pickups don’t have: advertising space. Just think of it! You’ve got a huge exterior space with no windows, usually in plain black or white, which provides you with the ability to vinyl wrap your van with colorful graphic advertising. It’s like being a driving billboard with your firm’s name, phone number, and capabilities for all to see.

In the end, your decision will largely be dictated by the work you do, what you carry, and how far you drive. If your business often finds you with the need to tow or haul heavy loads or carry around extra passengers, a pickup truck is most likely your best choice. If you have important tools and equipment that you need to keep safe, dry and organized, a cargo van is most likely your best choice.

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