British Car Auctions (BCA) is offering the thousands of small enterprises that use vans some useful advice on what to consider when buying their next vehicle.
Duncan Ward, general manager of commercial vehicle sales at BCA says informed decisions at the start of the process could be crucial in maximising resale values when it comes time to sell.
"A van is a working tool, so getting the right specification for the job is a given,” he said. “But, equally, getting the right added extras will make any van more attractive to used buyers a few years down the line when it is time to sell.
“The auction buyer will seek out the best vehicle they can buy with the budget they've got - and if a van with two side loading doors, a bulkhead and aircon is on offer that will be the one they bid for, if all the other vans available are basic models.
"Generally a better specification will make a van more desirable and saleable with higher-spec vehicles often selling more quickly, improving cash-flow for the seller. The key is, knowing which features are worth paying for when it comes to resale value."
Interior ply-lining is one of the best value extras for any van buyer. It's expected by buyers and, importantly, it protects valuable company vehicles from ‘inside-out' damage that is likely to occur day-to-day.
Value-wise ply-lining might add £100, but the real benefit is that the van is much more likely to be in a more saleable condition after three or four years' hard work.
Side-loading doors are another key consideration for buyers. And these are just as essential for smaller vans as they are for the larger one tonne and 3.5 tonne vehicles.
BCA believes that, at the very least a van should include a single nearside sliding door, but two side-loading doors will be particularly appealing for businesses whose drivers are going to work in tight, urban conditions.
Potential value in the used market can increase by around £150 for a single and £250 for two side-loading doors, depending on the vehicle.
Factory-fitted satnav does not, however, make a huge difference to the selling price because most mobile and smart phones now offer this facility.
Similarly, in-van entertainment and blue-tooth connectivity may only add a marginal increase of £50 at resale. Parking sensors for the 3.5 tonne market where low-speed reversing damage is more common might also add £50.
Still inside the cab, air-conditioning is highly valued when combined with a bulkhead, otherwise all that cool air dissipates into the load area and simply burns money.
Similarly, if a van is being used for start-stop urban deliveries air-conditioning is considered wasteful, because the driver will be in and out of the cab and not getting the benefit.
However, air-con is appealing for vans that do longer distances or where the vehicle doubles as the family transport at the weekends for a tradesperson.
"As confidence improves in the UK economy, many small businesses will be investing in their company transport and looking to get the best value for money." added Ward. "This may mean spending a bit more up front to get the best resale value down the line."