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Starting a man and van business gives you the opportunity to earn money quickly with low start-up costs.
We’ve put together an overview of all the things you need to know to get your van business up and running, such as the equipment you’ll need, how much money you could make, and how to register your business.
Read on to find out our top tips to starting a man with a van business, including getting the right van, finding your niche, and promoting your business.
A man and van business is a self-employed service that helps its customers to move items, complete deliveries, or carry out odd jobs that a van may be needed for.
Most man with a van businesses will serve a specific area and are often viewed as a cheap solution that can help out at short notice.
Your aim when setting up a van business will be to build up clients through repeat business, while also helping with one-off jobs.
You can make a good living from offering a van service, particularly once you start receiving repeat business. Man with a van businesses are seen as a cost-effective way to move home or transport items, and most companies charge by the hour.
According to Checkatrade, the average hourly cost for one person and a van is £64. This rises to £78 for two people and van, and £94 for three people and a van.
Every job will be different depending on what you need to do and how long it’ll take. For example, you could charge around £150 for helping with a removal which takes three hours, while a competitive price for a delivery which takes one hour is likely to be around £50.
You’ll be able to charge more if you have a bigger van or more than one member of staff.
When quoting prices, you’ll also need to consider how far you need to travel, whether you’ll be needed to help move items, and whether there is any specialist work that needs doing.
It’s important to offer competitive prices, especially against traditional removals and courier services. However, your pricing should be consistent if you want to build a client base and you’ll need to make sure each job is worthwhile for how much you’re getting paid.
Once you’re up and running with your van, there are a range of jobs you can do. It’s important to be versatile and willing to do odd jobs such as getting rid of rubbish or transporting goods.
Here’s an overview of three of the most common things you’ll be doing:
Getting a business van will be your first consideration. You’ll need to think about the size of van you want, (something bigger if you’re planning on doing a lot of removals), and it’s important that you get a reliable vehicle as you’ll be using it every day.
Our guide to the best business vans gives you an overview of whether you should buy or lease a van and the tax breaks available.
You may also consider getting an electric van as they’re good for the environment and cost less to run. Our guide to electric cars and vans for business explains more about the tax incentives available and some of the best electric vehicles for business.
As well as your van and your phone, there's lots of equipment that’ll be handy on a day-to-day basis. These are some of the things you’ll need:
Buying or leasing a van will be your main expense. Buying a van for business could cost between £15,000 and £30,000 new, while a second-hand vehicle could cost less than £15,000. Business van hire is likely to set you back between £150 and £250 a month.
Other costs you’ll need to consider when setting up your business include:
Once you’ve set up your business, you’ll need to [register as self-employed with HMRC so you can pay tax. There are a range of important tax dates you’ll need to keep on top of, such as the Self Assessment deadline.
In the future, you may want to explore whether you want to stay as a sole trader or become a limited company. Our guide to the difference between sole traders and limited companies can help you to choose the best legal structure for your business.
Promoting your business will be key to getting a regular source of income from your van business.
You can generate leads by advertising across search engines such as Google and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Advertising on forums like Mumsnet or online directories like ZoomInfo, Bing Places, and Yell can also help you to get your business in front of the right people.
If you have a website, make sure it’s SEO-optimised so people can find you on Google.
What’s more, encouraging customers to leave a Google review can help to improve your reputation and increase your customer base.
Our comprehensive guide to marketing your small business can help you get started.
Some traditional forms of marketing may also help you to build your business, including:
As a van business, two other things you’ll need to think about are the name of your business and whether you want to brand your van to make it stand out to potential customers.
Sorting out your insurance is important if you’re a man with a van. The wide variety of tasks you’ll undertake will present risks that might not always be obvious.
As well as van insurance, it’s likely you’ll need goods in transit insurance to cover items while they’re in your van, and public liability insurance can protect you if goods are damaged or people are injured due to your business.
It might also be worth investing in tool insurance to protect any equipment if they’re lost, stolen, or damaged.
Are you thinking of starting a man with a van business? Let us know in the comments below.
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Conor Shilling is a Copywriter at Simply Business with over two years’ experience in the insurance industry. A trained journalist, Conor has worked as a professional writer for 10 years. His previous experience includes writing for several leading online property trade publications. Conor specialises in the buy-to-let market, landlords, and small business finance.
We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer
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