It’ll come as no surprise to anyone that vehicles are crucial to delivery drivers. Most of your time will be spent on the road, and differences in price, fuel economy and reliability can make the difference between a profitable business and a struggling one. |
Here, we’ll run through some of the most popular vans and bikes among professional delivery workers, helping you pick the one that’s right for you.
A van is essential for pretty much any load larger than a motorcycle carrier box. Cars are particularly poor for courier work, as they prioritise comfort and passenger space and often come with very little storage.
The Vauxhall Corsavan is at the smallest end of the small-van scale, with a load volume of just 0.9m3. It’s priced averagely, but second-hand models are available significantly cheaper than the £11,000+ you’ll pay new. Fuel economy is solid, offering 48mpg on petrol and up to 70 on diesel, and it excels at reliability, only needing a service every 20,000 miles or so.
If you need more space, though, you’d be better off looking at the Volkswagen Caddy. With 3.2m3 for storage, this is one of the most popular small vans on the market for a reason. Independent tests have confirmed its fuel economy at 53mpg – close to the 55 manufacturers promised. It’s more expensive new than the Vauxhall – around £12-13,000. But you feel the benefits in both reliability and comfort.
Finally, the Citroen Berlingo is a close competitor. Around £12,000 new and with 3.3m3 load volume, it’s playing in the same ballpark as the Volkswagen. It loses value quickly, but Citroen is claiming 60mpg for newer models, suggesting the costs might even out the more it’s used for courier work.
You’ll be sacrificing the comfort these smaller vehicles provide, but for bigger loads a larger van is necessary. Stats here are for the regular models, but each listed vehicle also comes in a larger long-wheelbase version.
The Mercedes Sprinter is the closest to the smaller vans you’re likely to get, boasting speed and comfort unusual for a vehicle its size. It’s in the middle of the range, with 36mpg, but its 7.5m3 load space makes it a solid competitor. It can be expensive if you want bells and whistles, sure, but Mercedes’s unlimited mileage warranty means those using it for courier work could benefit significantly.
The Volkswagen LT is similar to the Sprinter without the luxury. With a 7m3 load volume and around 30mpg fuel economy, there’s not a lot to write home about beyond the fact it can be very cheap second-hand – as low as £9,000.
Finally, the classic: one in four vans on UK roads is a Ford Transit, and with 7.94m3 storage space as standard, second-hand prices on older models as low as £4,000, and a wide variety of styles, it’s easy to see why. Most versions offer only around 25mpg, but those doing courier work will note Ford’s services are very affordable, available and quick.
At the other end of the motor vehicle spectrum, these small bikes are ideal for quick deliveries in densely packed urban environments. You wouldn’t take them cross-country, but they’re perfect for weaving through traffic.
The Honda XR125 is the classic, but it’s now only available second-hand, with few repair options. Much better is the Honda CGF 125, the closest equivalent currently on the market. You’ll pay about £2,500 for a motorcycle marketed especially to city users, boasting an independently confirmed mpg of 87.5.
The Yamaha YBR 125 is another good option, coming with similar specs and reviews to the CGF. It can reach only 62mph to the Honda’s 65, but in a city environment you’re unlikely to ever approach that speed. They can be found second-hand for a low £1,250, and Yamaha claims 94mpg, but this remains to be confirmed. (Honda has claimed as high as 134mpg for the CGF.)
Whatever the type of courier work you do, we hope this article has proved useful in helping you select a vehicle.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier work in the express freight exchange industry. Over 5,400 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.
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