9 businesses you can run if you own a van

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For the desk-bound daydreamer, owning a van-based business holds a lot of appeal: open roads, meeting lots of people, hearing great music at festivals, freedom.  

But there are loads of practicalities too. A business in a van is more flexible, especially with changeable Covid-19 conditions. You’ve got fewer overheads and fewer members of staff to manage, they’re generally cheaper to run and you can go out to customers rather than relying on them to find you. 

As with any business, it’s vital to get a solid business plan in place first. What will your profits look like? Who is your target market? Find out what you need to include by reading Example business plans.

Establish whether you’re a sole trader or limited company. Find out which you should go with by reading Should you register as a sole trader or a limited company?

Some of the essentials of running van-based business will be the same but different, depending on the type of business you run. Think insurance, licences, booking systems and marketing. We’ll cover more of those practical points as we go on. Then you’ve got your vital elements like fuel to run your vehicle along with tax and admin. When money’s so tight, you could be given a leg up by expense claims so make sure you know what you’re eligible for.

Advertising is key which is great because you’ve got a potential advertisement on wheels. That’s where custom vehicle wraps come in – find out more in our Guide to commercial vehicle wrapping for small business.

Franchising is an easier starting point if the prospect of being all on your own is too daunting just now. You can grow out your business from there if you’re feeling more confident.  

Getting back to the fun stuff, think about your business name. It should be memorable, original and appropriate to your business. Make a start by reading How to choose a great name for your new business.

If you own a van and are at a loss as to what to do with it, give these ideas a good mulling over.

Many thanks to Van Ninja for their help with this article.

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  1. Waste removal
  2. Mobile beautician/hairdresser
  3. Driving instructor
  4. Bike mechanic
  5. Courier
  6. Painter
  7. Food truck
  8. Pet groomer
  9. Plumber