What can you get for £1 these days? Not very much. But one thing you can do is hire a van (or car) for just £1 from major hire companies through the driiveme.co.uk website⇒*.
What’s the catch?
Here’s the deal. Big hire companies need to ‘rebalance’ their fleets. That means moving cars and vans from one location to another so that they’re available to hire in the right locations.
One way to do this is for the companies to pay drivers or vehicle transporters. But that’s expensive for them and a bit wasteful too.
The other alternative is to rent out the vehicles for £1 to customers who want to travel those routes.
The advantage of this is that it saves a wasted journey — you want to travel from A to B and the van (or car) needs to be moved from A to B. So it’s a win-win situation.
The £1 charge is only needed to activate the hire vehicle’s insurance. Apart from that, all you have to pay for is fuel.
Obviously there is a catch: you have to take the car or van between two fixed locations, usually within 24 hours. But if the route works for you, then this can be a brilliant and cheap way to move around the UK.
According to Prab Chandhok, chiropractor and member of, British Chiropractic Association, “Many people now point to driving as a trigger for their back or neck pain”.
Here at vanrental.co.uk, we don’t think that modern vans are likely to give you a bad back. But there’s no doubt that long periods at the wheel can aggravate an existing problem and possibly make it worse.
The good news is that modern vans are more comfortable and ergonomic than ever. Van manufacturers are going to increasing pains to ensure that there vans are at least as comfy as their cars. After all, many van drivers spend far longer at the wheel than the average car driver.
For drivers, we believe that the key to a healthy, pain-free back is to make sure that your seat is adjusted properly so that you’re in a supportive and stress-free position when you’re driving. Van manufacturer Volkswagen has put together some tips to help you get comfy behind the wheel:
Height: Your thighs should be as parallel to the floor as your seat will allow, and where possible try to get your hips higher than your knees. You should also adjust the thigh support if you have one to ensure you have the maximum surface of your thighs touching the seat.
Pedals: You should be able to push the pedals to the floor with a bend in your knees.
110°: Bring your seat all the way up so it’s straight and then take it back until you are comfortable whilst maintaining a 110 degree angle between your back and thighs.
Lumbar Support: The lumbar support should be adjusted so you can feel it support the hollow in your back but so it’s not causing your spine to arch more than is normal for you.
Head Restraint: The height and angle of your head restraint should be adjusted so you can feel the centre of the support touch the middle of the back of your head, although it does not need to be touching at all times
Steering Wheel: Once in correct seating position, bring your arm up in front of you and position the centre of the steering wheel to be in line with the fold of your wrist.
Rear Mirror: Lift up your chest by five degrees and then adjust your mirrors to help stay in an upright position on long drives.
If this all sounds complicated, here’s how you should look when everything’s adjusted right:
And if you have any tips for avoiding back pain, please share in the comments below to help your fellow van drivers stay pain free.
The disruption caused by changing emissions rules doesn’t stop there. Last year’s switch to the WLTP emissions testing regime for new cars and vans caused disruption to new vehicle supplies across Europe, as the new testing system caused bottlenecks for manufacturers.
The introduction of the ULEZ in London means that anyone who isn’t driving a Euro 6 diesel will face a £12.50 daily charge for driving inside the congestion zone (the area will be expanded in 2021). Realistically, this isn’t a viable choice for daily operation — doing so five days a week would cost £3,250 per year.
With cities such as Birmingham and Leeds due to introduce Clean Air Zones in the next few years, the emissions problem isn’t going away. But operators wanting to update their fleet to Euro 6 models may find that supplies are limited and prices rising, even for used models.
Auction group BCA recently held its first dedicated ULEZ van sale, where all vehicles were Euro 6 compliant or electric/hybrid vans. As part of the sale, BCA guaranteed that all vans being sold would be able to enter the Ultra Low Emission Zone without charge.
A total of 148 vehicles went under the hammer, selling an average of 104% of their CAP book price — i.e. they sold for more than their book value. Some used dealers at the auction confirmed that they are now only retailing Euro 6 models.
With such strong demand, used van prices are likely to remain high, in my opinion. I think many van operators could be better off outsourcing their vehicle supply to large rental firms and focusing on their core business.
Indeed, all of this brings to mind a famous quote from oil baron J Paul Getty, once the world’s richest man. Talking about business, Getty said:
“If it appreciates, buy it. If it depreciates, lease it”
There’s no doubt at all what category vehicles fall into. From the day you buy them, they depreciate and cost you money to maintain. If you’re still running Euro 5 or older vans, I think there’s a real risk that their used value will collapse over the next few years. I suspect that no one will want to buy vans that are effectively banned from many major towns and cities.
In my view, unless transport is a core part of your business, van operators are better advised to consider long-term flexible rental deals such as those from Europcar and Northgate.
Alongside this change, the company has also ordered 100 new Citroen Berlingo vans in Enterprise specification. This high-end spec includes the kind of equipment list that’s more usually found on cars.
Standard spec for the Berlingo Enterprise includes air conditioning, rear parking sensors, cruise control, speed limiter, automatic electronic parking brake, alarm, one-touch electric windows, heated and electrically-operated folding door mirrors, front fog lights with cornering function and tyre pressure monitoring.
Europcar says that private rental customers increasingly expect the comfort and convenience features of a modern car. Meanwhile business customers, who increasingly use rental vans for long periods, want to ensure that their drivers are well-supported and able to do their job comfortably and efficiently.
Brent, Barnet, Enfield, Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Newham, Greenwich, Lewisham, Southwark, Lambeth, Wandsworth, Richmond Upon Thames, Hounslow and Ealing.
For van operators who drive regularly in central London, the obvious conclusion from these changes is that the best way to stay ahead of tighter regulations is to get a zero-emision vehicle — an electric van.
If this isn’t practical, perhaps because you also do longer journeys, then I’d suggests short-term leases of 2/3 years or long-term van hire, which is usually available on a rolling one-month contract.
These choices mean you can avoid the risk of being stuck with a van that becomes unviable to operate in your working territory.
What you may not be prepared for is how much longer it will take to stop when you’ve loaded it up with the contents of your house.
New research by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles have shown that a mere 500kg of weight will increase braking distances by up to 36%.
At 30mph, VW found that braking distances increased by 33% with a 500kg load. That’s an extra two metres, which is a lot in heavy urban traffic.
At 60mph, the braking distance only increased by 19%, but because of the much higher speed VW found that their vans needed an extra five metres to stop. That’s roughly the length of a medium-sized van.
Even that may not be enough. If you’re moving house, you might find your load weighs considerably more than 500kg. A typical 3.5t luton van or long wheelbase Transit will carry around 1,000kg. And you might be surprised how the weight of your furniture and other belongings adds up.
With this extra weight on board, I’d expect your stopping distance to be considerably longer than the figures suggested by Volkswagen.
As a rule of thumb, the more heavily loaded your van is, the more space you should leave to the vehicle in front, especially when in town or on busy high-speed roads like A-roads and motorways.
When you hire a van, there are times you only need it for a couple of hours.
Some companies do offer van hire by the hour, but in major towns and cities hourly van hire is increasingly being replaced by a much more flexible and simple service — van sharing clubs.
The idea is that hire vehicles are left dotted around the city, sometimes in allocated parking spaces. Anyone who is a club member can reserve a van online and then use it for as long — or as little — as they want. Charges are low and often start with a one-hour minimum.
You can pickup and dropoff vehicles 24/7, unlike at traditional rental branches
This concept is probably more familiar for self-service car hire users – car sharing clubs have been around for a while now. But its also increasingly popular with vans. A number of the big hire companies now operate their own van sharing club services. Here’s a quick overview:
Hertz 24/7 – locations are mainly self-storage facilities, B&Q sites and other similar locations. Very practical for shifting large items such as furniture, DIY supplies or stuff for storage. More info at www.hertz247.co.uk/
Zipcar & Zipvan – one of the original dedicated car-sharing services, now expanded to offer vans. In the UK, Zipvan operates in London and a handful of other major cities. More info at www.zipvan.com/