Author Archives: Van Rental

Peugeot Boxer Low-Floor Luton

Tracking + geofencing stops rental vans straying too far

Peugeot Boxer Low-Floor Luton

What happens if you take your rental van abroad without getting permission from the hire company?

Firstly, you’ll be breaking the law by driving without valid documentation (a VE103 form). And you probably won’t have insurance. So you’ll be in line for a hefty fine if you’re stopped by foreign cops or involved in a collision.

But even if that doesn’t happen, you may find you have an unexpected problem. Your van may suddenly refuse to start.

Van hire companies are increasingly using tracking and telematics systems that allow them to see where their vans are at all times. These systems can also offer so-called geofencing, which means that the van’s owner can set limits on the where it can be operated and immobilise the van if it travels outside those permitted areas.

This might mean that channel ferry ports are added as restricted areas. So if you take a van into a ferry port without having arranged for European hire, you may get a call from your hire company.

If you manage to get out of the country without permission, your van may even be remotely immobilised until the rental company can contact you to find out what’s happening.

Vehicle exhaust

London ULEZ will expand to North & South Circular in 2021

Vehicle exhaust

The London Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) for motorcycles, cars and vans will be expanded up to the North and South Circular roads from 25 October 2021.

The same rules will apply as with the central London ULEZ, which comes into force on 8 April 2019.

Buses, lorries and coaches will face an expanded scheme from 26 October 2020.

What’s the penalty?

Non-compliant vehicles will have to pay a daily ULEZ charge of £12.50, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

What vans are affected?

Diesel vans will need to meet the Euro 6 emissions standard. Loosely speaking, this means that vans made from 2015 onwards should be compliant, although there are some exceptions.

Petrol vans will need to meet Euro 4 standards from 2021, According to the official guidance, this means that petrol vehicles made from 2006 onwards should be compliant.

There are exceptions for the owners of disabled tax class vehicles and adapted private hire vehicles, who will have until 2025 to replace their vehicles. Charities will be given until 2023 to replace their minibuses.

Why is this happening?

This is all about public health. But it could also save the taxpayer money in the long run. Recent research by the University of Oxford has found that the health damage from cars and vans costs the NHS £6bn each year. Health damage caused by London vehicles costs £650m a year.

The reality is that many people living and working inside the North/South Circular roads would probably still have been using pre-Euro 6 vans in 2021. It is estimated that 100,000 cars, 35,000 vans and 3,000 lorries might be affected by the expanded zone and tighter standards every day.

These changes are intended to reduce the number of older vehicles on the road and improve London’s air quality.

According to the London Mayor’s office, the ULEZ scheme should result in emissions reductions across London and will mean that more than 100,000 residents no longer live in areas with illegal levels of air pollution.

By 2021, the number of schools in areas with illegal levels of air pollution should be reduced by two thirds.

Help, my van won’t be compliant!

If you live and work inside the North/South Circular roads, then your best option will be to replace your van with a newer, compliant model by 2021. Van owners who are unable to afford this will face an extra cost of £12.50 per day. If incurred daily, this is likely to be unaffordable for many.

If you use a non-compliant van but only visit London occasionally, you may find it more affordable to pay the charge or to hire a compliant van from a local rental company for your trips into London.

Hiring a van normally means that you’re guaranteed a modern vehicle that meets the latest emissions standards. An increasing number of hire companies are also offering electric vehicles, which might be worth considering for operations in the capital.

Unfortunately these changes will come at a short-term cost. But hopefully the longer-term benefits to public health — especially for children and older people — will make it worthwhile.


Econorent opens Ipswich van hire location

EconorentSuffolk and Essex car and van hire firm Econorent is continuing to expand, and now has a new branch in Ipswich.

This family-owned company has been advertising on since 2012, so it’s great to see that it’s continuing to grow.

The Ipswich branch is based on Nacton Road, about 1.6 miles from Derby Road railway station and just 1 miles from the A14.

A full range of cars and vans are available at the new branch, including small, medium and long wheelbase vans, plus luton box vans with tail lifts (see here for our van size guide).

Pickups are also available, including with towbars.

For larger groups, seven and nine-seater minibuses can be hired.

Here are the contact details for Econorent in Ipswich:

14 The Drift,
Nacton Road,

Tel: 01473 231230


Econonrent’s new branch takes the firm’s network to six branches. The other locations are Manningtree, Sudbury, Stowmarket, Harleston and Colchester. For more information contact visit the website or contact the firm on 01449 616161.

Milk & More StreetScooter EV

StreetScooter electric vans deliver 90% fuel saving for Milk & More

Milk & More StreetScooter EV

One of Milk & More’s StreetScooter electric vans

The UK’s largest milk delivery service is swapping 200 of its diesel vans for electric models. Milk & More has spent £6.5m to buy 200 StreetScooter Work electric vans, which will be used alongside the company’s existing electric milk floats as part of a drive to reduce its environmental impact.

The StreetScooter is an electric van that’s been developed by German postal operator Deutsche Post, who bought StreetScooter in 2014. The German logistics giant already operates 6,000 of these electric vans. It recently opened a second production facility for the model to increase production capacity to 20,000 units per year.

Milk & More’s vans have a 905kg payload and an eight cubic metre box, which allows each van to carry 860 pints of milk at a time, as well as a range of other fresh products such as bacon, juice and bread. The van’s range is said to be up to 75 miles. In their first month, fuel costs are reported to have fallen by 90% versus the previous diesel vehicles.

Interestingly, the MIlk & More vans are left-hand drive, which the company touts as a safety benefit as drivers can get out kerbside when delivering. In busy streets I can see how that’s a plus, although visibility is never quite as good in a van as when you’re sitting on the correct side of the vehicle.

UK van registrations May 2012-May2018

UK van market steady in May as registrations climb 2.4%


Van hire companies are among the biggest buyers of new vans each year in the UK. They’re particularly big buyers of vans in the 2.5-3.5t weight category, such as the Ford Transit Custom and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

New registrations of models in this segment rose by 2% to 17,349 in May, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) this week.

There was also a strong surge in demand for vans in the 2.0-2.5t weight category, where registrations rose by 21% to 4,269. This segment includes the popular Citroen Berlingo. I suspect that such a large increase was caused by a major fleet order being delivered — perhaps Royal Mail or another large user of this model.

Offsetting these gains was a 21% fall in registrations of vans with a maximum gross weight of under 2.0t. Models in this segment include car-derived vans like the Fiesta Van and compact models like the Citroen Nemo.

The overall results was that van registrations rose by 2.4% in May, providing some stability after a period of declines:

UK van registrations May 2012-May2018

UK van registrations May 2012 – May2018 (source: SMMT)

Ford is still the top seller

None of these changes had any impact on the best seller lists, where Ford continues to dominate. The Transit Custom was the UK’s best-selling van in May with 4,237 new models hitting the road — 57% more than the second-placed Ford Transit.

Best sellers UK LCV market May 2018

The UK’s best-selling vans in May 2018 (source: SMMT)

Questor Insurance logo

Questor Insurance exclusive 10% discount code (Expired)

Questor Insurance logo

We have an exclusive 10% discount code for Questor Insurance van hire excess protection.

In my experience, Questor’s insurance is generally much cheaper than equivalent protection purchased directly from the big hire companies.

If you’re hiring a van, this can be a great way to save money — especially if you’re renting for more than one day.

Here are the details you’ll need to make the most of this great 10% discount. Remember, you can buy in advance. So you can still use this code today even if you’re not hiring until later this year.


Please check our van hire excess insurance page for the latest Questor Insurance discount codes.

Terms and conditions may apply, see Questor website for details.

BCA LCV sale April 2018

Used van prices are rocketing – is it cheaper to rent?

BCA LCV sale April 2018

Used van prices rose to record levels in April, according to figures released by auction group BCA. As prices continue to rise, buyers may start to consider whether it might be cheaper to rent vans for occasional use:

BCA used van prices March 2017 - April 2018

BCA used van prices March 2017 – April 2018 (source: BCA)

The average LCV value rose by £108 to £7,572 in April, according to BCA’s sales data. That’s an increase of 1.4% from March and a whopping 17.7% (£1,141) more than in April 2017.

Although average age and mileage have fallen over the last year, I don’t think the decline is big enough to account for the increase in price over the last year. In my view, there’s no doubt that used vans are becoming more expensive again.

All vans Avg Age (mnths) Avg Mileage Avg Value
Apr 2017 50.89 67,196 £6,431
Apr 2018 49.64 64,837 £7,572

Source: BCA

Cheaper to rent?

The increase in used values isn’t necessarily matched by strength in the new van market, where sales have been falling this year. Because the big van hire companies buy new in bulk, I suspect that any weakness in new van sales is likely to help big rental buyers to secure even better prices on new models.

Given this, we think it’s worth costing out whether renting a van might be cheaper for your business than buying used. When you rent, you don’t have to worry about the residual value of the van in the future. And you’re normally guaranteed a nearly-new van with no maintenance costs.

If you only use a van for some of the time, renting a new van when you need it could be cheaper and much less hassle than buying used.

Mercedes Sprinter

Mental health issues still carry stigma, say van drivers

Mercedes Sprinter

Did you know that suicide is the leading cause of death among people age 20-34 in the UK?

For men, it’s the leading cause of death all the way from 20-49 years old.

This week is Mental Health Awareness week. It’s a topic we should be able to talk about, like heart disease. But it’s not. New research suggests that for many of us, especially those working in male-dominated industries like transport, mental health issues remain the elephant in the room.

In research published by Mercedes-Benz Vans UK, more than 2,000 van drivers were asked to give their views on mental health issues in the workplace. Of those questioned, 56% said they thought discussing mental health issues at work carried a stigma.

Of those who reported stigma, more than half said they thought that being in a male-dominated workplace was a key factor. The next biggest concern was that discussing mental health problems might affect job security or career progression.

15.8m sick days in 2017

Government data suggests that mental health conditions such as work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 15.8 million sick days last year.

The Mercedes’ Business Barometer research found that 28% of managers questioned said an employee had spoken to them about mental health concerns. However, female managers were more likely than male managers to have had this experience (32% vs 26%).

Steve Bridge, Managing Director, Mercedes-Benz Vans UK Ltd, said:

“A key component of these tragic statistics is that men are much less likely to talk about their feelings than women – something that is compounded within a ‘macho’ industry or role.

“There isn’t a quick fix or an easy answer to the issue of mental health in the workplace, but by talking about our feelings and taking a wellbeing complaint as seriously as a physical ailment, we can all work together to eradicate the perceived stigma around mental health.”

One of the key factors which contributes to anxiety and depression is stress. With insecure ‘gig economy’ jobs on the rise in the transport sector, many drivers may feel under pressure to perform even in difficult circumstances.

Chris O’Sullivan, Head of Workplace at the Mental Health Foundation, says that “by tackling stress we can go a long way to tackle mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.”

But achieving this means getting rid of the stigma around mental health. These figures suggest that we still have a long way to go to achieve this.

Small van

How the van hire business really works

Compact van

How do van hire companies make money?

It might seem logical to think that most of their profits come from hiring out vehicles. But that’s not the whole story.

The big van rental companies are really trading operations that buy and sell thousands of vans each year. Last month’s 3.9% increase in new van registrations was almost certainly influenced by deliveries to hire companies.

The income from hiring each van covers its depreciation, insurance costs and corporate operating costs. But corporate profits depend on minimising the buying price and maximising the sale price of each vehicle.

Here’s a quick overview of the life cycle of a rental van:

Buy: Large van rental companies buy vans in bulk, directly from manufacturers. They’re able to secure big discounts on list prices in return for regular large purchases. Care is taken to choose popular models with good specifications as these will be easy to sell on when they are de-fleeted.

Hire: The vans are then hired out to customers, usually on daily rental rates, but sometimes on weekly or monthly rates. This is a very competitive business, so these basic rental rates are kept quite low. The aim here is to cover the company’s insurance and operating costs plus the depreciation on the van.

Extras, such as more comprehensive insurance, sat nav hire or baby seat hire tend to be profitable. They’re a useful way for hire companies to improve the profitability of each rental.

Sell: This is where profits are made or lost. Big hire companies buy and sell thousands of vans each year. A lot of effort goes into maximising the sale price of each van, which is dependent on age, mileage, condition and the choice of sale channel (e.g. auction or retail).

A good example of this is a recent policy change at van hire specialist Northgate, which operates more than 97,000 rental vehicles in the UK and Spain. In February, the company announced plans to operate its vehicles for between three and nine months longer than previously. Their analysis suggests that doing this will improve the profit generated by each vehicle when it’s sold.

What about smaller companies? Big companies tend to own their fleets, using debt to fund part of the purchase costs. But smaller hire companies sometimes choose to lease their vans. They then aim to make a profit from the difference between their lease costs and the rental income generated by their vans.

Why we think you should compare van hire: Not all companies offer the same rental rates for the same vehicles. Some companies are cheaper for one type of van but may be more expensive for a different size van.

Another complication is that hire rates change regularly throughout the year. So the company that was cheapest in February might not be in June.

Our unique van hire price comparison engine helps you find some of the cheapest vans available across the UK. We think it’s the best on the market. Why not give it a try and see what you think? Just click here to get started.

One final comment – we often get asked if you should buy an ex-hire van.

Should you buy an ex-hire van? Popular legend has it that ex-hire vans are knackered wrecks that have been abused by drivers. The reality is somewhat different. Although rental vans are often worked hard, they usually have many different drivers, most of whom are careful to make sure they don’t damage the vehicle — as they or their employer will have to pay for it if they do.

Ex-hire vehicles are generally seen by trade buyers as very attractive. They’re always popular models, are relatively new and have normally been correctly maintained in-line with manufacturer requirements.

In our view, buying an ex-hire van can make good sense.