The trusty white van can be the lifeblood of any business.

According to 2021 statistics, there are 4.6 million vans in Britain with commercial vehicles accounting for 13.1% of all vehicles on the road.

Drivers frequently praise their reliability, spaciousness, practicality and driving experience which makes them a sage choice for transporting tools and equipment.

The decision between renting, leasing and buying will often be determined primarily by budget, but the required time to use it and the purpose for the acquisition will also impact the decision.

With some insights from van leasing company, Van Ninja, we walk you through the pros and cons of each option and help you decide which is best for your business.



Quite simply, buying a van means it’s yours to keep and all that entails. Over the longer term, this is likely to be the most cost-effective option, giving you something to show for your money and that you are able to sell on if needed.

Buying means driver freedom and total ownership – you aren’t limited to how many miles you can clock up and are free to do whatever you want with it. There’s no need to worry about contractual obligations of maintenance or specific usage.

Spread the cost across monthly repayments to make the purchase more affordable or buy outright using cash or a business loan if you have the resource and don’t want to be tied down over a long period. Buying a van outright may also afford you greater flexibility over the make and model you drive. Statistically, the iconic Ford Transit remains Britain’s most popular van – an exceptional all-rounder and a symbol of quality and dependability.

For businesses with fewer resources, buying a van may be a poor option. This comes at quite a substantial initial cost and will depreciate in value over time. Similarly, buying also means you’re responsible for your vehicle’s maintenance. Any damages, MOTs, or regular services will all need to be covered by the owner, with potential costs accumulating over time.



Van leasing is another popular option which foregoes van ownership but can bring its own benefits and flexibilities. Leasing involves fixed contracts of varying lengths (typically two to five years) with customisable monthly payments to suit all budgets. Monthly payments are fixed in rate, which means leasers don’t have to worry about prices hiking in the face of ongoing inflationary pressures.

Depreciation will also not be a problem at the end of the contract as drivers can simply choose to renew or upgrade in a similar way to a phone contract. This means prospective drivers can always have the pleasure of driving a new vehicle, including electric vans as the UK moves towards decarbonisation.

While some vehicle maintenance may be included in the contract, be wary of using your van for potentially hazardous tasks or in high-risk environments. Any damage incurred will still be your responsibility. In addition, mileages need to be agreed prior to your lease – exceeding these can bring penalty charges. Typically, this can be anywhere between 3p–30p per extra mile with some companies often adding an extra 20% VAT on top of that.



Finally, for shorter-term requirements, renting a van can also be a solid option. This can often range from a single-day rental to a longer-term arrangement of around three months.

This can be beneficial for those who don’t necessarily require a van for everyday business use but need for a specific reason such as furniture removal, waste disposal or helping children move to university.

Another pro of renting is that drivers often have less responsibility for the vehicle with insurance, servicing and damage repairs often included with your provider. Unsurprisingly, this will likely be reflected in the price.


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