Starting A 'Man With A Van' Business

People are more mobile than ever, and online shopping (more so from eBay and other secondhand sites), has more and more people calling out for a ‘man with a van’. And it makes sense. Buy a sofa on eBay, but then it’s a free collection - you can’t fit it in your Corsa, you need help. People are moving home more often too. Between circumstances both good and bad, everyone needs a little help. So how do you capitalise on something so small, and so local? You become the man with the van. Here is how. 

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash
Yes, this might be surprising. But if you are going to be the man in the van business, you’ll need a van. While you might think you can get away with your estate - you can’t. It needs to be pretty much the biggest van you can drive safely, and one you can store at night too. If you are looking for the best option, then the Ford Transit Custom seems to be the most popular. You could buy it or have a great lease deal in place, whatever you do make sure you can fit at least a 3 people sofa in it. 
This is going to be a local business. So put yourself in all of the local newspapers and the local Facebook groups too. Spend some time putting yourself on all of the forums also. Gumtree, Craigslist and those types. Make sure you have ‘man with a van’ in your description somewhere - that is what people will be searching for. 

Pin some flyers up in your local post officers and hardware stores too. 
You are going to need to have insurance. You will be carrying people’s property, as well as going in and out of their houses. They might sit in the van with you at some point, and of course, you’re going to need van insurance
Sat Nav
Even if you have lived in the city forever - there might be a day when you have no clue where an address is. If you have satnav, you can give more detailed quotes, and you will know how long a job is going to take you. While you might be tempted to use your phone, just from a professional point of view - get the real deal. 
You are going to have to work out what the standard is in your area. And be careful not to undercut to deeply. Think about the cost of fuel in the van. You can do flat rate charges, by the mile or by the day. Consider the types of services that you want to provide, and that will give you some clarity. 
You are going to be a self-employed person from the moment you take money for doing this service. So make sure that you are registered and licensed with everyone that you should be. 

You’re bound to meet some wild characters on your travels, and you might find a simple trip turns in to a dramatic job. However - everyone needs a man in a van at some point.

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