Having a van certainly provides people with opportunities, especially as you have the space to carry a large amount of stuff. In fact, van owners frequently find that they are asked for favors from friends, family members and even acquaintances. With this in mind, it isn’t surprising that many people end up turning towards the idea of using this as a way to make money.
Certainly, the idea of creating your own ‘man with a van’ business is appealing and there really is the chance to make money with your own van. However, what’s less clear is whether this approach is actually worth pursuing. After all, there are many similar businesses out there, so the competition is likely to be fierce.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at the concept of making money this way, including the various approaches you can take and whether or not the process is worth the effort.
Ways to Make Money
With a van, most opportunities for making money are focused on your ability to move things. After all, you do have a lot of space, which is something that a lot of other people don’t have.
Because of this, many ban owners end up taking a ‘man with a van’ approach, where they market themselves as providing whatever services that people need. This could include helping people move from one location to another, helping set up for fairs and events and simply delivering packages.
The advantage of this method is that there is a huge amount of demand. Likewise, you don’t need much capital to get going, especially if you already have a van. However, at the same time, you do face a considerable amount of competition and a key component of being successful is to develop a reputation and make sure that people know about the services that you offer.
It’s also possible to specialize in specific areas.
For example, you might specialize in moving or in helping people to collect or deliver products purchased through eBay, Craigslist or similar services. Specializing like this might decrease the amount of demand for your services but it can make it easier to get ahead. If nothing else, having a specialty helps you to stand out from the countless other people who provide services with their vans.
Another example would be specializing in something a little bit unusual. So, you could teach yourself to deliver pianos effectively or other products that are somewhat difficult. There is considerable potential with this approach because people will tend to choose a specialist when they are trying to move something that they are concerned about.
Working with Businesses
If you want to make money with a van, then you shouldn’t overlook the importance of other businesses. Small and large businesses will often have various tasks that they need a van and an extra hand for. This is especially true when there are events coming up, such as markets and fairs.
This means that it is certainly worth keeping your eyes open to see what businesses might need. At the same time, you can be proactive and provide companies with your business card, so that you are in easy reach if they do need your type of services.
Over time, this type of business does tend to open doors in other areas as well. In particular, you’re consistently demonstrating strong independence and a good work ethic. As such, people sometimes find that they get approached for other jobs that have nothing to do with their van.
In time, this can mean that you have a number of opportunities for making money. Some of those may be directly connected to your van, while others may be more related to you as a person.
This does mean that this really can be effective for earning an income – providing you can actually break into the field.
There are a few other relevant options that are a little bit unusual. One example is using your van as advertising. There are many companies out there that will pay you to do this, providing that your van is in good condition. In some cases, you may even get paid based on the amount you drive, so if you do a lot of traveling, this is certainly an approach to check out.
Another unusual option is looking for free items.
By this, I mean products that people put out on their sidewalk or advertise as free on sites like Craigslist or in the local paper. Often these are things that you can sell online for a little bit extra money. In most cases, you won’t make a lot but this can be a source of a little extra income without much legwork.
Drawbacks of Making Money with a Van
There certainly are a number of significant ways to use your van to make money and I’m certain that I’ve missed at least some of them in this discussion. However, the process does also come with its disadvantages.
For one thing, using your van to make money is going to result in a considerable amount of wear and tear on the vehicle. In turn, this is likely to lead to more maintenance costs and the need for replacement parts. If you’re making money, these costs may not be an issue but if you’re not careful, the costs may end up being higher than what you are earning.
A related drawback is that you have to figure out what to set your prices at. Realistically, it can be challenging to estimate how much to charge people for van services, especially for those that involve a considerable amount of work on your end.
At the same time, most jobs require a considerable amount of physical work. In most cases, you will be expected to help people carry their stuff to and from the van, along with helping them to load and unload it. Additionally, vans tend to be used to transport things that are heavy or unwieldy, which just serves to increase the amount of physical exertion required.
A final challenge to consider is simply breaking into the industry.
There are a lot of people out there that offer services with their vans, along with companies that provide similar services. Because of this, getting yourself noticed can be a challenge, even if you do advertise your services. This can be especially challenging early on, as you do not have a reputation that can help convince people to use your services.
Using the Online Environment
The idea of making money with a van often sounds appealing because it is convenient. After all, the main thing you need is a van and you probably already have that. While the approach can work well for earning some money on the side, it gets increasingly difficult to make a living this way, especially with all the competition out there.
A way around this is to take advantage of the internet. For example, you can use a website as a way of promoting your services and reaching a wider audience. This can also make you appear more professional than people that you are competing against. If you didn't personally know anyone with a van, what would you do? Search in Google or Bing of course! That's where people list their local businesses.
Having a website would give you a HUGE advantage over the competition.
You can also use the internet in a completely different way. Instead of using a website to promote your van business, you can use a website as a way of making money directly. One way of doing this is through a process known as affiliate marketing.
Affiliate Marketing is a popular way to earn money online, simply because it works so well and it’s extremely versatile. Essentially, affiliate marketing involves promoting products from other companies and earning a commission on the sales you make. Making sales in this way is surprisingly simple because you can choose to promote products that people want to buy anyway. You also have the chance to develop a website about something you’re passionate about.
For example, you might develop a website about roadtripping with a van. That site would give you the chance to talk about your own experiences and also discuss products or services that made your experience easier or more enjoyable.
It’s easy to see how this type of site could be a lot of fun to right and also how you could make sales. After all, you would end up attracting an audience who is interested in the same things that you are talking about. There are plenty more examples available on my website, including a free email course to teach you the ropes.