Buying a minibus with the aim of turning it into a business is an exciting prospect. With demand for minibus rentals and private transfer services at an all-time high, there is money to be made if you know where to look for it.
Picking up your first minibus also brings a variety of questions and concerns to mind, both in terms of how the vehicle will be used and who will be using it.
To clarify a few of the most important points, here are six essential questions to consider before buying a minibus for business purposes:
1 – Does the Driver Have the Right Type of Licence?
You need to ensure that whoever will be driving the minibus is legally entitled to do so. If the driver holds a pre-1997 D1 category licence, they are automatically entitled to drive a minibus. However, anyone who passed their driving test after January 1997 will not have been granted the D1 licence, and will therefore have to take a separate D1 test to get the D1 minibus licence.
The DVLA states that anyone planning to drive a minibus for purposes of making money will likewise need to take and pass the D1 minibus test. Head over to the DVLA website for full information on how to book your D1 test and what the test involves.
2. How Many People Do You Intend to Transport?
This is important for obvious reasons, but it is always advisable to give yourself a little room for manoeuvre. For example, your general everyday requirements for your minibus may necessitate precisely eight seats. But rather than buying a minibus with exactly eight seats, it would be better to look for something with 10 or 12 seats.
This way, you always have a little extra space available, just in case you need it. You will also need to factor special requirements into consideration, such as wheelchair access.
3. What Kind of Luggage and Equipment Will the Vehicle Transport?
Luggage and equipment requirements vary in accordance with the way a minibus is used. For example, some may need to accommodate bikes, skis, surfboards and other sports equipment alongside passengers. Elsewhere, significant storage space must be available to host the passengers’ heavy luggage.
Some vehicles are more flexible than others when it comes to the people and/or equipment they can carry at any one time; giving you at least a little room for manoeuvre.
4. Do I Need to Buy New or is a Used Minibus Ok?
This is purely a judgment call, as there are plenty of used minibuses on the market in fantastic condition. However, it is essential to only ever purchase a used minibus from an established and reputable specialist. One that is able to guarantee the quality and safety of the vehicle while covering every sale with an acceptable warranty.
The appeal of buying a brand new minibus is understandable; the vehicle is in showroom condition, you benefit from the full warranty, and you know it is in perfect working order. The only downside being that some minibus makes and models depreciate quite quickly, meaning you could lose money when the time comes to sell on your vehicle.
5. How About Depreciation and Resale Values?
On that note, it is always worth researching resale values when planning to purchase any vehicle. For a long list of reasons, some minibuses hold onto their value much better than others. Of course, this is less of an issue if you plan on keeping your minibus long-term. But it is still good to know that if and when you decide to sell, you will get a good price for your vehicle.
You will find all the information you need on minibus resale values online. Alternatively, talk to your chosen dealer and ask them which vehicles are known for their long-term resale values.
6. What Can I Expect to Pay to Insure the Vehicle?
There are numerous factors that will determine how much you can expect to pay to insure your minibus. Examples of which include the make and model of the vehicle, its age and mileage in the case of a used minibus, presence of safety and security features, estimated annual mileage, how you intend to use it and where it will be stored.
If you are concerned about insurance costs, your dealer can help you find a minibus that is comparatively affordable to insure. Not to mention, provide additional advice on steps that can be taken to keep your insurance costs to the bare minimum. When looking for a competitive quote for a minibus, always compare as many offers/providers as possible to ensure you get a good deal.