• Van Business Ideas - How To Make Money With a Van in 2023
  • Van Business Ideas - How To Make Money With a Van in 2023

Van Business Ideas - How To Make Money With a Van in 2023

Find what is the best business to start in a recession if you own a van

In these times of economic recession, you might need a reliable source of income for the future. Maybe you already own a van but never actually thought about how to make it profitable. Or maybe what you need is just a van business idea? Put your van to work right now and start making money. You will find below a list of proven business ideas that can help you make extra income. 

What's a mobile business?

Do you recall the familiar sound of the ice cream truck passing by your house, you rushing down the stairs to buy chocolate ice cream? Or moving houses and looking for a reliable moving company that won't break grandma's china? These are but a few examples of a mobile business. Other than the paperwork, the main ingredient for this recipe is a VAN

Is van life for me and where do I start?

Do you already have a van but wondering where to start? First, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions, to see if this type of business is really for you.

 - Are you ok with being self-employed? There are pros and cons when it comes to this, so make sure that you are comfortable with the fact that there is no steady income, at least in the beginning. 

 - Do you have a business plan? No business plan means you're set up for failure, as 60% of new businesses fail in the first six months. Better know the market before actually starting to invest your time and effort.

 - Do you enjoy what you're considering doing? This is a must. If you're the type of person that likes the road and the freedom that comes with it, then this is for you. 

 - Can you commit to the van life for around six months, come rain or sunshine? The first months might be a bit tough. You might need to stick around and get creative for a while before you see the cash flow. The best place to start, if you're completely new to this, is part-time, it lowers the financial risks. 

 - Do you have some money aside or you'd rather start it from scratch? Of course, it's better if you have some passive income or some money aside to invest. 

 - Do you need help or do you prefer a one-man show? In any case, always consider it best to have a friend or a trusted person to discuss your idea and give you counsel. 

 - Do you enjoy driving around to make a living? Before taking a leap of faith, make sure you have some of these qualities: physically resistant, traffic savvy, like to juggle responsibilities, and people skills. There is nothing sadder than a florist in a bad mood!

 - Do you prefer a fixed schedule or one around-the-clock? This is important if you are just starting, coming from a nine-to-five schedule.

Having answered all these, you might want to consider the following:

  1. What would I like to do with my van? Is my business a product or am I providing services?
  2. My business plan - on a simple search you will find plenty of guides on how to draw one.
  3. Finances - investing my own money or finding a financing source. Scroll down for some tips.

Unique mobile businesses - a door to happiness

From a recording studio to a flower shop to a yarn truck, everything seems possible inside the comfort of your van. However, some people receive the business vans award for originality.

 1. The Little Silver Bullet Bar (bulletstreat.co.uk) 

 The Little Silver Bullet Bar is an incredibly cool Airstream trailer to be found around the streets of Market Weighton. The owners saw a gap for mobile businesses in the street food market.

the silver bullet bar trailer

2. Fired Up Pizza (fireduppizzaco.co.uk)

 The owner relied on his skills as a craftsman -and grafter - to ensure that Wakefield-based Fired Up Pizza Co. became a unique business. He liked the hands-on, creative element of getting the vans on the road. He loves to do the conversions of the vehicles himself. 

fired up pizza van working

3. Barber salon on wheels (trimit.app)

 TrimIt is the first app-powered Mobile Barbershop in the UK. According to Business Insider, TRIM-IT is a tech-enabled barber service that allows its customers to order a haircut right to their doorstep. With five vans and four full time-employees, TRIM-IT has developed further and it can offer services that are in high demand. And you can take a van as a franchise if you're interested! 

mobile barbershop van with open door and barber preparing

What are the best mobile business ideas in 2022?

For this year, the focus seems to be on salons and barbershops, catering services, festival food trucks, delivery of all sorts, and personal training. Anything that doesn't require a brick-and-mortar building can be done in a van and there are great opportunities out there. Think mobile coffee shops, recycling services, gutter cleaning, equipment transportation, or gardening.  

What business can I do with a van?

 From weddings and parties catering to office cleaning, everything goes. Here are some of the fastest to implement and best-paid business ideas, suggested by Smallbusiness: 

  1. Waste removal 
  2. Mobile beautician/hairdresser
  3. Driving instructor
  4. Bike mechanic
  5. Courier
  6. Painter
  7. Food truck
  8. Pet groomer
  9. Plumber 

1. Waste removal 

Average pay: £32,733 a year (Payscale)

Even though waste removal doesn't sound glamorous, a removal business idea has a practical side to it that is undeniable. Just choose your niche, domestic or commercial, and be aware that you need to register with the government if you're based in England. Registration is usually free if you only transport waste you produce yourself. Otherwise, registration costs £154. Some franchises do waste removal, so you might want to check Fantastic Services or Junk Hunters if you wish to start with an established name. 

white van for waste removal parked

2. Beautician/hairdresser

Average pay: £25,000 a year (Totaljobs)

This can be a very profitable business, depending on your experience and niche (bridal, theatre, etc). You need to invest in equipment and you also need insurance for all of your treatments. Finally, you’ll need an NVQ Level 2 or 3 in every speciality that you offer. Check with your local authority to see if you need a license as they may want to monitor your health and safety standards.

fiat mobile hair salon parked with open door

3. Driving Instructor

Average pay: £25-£40 an hour (Marmalade)

There is a high demand for driving instructors, so you might want to consider this one if you're keen on teaching others. You can be an instructor for a regular car license in a van, as long as it weighs up to 35000kg. To become a fleet driver trainer, you must do a DVSA-approved course first.

4. Bike mechanic

Average pay: £7-£10 an hour for labour (Payscale), plus extra for merchandise sales

Cycling had become very popular after the pandemic, so there is an increasing demand for mending and attending to bikes. In terms of qualifications, it helps to have a technical level three Cytech certificate. VeloFix is a cycling mechanic franchise that you can start with if you want to first gain some experience. 

mobile bike repair van parked near building

5. Courier

Average pay: £23,896 a year (Glassdoor)

There is a lot of competition in this area, especially from big companies, which saw their delivery services multiplied by the necessities of the pandemic. You will need to focus on a service or product that competitors don't deal with, like delivering out-of-hours. It is advisable to register with Courier Exchange, a courier network to help you find delivery jobs. If you count on working for bigger companies, just make sure you know the difference between an employee and a contractor, it's important for your fees. 

woman courier unloading parcels in a courier van

6. Painter

Average pay: £27,000 a year (Totaljobs)

You can choose to work for residential or commercial properties, both very lucrative if we consider the interest people have in redecorating. A Construction Skills certificate is required to work on most building sites. Be mindful of health and safety legislation. 

black van for painters with colourful advertising 

7. Food Truck

Average pay: £1,159-£1,990 income per month (Wageindicator)

50% of British consumers buy street food at least once a week. According to Nationwide Caterers Association, the price of a new food truck, complete with fittings and equipment, is between £5,000 and £50,000, depending on how much you want to invest. You'll find on their site a food app already in use and mobile catering insurance that will spare you some precious time and money. You must register your food business with your local authority at least 28 days before you start selling food. You will need a street trading license and an additional license for playing music. Make sure you know what regulations are in place because you cannot just park everywhere. A level 3 food hygiene certificate is advisable for you and a level 2 certification for your staff who are handling food. 

food truck parked serving clients

8. Pet Groomer

Average pay: £22,930 a year (Glassdoor)

A quarter of the British population owns a pet, so this is a huge market. There isn’t a qualification requirement, but it is always better if you have one to show to your potential customers. City and Guilds offer professional dog grooming courses for those who are interested. 

mobile pet groomer van printed


9. Plumber

Average pay: £34,751 a year (Reed)

Plumbers are in high demand, in the UK and worldwide. You will need qualifications for this business – at the very least, to show that you’re up to the job. An NVQ Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Plumbing and Domestic Heating is a minimum requirement. You could also up your revenue by diversifying, for example by fitting out bathrooms and kitchens. Remember to keep on top of legal requirements and qualifications relative to your services. 

What sort of vehicle would better fit my idea?

It depends on your business. If you just want to pick up waste, you just need a solid and reliable van like the Renault Trafic.

A cargo or panel van is useful if your business requires a lot of space, for example, delivery, cleaning, or moving services. The cargo van has a compact space and a load-compartment volume. Consider models that are solid and spacious, like Renault Master. If you're looking for more technical specifications about the latest models of panel vans, you can find them in our New Vans section.

If you have to transport people, you might be interested in crew vans. Transportation services, like outbound tours, are in demand, either for kayaking, sightseeing, or climbing. Car-pooling children to school in the morning in various areas of London sounds like an interesting enterprise if you enjoy the ride! 

Smaller vans or city vans, like Fiat Fiorino, are compact in length to fit into tight spaces but feature plenty of rear storage and a hefty payload allowance. For the green-minded business, there are also the all-electric vans, like Citroen e-Dispatch, a genuine game-changer for fleet van operators, offering zero emissions.

Man (or woman!) with a van - ideas

A man and van business is a self-employed service that helps its customers to move items, complete deliveries, or carry out all sorts of jobs. Basically, a jack-of-all-trades of vans. 

You'll need a vehicle, some equipment, and sometimes certifications or specific skills. About the income, according to Checkatrade, the average hourly cost for one person and a van is £64. This rises to £78 for two people and a van, and £94 for three people and a van.

You also have to think about incorporation, insurance, tax and administration, and marketing costs. 

How to finance your new idea?

There are many possibilities to finance your fresh business. 

  • A business loan 

Business loans fall into two categories: secured and unsecured - you’ll be required to offer security for a secured loan whereas unsecured lenders may sometimes ask for a personal guarantee.

Funding Options is a very reliable source of information and they provide a special tool to exactly see how much finance you need. 

  • Crowdfunding 

Crowdfunding is a way for companies to raise capital by selling their shares via an FCA-regulated platform. Private investors who like the company or idea can invest as little as £10.

There are several platforms in the UK that do that and with a simple search, you can find plenty of useful guides to start with. 

If you're looking specifically to find finance for your van and you need a van finance deal, there are several options. 


Leasing is one smart way to upgrade to a new vehicle without any hassle. You have all the benefits of ownership, you get your van for less and at the end of the contract you can simply upgrade again to a newer vehicle after the total lease cost is covered. The biggest advantage of leasing over buying is that it is tax-deductible and you can claim back your VAT.

Van Hire Purchase

The Hire Purchase package allows you to own the vehicle at the end of the agreement. The cost will be spread over up to 60 months, but a minimum deposit will be required representing the upfront VAT and road fund license. VAT-registered companies will be able to reclaim the deposit. One of the cons for this could be that overall, this package can turn out to be more expensive than a leasing deal, due to higher interest rates. 

Business Contract Hire

Similar to hiring a car but for a longer period, the Contract Hire Vans agreement allows you to hire a van for an agreed period, with a mileage limit and a fixed monthly amount to pay. This is determined by the contract length, the car value, and your mileage estimation throughout the contract. It’s a cost-effective way to drive the van you require but maybe not be able to purchase right now and at the end of the contract, you simply return it to the company. On the good side, VAT can be reclaimed 100% if your business is VAT registered and up to 50% if the van is used for personal purposes.

Lease Purchase

This option is also known as Hire Purchase finance with a balloon payment – low monthly fees plus one final payment to complete the total amount payable. It’s an affordable method to pay for a van, cheaper and more flexible than Hire Purchase (HP) or Personal Contract Purchase (PCP), as you can adjust the monthly fees and the balloon payment accordingly to your budget. However, keep in mind that this package is restricted to a 4-year term.

Hope you're ready for the van life. If you leased or purchased a business van from us, we want to know your story, we're interested!

Other FAQs :

  1. What is a van business?

A business that allows you to hit the road, travelling to different locations to provide your products and services to customers.

  1. What service can I do with the van?

Here are just a few examples. Delivery. Grow a gardening business. Set up a cleaning company. Upcycle old furniture. Start a 'man (or woman) and van' business. Dog grooming.

  1. How can I make money with my van?

It really depends on the business but other than choosing the right niche, you need a business plan. 

  1. How much does a man with a van earn?

The standard hourly rate that you will typically receive is dependent on the size of the van and how many individuals there are accompanying it. One person with a van charges approximately £65 an hour. Two people with a van rise to around £80 an hour. Three people with a van tops about £95 an hour.

  1. Do cargo or panel vans make money?

A cargo/panel van business can be profitable, we only have numbers for the U.S. The average owner-operator of a cargo van business in the U.S. makes around $65,446 per year, according to Ziprecruiter. This translates to around $31/per hour. Of course, that's an average.  

  1. What is the best mobile business to begin?

Top mobile business ideas: Food truck. Hair salon/barbershop. Pet grooming. A small gym. Bookmobile. Bicycle repair shop. Pop-up flower truck. Coffee cart/truck.

  1. How do I set up a mobile business?

  • Develop your business plan. 
  • Set your budget. 
  • Pick and register your business name. 
  • Purchase your vehicle. 
  • Acquire the necessary licenses. 
  • Hire your team. 

Get in touch with us today and one of our team members at Loads Of Vans will be more than happy to give you all the details about any van we have in our stock or how can you finance it, so you have a great start in your new business. If you find this useful and are thinking to start a new business as a self-employed, learn here how can you get van finance for self employed or what to do if you need van finance for bad credit history.