As a plumber, selecting the best vehicle with a blend of comfort, reliability, performance, and good fuel economy can be daunting. There are so many good vehicles in the market that we can choose from for work-related purposes.
But since we want the best of the best, we need careful consideration of all possible options to determine whether they are a good suit.
5 Things To Look For in a Plumbing Vehicle
Service trucks, pick-ups, and vans are the best for plumbing tasks, but which one suits you? What do you look for in a good work van?
I don’t want you to buy a van or truck and complain that it’s a bad vehicle when it’s clear that it doesn’t suit you. Therefore, before settling on a vehicle, consider the following factors.
Storage and Size
Consider the amount of cargo you’re transporting before settling on your preferred vehicle. Buy a vehicle that can accommodate your cargo comfortably without being too small or bulky.
Additionally, if you travel long distances and prefer sleeping in your van, go for a high roof vehicle, especially a van, as it has a greater headroom for better aeration and standing.
Nature of Your Work
Plumbers travel a lot to access their customers, and at times you might have to park in small spaces along the streets or on family parkways. If you work in such environments, I’d recommend going for a low or medium roof van.
You’ll find maneuvering the city traffic easier as you might have to go through narrow passages to reach your destination.
Safety, Connectivity, and Navigation Systems
When going for a work vehicle, go for one that has friendlier electronics and connectivity features. Car manufacturers, map data, and navigation system makers work to provide accurate navigation systems in most vehicles.
Plumbers travel a lot across the country and, at times, venture into new grounds. Thus you don’t want to have a misleading navigation system or a car that has complicated electronics. To be safe, always focus on the connectivity, navigation, and safety features before settling on your work vehicle.
Some plumbers have jobs that need trailers for towing. Therefore, before settling on a van, look for one that has the right payload, towing capacity, Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), and good tongue weight. If you’re not towing, go for one that has a good payload and GVWR.
We all want vehicles with good fuel economies since we aim to lower costs to improve profits. Most times, for plumbers, you’ll be transporting a set of tools and some equipment.
Therefore, go for a vehicle with a good balance of fuel economy ratings and payload capacity. For example, if you don’t have a ton of cargo to carry, go for a Volkswagen Transporter over a Ford Transit.
The VW Transporter is smaller and has excellent fuel economies of close to 40 MPG, whereas the Ford Transit has a 20 MPG rating.
4 Best Vehicles for Plumbers
Volkswagen Transporter T6
Price: Starts at $41,705 to $73,030
The Volkswagen Transporter is a high-selling medium van that rivals the Ford Transit Custom and the Mercedes-Benz Vito in performance and fuel economy. And, despite its compact size, the van has a good payload of 1,570 to 2,885 pounds.
Having proper storage space is crucial for plumbers since you must transport your tools and equipment plus any additional spares or materials. Selecting a small enough van to be maneuverable yet has a good storage space is important.
And the Volkswagen Transporter series wins when it comes to considering a van that qualifies on both criteria. With its 2,572 to 2,975 mm floor space/load length and 1,700 mm load width, the van offers ample room for your tools.
The van also comes with a ton of features that are crucial to plumbers, such as:
- Brake Assists System
- Front Assist with City Emergency Braking System
- Electrically adjustable and heated exterior door mirrors
- Daytime running lights
- If you prefer to go for the Transporter Startline trim, you’ll get additional air-conditioning, heated windscreens, and an alarm system.
Additionally, the Volkswagen Transporter has excellent fuel economy figures. The Transporter T6 is the most economical in the series offering close to 40.4 MPG. What’s even better is that Volkswagen offers a three-year or 100,000 miles warranty, which seems generous for such a workhorse.
Finally, the Transporter is very durable and will serve you well over 250 kilometers or an equivalent service period of over 15 years.
A downside of this van is that it’s an expensive van to buy and maintain. However, since it’s very reliable, regular maintenance on your van will ensure that it serves you for a long time.
Ford Transit Cargo Van
Price: Starting at $36,745
For plumbers that ferry heavy cargo, the Ford Transit is the perfect vehicle for you. The van comes with a 3.5-liter PFDi/Ecoboost V6 engine and a Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 13,000 pounds. The van is designed to carry cargo and can be easily fitted to match your future needs.
Also, I like this van because it’s very solid and has a ton of driver-assist and safety features that will make your work and driving easier. Additionally, as a full-size van, you’ll be getting plenty of headroom if you prefer to work within your van. It also comes with three height, wheelbase, and drivetrain options to ensure that you have your perfect match.
However, you will have to spend more to reach your destinations as the Ford Transit performs poorly in fuel economy tests. A majority of the vans have close to 20 MPG ratings.
Chevrolet Silverado 4500HD/5500HD/6500HD
Price: $49,300 to $55,565
If you need a work truck with a good drivetrain, payload, and excellent driver comfort, the Chevrolet Silverado is your perfect one.
The trucks have maximum Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings (GVWR) of 9,500 to 23,500 pounds, GCWR of up to 37,000 pounds, and a 65-gallon fuel capacity. No matter the complexity of the task or location, you can relax knowing that the Silverado has enough power to aid in your course.
Furthermore, the truck can be fitted to match the needs of your plumbing business. The Silverado also offers Power Takeoff (PTO) access to allow you to use the auxiliary power from either side of the transmission.
For large-scale remote plumbing tasks, the Chevrolet Silverado is your perfect vehicle.
Price: Starting at $38,190
The Ram ProMaster has fairly respectable fuel economy figures of 21 MPG on city roads and 28 MPG on highways.
The van also offers an ample cargo space of up to 462.9 cubic feet, a cargo bay height of 77.1 inches, a payload of 4,680 pounds, and a towing capacity of 6,910 pounds.
And, if you’re looking for a smaller version of the ProMaster, the Ram ProMaster City will suit you perfectly.
There’s no one-fit-for-all when it comes to vehicles that plumbers prefer. In today’s article, I’ve covered the best work vehicles in terms of fuel economy ratings, towing capacity, payload, reliability, and even maintenance costs.
Remember that the nature of your work and the cargo you’ll be ferrying influence your choice of a work vehicle. Don’t rush yourself into buying one. Take time.