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Cargo Van Vs Box Truck – Which is Better for Expediting in 2024?

The choice you make here will most often depend on the peculiar needs of your business. Both cargo vans and box trucks are used for expedited freight, and they each have their pros and cons, and the right choice will depend on the needs and goals of your business.

Presently, we live in a digital world where people tend to spend more time online. The e-commerce industry has enjoyed massive growth since the early 2000s, and with the pandemic of recent years giving it an extra push, the numbers have skyrocketed.

In this current fast-paced economy, reliable and quick transport is not only an option but a necessity. Have it in mind that shippers and customers all want their products delivered quicker and safer, especially deliveries that are considered urgent and time-sensitive.

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Owing to that, expedited freight options have grown into a very reliable and popular way to ship for companies that require fast, short, and long-distance deliveries. The primary aim of expedited freight is to move the shipment from point A to point B without any extra stops or wasted time.

Yes, almost all freight can be expedited; including deliveries as small as one pallet to as much as a full truckload. Services offered by companies in this business can also be for companies and individuals seeking carriers to move freight considered fragile, high value, or will warrant extra protection and extreme care during/in transit.

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When you invest in new or used trucks and equipment, you barely have the luxury of time and money owing to the amount of investment involved.

Therefore, you are looking to make the right decision quickly to ensure you can satisfactorily see to the freight hauling needs of your clients. Cargo vans and box trucks each handle certain types of freight, therefore, before you decide on the best one for your expediting business, consider their differences.

Difference Between Cargo Vans and Box Trucks

To enable you to make the right decision, ensure you first understand the difference between a cargo van and a box truck.

Cargo Vans

These sorts of vans are used to handle local trucking freight in urban centers and are much more like traditional vehicles since the cargo area and cab are connected within a single piece.

Note that from the outside, a cargo van looks more like a passenger van and tends to come with a sliding side door, coupled with a big rear door for loading and unloading cargo. These vans are most often used by plumbing, roofing, and painting businesses.

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Although you can customize for your needs with add-ons like partitions to separate the cab and cargo areas, or shelving and drawers to organize supplies, there is a sacrifice in the amount of cargo room you have to haul freight.

Notably, cargo vans average about 100 to 200 cubic feet of space with 3,000 to 4,000 pounds payload capacity. When compared to the 33,000-pound maximum capacity of a Class 7 box truck, you can easily see which one will give you the most carrying capacity.

Anyone looking to specialize in small-scale, white-glove services for local shipping customers will do well with a cargo van. Your potential customers will include cake deliverers, florists, fresh grocery deliverers, and band equipment.

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Also, note that cargo vans can be fitted with security devices for surveillance. They can also be used to haul packages and parcels for deliveries. Here are a few points to consider when it comes to this vehicle being the best match for your particular business operations:

  • Smaller size allows for easier parking and more maneuverability.
  • Can access tools and cargo from the vehicle’s cab.
  • Handles are more like a traditional vehicle.

Box Trucks

A box truck features a separate compartment for freight and it is well separated from the front cab where the driver sits. Note that behind the driver, there may be a sleeper bed or extra storage depending on if the truck is considered a hotshot or expedited box truck.

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Have it in mind that the much bigger Class 7 trucks can also be used to carry out regional trucking jobs. Owing to its size, a box truck can be used to haul anything from 12,500 to 33,000 pounds based on Class 3- to Class 7-size truck.

These trucks are most often seen in urban areas where there is a massive demand for local trucking jobs. Note that the smaller engine size and footprint of a box truck when put against a larger Class 8 big rig truck allows these straight trucks to easily navigate smaller roads.

In addition, they are most often used for less-than-truckload (LTL) freight. Have it in mind that LTL freight includes parcel delivery, furniture hauling, and perishable food delivery. Also, note that box trucks can be used to move households, deliver printed newspapers, and transport appliances. Here are a few points that will help you know if the box truck is the best match for your business:

  • The rectangular shape makes it easy to store and stack shipments
  • The rolling rear door also ensures that you can load large pallets of products and supplies.
  • Flat sides are a great advertising opportunity.
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Other Factors to Consider When Seeking the Best Vehicle for Your Business

To ensure you make the right decision, here are other key factors to consider;

  1. Your Comfort Level with The Vehicle Size

A box truck provides more space to haul anything from 12,500 to 33,000 pounds based on Class 3- to Class 7-size Truck. However, you have to take into consideration the amount of experience you have handling a box truck. Can you keep up with the day-to-day requirements of operating a box truck?

Have it in mind that expedited freight can be daunting enough because you’re often carrying high-value — and even dangerous — loads; you wouldn’t want to also be overwhelmed by the size of your vehicle.

  1. The Demand of Your Carrier

Even if you have your own trucking authority, you will want to consider what your clients want. What vehicle types are the trucking carriers on your “short-list” seeking? If you are looking to acquire a box truck, how are other box truck owners faring with that carrier?

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Do they get enough loads to haul? Also, consider the same thing if you are considering a cargo van. Ensure to enquire from owner-operators at those carriers to obtain firsthand information before you go on with your final purchase decision.

  1. Business Size

This will ensure you know how many trucks your business will be able to support. Have it in mind that as a business with a team, you can switch drivers to ensure the truck keeps moving, with fewer breaks. It also entails that teams can take on longer routes and deliver those loads faster than a single driver.

However, while very eager single drivers have discovered ways to run box trucks profitably, cargo vans are most often considered the best possible choice for them. Businesses with teams can thrive better than solo drivers because they can run bigger trucks in a way that supports the costs associated with those vehicles. 

  1. Business Capacity

The ongoing expenses of managing these vehicles are something you also have to consider extensively. Will your business make enough money to support the size and type of vehicle you are considering? Ensure you consult experts in the business and run some “sanity check” because your financial future will depend on your decision.

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One very unique factor that makes expedited trucking a very enticing business opportunity is that it gives you the flexibility to choose from different types and sizes of vehicles, depending on your capabilities, goals, and budget.

However, choosing the most suitable vehicle for your business can be a challenging endeavor owing to the amount of investment at stake. Therefore, ensure you first seek advice from people who have extensive experience in the industry and can help direct you properly to ensure you meet your goals.