As tradies, insulation installers often find themselves faced with the dilemma of selecting the most suitable vehicle for their work. Two popular options are the ute (utility vehicle) and the van, each with its own set of advantages and drawbacks. So, is a ute or a van a better choice for insulation installers? Consider the following points:
1. Cargo Space and Accessibility
One of the primary considerations for both underfloor and ceiling insulation installers is the cargo space available in the vehicle. Utes have an open cargo tray, making it easier to load and unload bulky insulation materials and tools. Vans, on the other hand, offer a closed and weather-protected cargo area, ensuring that your materials remain secure and unaffected by elements like wind and rain. Assess the size and nature of your insulation projects to determine which configuration suits you best.
2. Manoeuvrability and Parking
Manoeuvrability is crucial, especially when working in urban or tight spaces. Compared to larger vans, utes generally have a shorter wheelbase, making them more agile and easier to park in congested areas. While a large van may offer ample cargo space, it might pose challenges in terms of manoeuvring through narrow streets or fitting into compact parking spaces.
3. Customisation and Organisation
Like any tradie, an insulation installer will bring with them some tools and equipment. Utes provide an open space that allows for easy customisation with racks, shelves and toolboxes, providing quick access to your gear. Vans, with their enclosed cargo space, may require more strategic organisation to optimise storage. You could create a very organised shelving and drawer system, but if it reduces the space needed to transport insulation then is it really worth it? Consider the level of customisation and organisation you need for your specific tools and materials when choosing between a ute and a van.
4. Weather Protection
If you opt for a ute, you’ll need to carry with you a large tarpaulin and sufficient hooks and straps in case of rain. This is of course not necessary if you are using a van or an enclosed truck. Note that while a sprinkling of rain will not normally damage insulation which is transported in its original packaging, prolonged or heavy rainfall may permanently damage the insulation and render it unusable.
5. Vehicle Height
Utes often have a lower height, making them advantageous when navigating low-clearance areas or parking lots. This provides greater flexibility in choosing work locations. On the flip side, vans may have a taller overall height, due to their enclosed cargo space. Of course, if your ute is fully stacked with insulation, you’ll probably find it difficult to access most underground carparks.
When it comes to the security of tools and equipment, vans offer a distinct advantage. With their enclosed cargo space, vans provide installers with a secure and lockable environment. This means tools (and of course any insulation materials) are protected from theft, adding an extra layer of protection during non-working hours or when the vehicle is left unattended.
7. Road Handling
If you need to access homes in rural areas or navigate uneven ground, the choice between a ute and a van becomes very important. Rural homes often have driveways or access roads that may be uneven, with gravel paths, dirt tracks or potholes. In such scenarios, a ute with a higher ground clearance and robust suspension is better equipped.
Vans, with their lower ground clearance, may find these conditions more challenging. Driving over uneven roads in a van can cause suspension problems and undercarriage damage if scraped. If you’re an installer that does lots of work in rural areas, you might find a 4-wheel-drive ute is ideal for efficient and hassle-free transportation.
Ute vs. van
Ute vs. van for insulation installers – how do you decide?
Choosing between a ute and a van for insulation installation involves deciding what is most important to you. If security from theft and protection from rain are among your top priorities, then consider investing a suitable work van, taking care to ensure that it is large enough to carry your required amount of insulation. On the other hand, if fast and easy loading and unloading are important to you and you don’t mind the hassle of covering your load on rainy days, a single cab ute might be the way to go.