Author Topic: Best work van / truck for expecting carpenter  (Read 1997 times)

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Offline Abram

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Best work van / truck for expecting carpenter
« on: September 12, 2018, 06:23 PM »
I'm currently driving a Ram Promaster City and now that I'm expanding the family I need a different van or truck to transport my tools and family safely.

I've been considering getting a truck but am worried about having my tools in the back. Them being out in the rain and accessible to other people. With the cab I have pretty much decided that the 1-1/2 row of seats is too small and I need a full 2 rows to put the baby carrier safely in.

The vehicle will be used 98% of the time in the city, so I'm not looking for a huge van or truck. Preferably something that can get into tight parking spaces and is not a pain in the butt to parallel park.

Any advice is appreciated!

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Best work van / truck for expecting carpenter
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2018, 07:02 PM »
First of all CONGRATS! on the expanding family.

As A guy who admittedly hasn't had the family issues like you described I suspect that you will have to make some compromises vehicle-wise.

Many years ago there were these things called crew vans that had a second set of seats and then storage behind.  Probably perfect for you.  They disappeared and Ford did investigation on possible demand once the Transit came here.  It went nowhere as far as I know.

So I think that you will be limited to either buying a 15 passenger Transit (or similar) and removing seats and creating storage area, OR, going the pickup route with a cap, or seeing if a long wheelbase SUV with seats can work.

It will be a challenge and a compromise but my suggested starting point would be the passenger van and seat deletes and then a bulkhead behind.

Peter

Offline ColossusX

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Re: Best work van / truck for expecting carpenter
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2018, 07:15 PM »
While shopping for my van, (eventually got a Promaster 1500), I came across several Sprinters that had a second row of seats in front of the cargo area. 

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Best work van / truck for expecting carpenter
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2018, 07:27 PM »
I admit that I didn't know about that version for the Sprinter.  But I have read - and any one can do their own research and I don't want to be accurate - about the maintenance costs for the Sprinter.

I am not pushing a brand by any means.  I actually hate Ford.

Peter

Offline Abram

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Re: Best work van / truck for expecting carpenter
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2018, 08:21 PM »
I'll have to look into the sprinter. I didn't know that. I'll also look into getting a passenger van and converting it. That's a good idea!!

The crew vans are very common in Europe and my dad had one growing up there. But I haven't seen them in the States.

Offline George Oliver

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Re: Best work van / truck for expecting carpenter
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2018, 08:58 PM »
I don't own but like the looks of the new Metris. They have a 5 seat passenger option with cargo space behind -- good size for a family/work vehicle in the city, though I guess it comes down to how much cargo space you need. 

Offline Jozsef Kozma

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Re: Best work van / truck for expecting carpenter
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2018, 10:46 PM »
As mentioned , it depends how much room you need
I drive a Sprinter with second row seats , but it’s the longer one the 170
They also have the 144 model
The Sprinter ride specially the 144 is exelent ( I had one for 6 years now the
longer one for 8 years)
The 144 tall would give a lot of room for tools and a lot of comfort for driver and
passengers

Offline Holzhacker

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Re: Best work van / truck for expecting carpenter
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2018, 10:24 AM »
Minivan or station wagon with a rack - doesn't look like a contractor vehicle, reduces theft concerns, will handle a lot of tools and materials on the roof. Will haul the family without looking like your a poor smuck who can't afford to take care of his family.
Metris / Sprinter - works well, hauls a lot and not too big. Guys I know love theirs.
I've been in your situation and would suggest another route. I hauled my kids around in my contractor van for a while in the early days and hated it. Bad enough I made my kids work job sites and breathe crap. (Every child should have to work the job site, builds character, lets them know where the money comes from.) Didn't want them breathing crap on the weekends driving around. Doesn't matter how often you clean, there is always more sawdust or whatever dust in the vehicle. I also didn't like it because I felt like I was always working. Hey kids, the phone rang, time to do a service call after we have ice cream since all the tools are in the back.
Nice to tell a client you can't make it until monday since you are out with the kids in the car; rather than the client knowing you are driving your van with all the tools in it so coming by is no problem.
Finally decided to spend money on a nice vehicle for the family. Spent what I had to for a solid work vehicle that I could keep going for years. Always had two vehicles, 1 for family, 1 for work. I never looked as pretty as other contractors with their shiny trucks pulling up. Most clients didn't care, some clients were a little weirded out that I mostly had beater trucks. On a side note I've had somewhere around 70 vehicles at this point. A work vehicle is another tool. It should make money, not cost lots of money.
Another aspect to this is a work vehicle is a work vehicle. Didn't matter to me if the side got whacked by a 2x4. Guys who spent $30K+ on trucks always cried when it got dinged the first time. Eventually their shiny expensive truck turned into my beater. I knew a contractor who would get a new truck once his turned around 100K miles or so. He always had to have a newer truck, all shiny with all the options. Looking good was a big deal for him. He owed me at one point so he gave me one of his trucks around 120K miles. He thought it was a very unfair deal since the truck (in his opinion was on its last leg). He was one of those guys who still thought a vehicle was near death at around 100K miles. I finally got rid of it a dozen years later with 278K miles on it. It was ugly as sin, had a lot of quirks and my wife refused to get in it. Nonetheless it always started no matter what and never left me stranded. I tend to prefer a Ford but that was one great beater Chevy.
I don't know your situation, what kind of work you do or how much dough you bring in. If you are buying festool, you can't be too much of a poor smuck. I would suggest you seriously consider going two vehicle. Other guys I know that have done it were happy they did so. Also makes tracking deductions much easier. Get the ol' lady something nice. Get a decent truck and use it to make money. Obviously this is my own quirk. I have no problem with a car payment. A work truck payment, no chance in heck.
Good luck.
"The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

Offline jobsworth

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Re: Best work van / truck for expecting carpenter
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2018, 11:51 AM »
First Congrats on your expanding family. 2nd Im not in your situation but this is something I have been considering for the future.

I wass looking to buy a nice SUV. It would serve us better as a family vehicle and get a trailer to haul my stuff around. I dont think there is much difference weather proofing wise between a van and trailer. It could become a hassle hitching the trailer up and off.

Since you want a dual use vehicle this might be something to think about.

Online Pnw painter

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Re: Best work van / truck for expecting carpenter
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2018, 10:25 AM »
I completely understand wanting 2 rows of seats with your new born. I have a 4 year old and it’s great having my 4 door Tacoma to transport him, but it hasn’t been the optimal work rig.

How much are you looking at spending? You could get a 4 door truck and buy a service body. This is somewhat common with plumbers in my area.

A truck with a canopy is another option, but the likelihood of having your tools get stolen is a little higher.


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Offline live4ever

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Re: Best work van / truck for expecting carpenter
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2018, 12:36 PM »
For those that may go the SUV route, consider a 2009-2015 Honda Pilot.  48.5" between the wheel wells is pretty handy. 
Current systainer to productivity ratio:  very high

Offline duburban

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Re: Best work van / truck for expecting carpenter
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2018, 01:32 AM »
What's your daily tool carry?
helper: i used a festool "circular saw" to do something simple and it made it really hard

me: exactly, it makes simple cuts complicated and complicated cuts simple

Offline Joseph C

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Re: Best work van / truck for expecting carpenter
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2018, 10:46 AM »
First - also CONGRATS! Being a dad is one of the best things ever.

Second - Get a second vehicle for family.  I promise it will make your and your spouse's life way easier.

Third - Driving a payload of tools around without a safety partition in front of them is a dangerous proposition. 
You can risk your own health, but don't do it to your family.  In a sudden stop of the car, you could have hundreds of pounds of stuff flying at you from behind at the speed it was going before the crash.  This happened to a coworker driving a Jeep Cherokeee and crushed him; his body plus the tools bent the steering wheel and his back would go out 1x week two years after his recovery.

Keep your Promaster City and get a second vehicle.

In California, commercial vehicles with only one row of seats can have kids/carseats in that front row.  When my daughter was an infant and I had to pick her up in my Ford E-250 I disabled the front airbag for safety with the carseat.  Now I drive a highroof Promaster 2500 with three front seats and she thinks she's the coolest in first grade riding up front and up so high.

Good luck!
TS75, OF1010, PS300, Domino500, MFT/3, CT22 + WCR, CT MIDI, RS2e, RO150, ETS150, DS400, RO90, Grex 2" micropinner (festool green), and packing everything else into systainers, too.