Purchasing step vans can be a cumbersome task. Most ISP contractors aren't equipped with expert knowledge of what to consider when purchasing a step van for their fleet. Many ISP contractors begin the search for a new or used step van when they have an immediate need, which can allow for less time to ask questions about the purchase. Let's explore this list of the Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Step Van Dealer so you can have these handy when the time comes to purchase a step van. Several questions are considered when the purchase cycle of a step van begins... how can you tell if the step van is reliable? Is this fairly priced? Who is a reputable dealer? As we mentioned, this article highlights the Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Step Van Dealer that will help you navigate the process and ease the anxiety of a large purchase through the eyes of nationwide step van dealer, MAG Trucks. MAG has an onsite sales team with an extensive connection to hundreds of new and used step vans across the country. MAG also houses an in-house mechanic team to help with specific needs. Aside from price, one of the questions that is repeatedly asked by ISP contractors is about the size requirements.
Question #1: What size of step van do I need to run the fleet as efficiently as possible?
Step vans range in size from 12 feet to 26 feet, however, the most common size for IPS contractors is between 18 and 22 feet. The length requirements can vary based on several factors, including:
- Route size
- Are you able to hold all shipments for the entire day within the truck without restocking the truck mid-day?
- City vs. county/rural driving
- If you are commonly running routes in the city, the smaller and more compact the truck size, the better.
- Having a truck that is 14-16 feet will be easier to maneuver in traffic compared to one that is 22-feet. Not only will be it be easier to park in the city, but you will most likely be running shorter routes which equates to less cargo space in your step van.
- If you aren’t driving in the city and you are traveling long distances with your truck you will probably want to consider an 18-22 ft. step van. It will allow for more cargo space on deliveries.
- Business and fleet growth
- Do you plan to expand the routes or swap trucks to ensure you're the most efficient? Consider if this new truck went to another route... would it still be the most efficient truck?
Question #2: What should an ISP truck have installed before hitting the route?
Each step van listed for sale has a slightly different description of what's included in the purchase price, so as a consumer you should be aware of what exactly you're getting. Some include new paint, custom shelving, and a back-up camera, while others are essentially the shell of the step van. If your dealer (or seller) does not include a standard list of equipment, you will find the costs of refurbishing to increase quickly and expensively. Here is a basic equipment list that MAG Trucks uses for their step vans.
Shelving is great if you need organization within your truck. Installing shelves in your truck to store your packages, tools, and other items eliminates stacking your items on the floor of your truck. A lot of delivery trucks have shelving in them, but if your current trucks don't have shelves it would be something to consider. We can install the shelves in the trucks for you, or we might have some trucks with shelves already in them.
Air Conditioning and Fans
Delivery drivers can get hot while they are on their route. Summer can be brutal in many areas and when drivers get how they tend to work slower. Air conditioning is already installed in many step vans but it will cost you a bit more. If air conditioning is not a priority to you, or your summers are not as brutal as other areas, fans would be a good option. Fans can be installed in the truck that aims towards that driver, which will keep the driver cool during their delivery route.
Back-up Cameras and Sensors
Step vans do not have a rear-view mirror, and that can make backing up difficult. Installing backup cameras will make it easier on your driver and it will help prevent them from backing into something that is behind them. Not only will backup cameras help your driver but adding sensors for backing-up will help too. Sensors will alert the driver if they are too close to something and they will know when to put on the breaks. Having a backup camera and sensors in your delivery trucks can immensely help your drivers and help prevent accidents to your trucks.
Life Gates, Ramps, and Dollies
Often deliveries are heavy and after doing several deliveries it can become exhausting with heavy items. Your driver may slow down on delivery time if they are lifting extremely heavy items throughout the day. Adding a lift gate to the rear of your step van can assist the driver with getting items out of the truck in a more efficient way. Also, adding ramps into your step vans can help the driver get into the truck and get the items in and out of the truck. Along with a lift gate and ramp, ensuring there is a dolly in all of your step vans can be extremely beneficial to the driver. They can get more items to the door quicker and easier. When adding these accessories to your truck it is important to remember that they will help your driver in the long-run and can increase the number of deliverers that can be done in a day.
Question #3: Is the step van DOT inspected?
From custom shelving, white paint, and graphics to engine and transmission repairs, MAG has provided reliable and affordable step vans to hundreds of contractors across the nation. Being DOT certified means that there are no mechanical safety issues with your truck. Not all sellers have the production and manufacturing facility to bring used step vans up to DOT standards. MAG Trucks will fix anything that is preventing the step van from being DOT certified before we sell the truck. This will eliminate headaches and unexpected expenses in the future. Often deliveries are heavy and after doing several deliveries it can become exhausting with heavy items. Your driver may slow down on delivery time if they are lifting extremely heavy items throughout the day. Adding a lift gate to the rear of your step van can assist the driver with getting items out of the truck in a more efficient way. Also, adding ramps into your step vans can help the driver get into the truck and get the items in and out of the truck. Along with a lift gate and ramp, ensuring there is a dolly in all of your step vans can be extremely beneficial to the driver. They can get more items to the door quicker and easier. When adding these accessories to your truck it is important to remember that they will help your driver in the long-run and can increase the number of deliverers that can be done in a day.
Question #4: How long is the delivery time?
Not all step van dealers have inventory on their lots, ready to be shipped. MAG Trucks is one of the few nationwide dealers to have a lot of new and used step vans, refurbished to meet ISP standards, ready to join your fleet. MAG is located in Kansas City, MO, and delivers nationwide within 7 - 10 days. The turnaround time is very quick because MAG has an in-house fabrication team to complete all required modifications before hitting the road. Check out the inventory here.
Question #5: Does the step van offer a warranty?
One of the most important questions to consider when purchasing a step van is the warranty. If the step van is being sold by an individual or private seller, it probably doesn't have a warranty. However, if the step van is being sold by a dealer, like MAG Trucks, it can carry a warranty. Be sure to ask the details on that warranty! Let's explore MAG's warranty as a reference. MAG Trucks prides itself on its workmanship but knows things can happen unexpectedly. Every MAG used or reconditioned truck leaves the Kansas City facility equipped with a six-month or 6,000-mile nationwide limited engine and drivetrain warranty. The MAG Trucks warranty encompasses 8 major components, including the engine, transmission, drive axle, water pump, turbo/supercharge, seals and gaskets, fuel tank, and radiator. Let’s take a closer look at What’s in an ISP Contractor Truck Warranty specific to MAG Trucks…
MAG covers all internally lubricated parts of an engine in our 6-month, 6,000-mile warranty. Internally lubricated parts include pistons, piston rings, piston pins, crankshaft, and main bearings, connecting rods and bearings, camshaft and bearings, timing chain or belt, timing gears, intake and exhaust valves, valve springs, valve guides, oil pump, push rods, rocker arms, rocker arm shafts, hydraulic and solid lifters. The engine block and heads are also covered if the damage is caused by a failure of any of the above covered components.
Internal transmission parts include a torque converter, vacuum modulator, and mounts. The transmission housing is also covered if the damage is caused by a failure of any of the above covered items. If applicable, this warranty does not include clutch assembly, pressure plate, flywheel, throwout bearing, worn synchronizers, cables, or electrical items. All internal parts of the transmission are covered under a MAG Trucks warranty.
3. Drive Axle
The drive axle is split into two parts which connect to the wheel and allows your truck to move freely. Axles also allow the wheels to turn when driving creating a smooth ride. All internally lubricated parts covered by our warranty are contained within the housings and include the axle shafts, differential housing, transaxle housing, and final drive housing.
4. Water Pump
Water pumps allow the coolant to flow through the engine straight to the radiator. Impeller shafts, bearings, bushings, and housing are all under MAG’s warranty.
A turbocharger works to fuel the trucks and increase its efficiency. It is under the hood of the truck, compressing air to the combustion chamber. All internal parts of a turbocharger such as vanes, shafts, and bearings are covered by our warranty. The Turbo/Supercharger housing is also covered if the damage is caused by a failure of any covered component.
6. Seals and Gaskets
Seals and gaskets work to prevent leakage within the vehicle. They work to fill the in-between spaces. These are primary parts of trucks that work tirelessly to keep it in shape. Seals and gaskets are replaced as part of the repair or replacement of the above covered components.
7. Fuel Tank
The fuel tank is designed to hold and disperse fuel throughout the truck. The fuel tank is covered under warranty for leaks to ensure you don’t have any costly fuel leaks no matter where you’re driving.
The radiator is your engine’s cooling system – which is critical to your continued operation. The radiator is covered for failures due to leaks. Download the full warranty here We hope this article has provided some tips for questions to consider when purchasing a step van. We hope you have found these Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Step Van Dealer helpful. If you have specific questions, feel free to reach out to MAG's team at 800-888-4614.