Every trade demands different kinds of work from you and your vehicle, so it’s important to make sure that you’ve chosen the right one for the job. Some tradies need as much cargo space as possible, while others need the most powerful engine they can find. Whatever your needs are, the first step should be to decide what kind of vehicle you need. Will a car suffice? If not, you’ll need a ute or truck or maybe even a van.

Pick the right work vehicle for your trade

Power and Cargo: The Truck

If you need to haul large loads of cargo, drag or lift heavy objects or tow trailers as a major part of your job, you’re going to need something that can handle heavy, oddly-shaped loads and provide as much power as possible. Trucks are perfectly suited for this kind of work; the open-topped flat beds allow you to stack vertically if you have to, and this design also saves weight by minimising the amount of chassis that needs to be hauled.

Trucks also tend to have powerful engines and stay high off of the ground, both of which are useful in hauling things safely. If you really need to protect your load from the elements, you can even place a tarp over the truck bed or buy a specially fitted cover. However, if you really need to keep your cargo safe from water, dirt and other environmental hazards, a van might be a better option.

Passenger Capacity and Weather Protection: the Van

Say you’re a glazier or an electrician, or you work with a crew. You’ll need a lot of space for equipment or passengers as well as protection from the elements. A truck or a ute won’t be useful for this, since they can’t easily be kept watertight and their beds aren’t safe to sit in. However, a van performs both functions admirably.

Vans can provide seating for something on the order of 10 passengers. In addition, if you have a lot of small equipment that is best to keep mounted on a wall or kept in boxes, vans provide a lot of wall space and enough room for a workbench. In fact, if you take out or fold down the back seats, they can be mobile workshops. They are perfect for mechanical technicians, locksmiths, knife sharpeners and other precision tradespeople.

The Middle Ground: The Ute

Your general-purpose handyman won’t need to move the kind of cargo that calls for a truck and probably doesn’t need the sheer volume of a van. However, a car probably won’t be able to take the kind of rough work and hauling that you’ll be doing—for instance, transporting timber or plasterboard.

What’s the difference between a pickup truck and a ute, anyway? The line is a little blurry, but utes are generally built on large car platforms. They can haul materials, but their steel structures are generally not as strong as trucks’. They tend to be smaller, lower to the ground and lighter duty, whereas trucks generally have distinctive profiles and are usually quite large. Utes are also a bit cheaper on average, so if truck finance sounds daunting, a ute might be a better option.

That’s our basic rundown of vans, utes, and trucks. We hope that this was a useful overview for you. If you’re ready to start looking for a specific vehicle, check out our article, Dependable and Deductible Vehicles.