How to start a man with a van business

transit van
Written by Nigel Simpkins

Are you thinking about starting a “man with a van” business? Great idea! Provided it’s done right, this is an excellent way for anyone in the UK to earn a stable and lucrative income. There are many advantages to taking up this type of business venture.

For instance, if you already own a van then your biggest expense is already out of the way, and those that follow won’t be nearly as high as they’d be with most other business ventures. You also have the freedom to take a number of different approaches, from small item deliveries or moving services and short distance or long distance travel.

High demand, flexible hours, low operating costs and many opportunities to maximise your profits are simply the icing on the cake. That said, one doesn’t simply hop into their van and start making bank. There are a few things that you need to know in order to become a successful man with a van.

Business Registration

Registering your business is an absolute necessity, so it would be wise to first explore your options when it comes to the type of business you want to register as. While you will be personally responsible for any debts incurred in your business, registering as a sole trader is by far the fastest and easiest option.

This type of business allows you to keep any profits you earn, provided you pay the appropriate taxes. Alternatively, you can establish your business as a limited company. In this case, you won’t be personally responsible for its finances, but you will be obliged to carry out responsibilities such as record keeping, company rules and self assessment registration.

Finally, you have the option of starting with a partnership. In this case, you’ll obviously need someone to go into partnership with. In addition to anything else that is shared with your partner, such as responsibilities and profits, debts are equally distributed between both parties.

Van Insurance

Van insurance is a legal requirement in the UK, but since your van will be the cornerstone of your business you might want to consider investing in a fully comprehensive policy rather than the legal minimum (third party).

There are a number of ways that you can cut down on this cost while also ensuring that you’re getting the best possible level of insurance cover. For example, you can compare insurance options through this insurance comparison service. Also included on the Quotezone site is a comprehensive guide to van insurance and the different types of cover available.


Marketing will naturally be a major requirement at an early stage. The more people know about your business, the more customers you’ll have from the get-go.

An affordable and effective way to advertise your company would be to place a logo or sign on your van. This is essentially like having a moving billboard.

Try to keep it original and create something unique and eye-catching, such as “Jean Claude Van Man” – though that one’s taken, so get your creative juices flowing! Consider park your van in a highly visible area when you’re not using it, although it’s worth bearing in mind that your insurance might cost more if you usually park on the roadside.

Business Insurance

Quality insurance serves as a trust factor and will protect your business from unexpected financial setbacks. You might also need to offer insurance that covers your customers, as some of them will prefer to accompany their belongings when you move them and offer help with the loading or unloading process.

Mandatory types of business insurance that you’ll need include employer’s liability insurance and commercial motor insurance. Liability insurance and commercial property insurance are usually not mandatory, but they’re worth considering.


Aside from signage, there are many ways that you can market your business – even if you have little to no money to spend on advertising. After all, we live in the digital age, so there are many options here. Social media is a great place to start. By having a Facebook profile, you can get in touch with customers and put your business on the map.

Speaking of maps, be sure to create a Google My Business page and place your business on the map. This will make it easy for people looking for your service to find you. Additionally, you can create your own website, where you can offer contact details, services and customer support.

Local directories such as Yelp and Yellow Pages are also a great way to get found. Take a moment to learn about digital marketing, as this is undoubtedly the best medium to advertise your business through. Always remember to provide as much value as possible through everything you do on the internet.

Now that you have a better idea of what to do, it’s up to you to put in the time and effort required to start your own man with a van business. It won’t always be easy, but with enough determination and creativity, you can become successful and reach your goals in no time.