Selecting the right vehicle for your cleaning business is often overlooked, yet can play a big part in your company’s overall effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity.
In order to grow your cleaning business fast and retain customers, you need an optimized fleet of vehicles for your team—whether you have two vehicles or 10. You also need to ensure that the vehicles chosen for your cleaning business fleet are safe and easy for your team to operate, can hold all necessary cleaning equipment, and have a high Return on Investment.
In this article, we’ll cover what you need to consider when purchasing a new vehicle for your cleaning company, and a few of the best vehicles for a cleaning business.
Vehicle considerations for your cleaning business
Any driver knows the struggle of rising fuel costs. For owners of a cleaning business, this concern is compounded by the fact that you’re paying for gas for multiple vehicles in your fleet. It’s essential to select a model with efficient gas mileage to save money in the long run.
To ensure you’re getting the appropriate gas mileage, consider the characteristics of your service area—the needs of an inner city cleaning business will be different then those operating in rural areas, due to different traffic levels, speed limits, and road quality.
Auto Insurance Costs
You’ll have different requirements for insurance coverage for your company vehicles depending on the state or province where you’ll operate. Make sure to take note of the essentials and the “nice-to-haves” when it comes to coverage, depending on your cleaning business’ needs.
You can get a quote online or by talking to an insurance agent. Make sure you go into the conversation with an idea of the following:
- Which vehicle model you’re considering (more on this below)
- How many miles you’ll put on each vehicle/year
- How many service calls the vehicle will go on
- How many cleaners or drivers per car you’ll need (It’ll be cheaper to assign particular vehicles to 1-2 people)
Once you get a quote, you can factor that into the long-term costs of your vehicle, like maintenance.
Sometimes the best way to estimate future costs is by looking backwards. Consider the past maintenance costs of your vehicles and how they came about (unless this is your first cargo fleet). Routine maintenance is essential and isn’t likely to vary in cost.
Compare your maintenance cost budget to the warranty on your new vehicle—high costs means you might opt for a longer warranty. If you’re concerned about the longevity of your fleet, consider opting for a premium warranty for extra protection.
As a cleaning service, it’s crucial to keep well-maintained vehicles to avoid unexpected breakdowns and the extra costs associated.
Using Force Fleet Tracking, you can remotely track your fleet’s mechanical health, including check-engine light codes, battery health, fuel leves, recalls and more. This ensures you avoid preventably high maintenance costs and are alerted the second a problem emerges keeping your drivers safe and your vehicles performing at their best.
Maintenance is just one aspect of fleet management—a practice that will help you improve driver satisfaction and save money and time.
Having enough space is essential to transport supplies from job to job! The ideal vehicle should fit all of your equipment. If you have large equipment (like carpet cleaning machines, water tanks, etc.) consider whether you need a ramp or a low to the ground vehicle for easy access when loading and unloading your vehicle during service calls.
Of course price is another deciding factor—you want to make sure your bottom line is affected as little as possible. Decide your budget and how much you’re willing to invest in a new vehicle or fleet. You can also get a car loan to help subsidize the cost of your cleaning vehicles.
You might decide that buying used or leasing a vehicle is the best move for your cleaning service. If you’re unsure, our guide for small businesses buying vehicles is a great place to start.
Safety should be one of your top priorities when you purchase a vehicle. Not only does safety help give your drivers confidence, it also means lower maintenance costs in the long run (and likely a higher resale value).
Besides the safety of your drivers, you need to consider how you’ll keep cleaning supplies safe in your cargo space. Consider whether you’ll use shelves, boxes or containers to store equipment and chemicals to avoid spills and contamination—this will also dictate the flooring needs of your van.
Best Vehicles for a Cleaning Service
Now that you know the decision factors when purchasing a vehicle, here’s a roundup of the best vehicles for a cleaning business.
|Ford Transit Cargo Van||Longevity||$35,270|
|Ford Transit Connect Van||Small cargo needs||$24,655|
|Mercedes Benz Sprinter Crew||Largest payload capacity and cargo volume||$48,270|
|RAM ProMaster||Customization and extended wheelbase option||$30,590|
|Chevrolet Express Van||Virtual office on the road||$32,500|
|Nissan NV200 S Compact Cargo||Saving money and has best warranty||$23,630|
MSRP: From $35,270 USD
Payload capacity: 3,060 – 5,110 lbs (model-dependent)
Basic Warranty: 3 years / 36,000 miles
Seating capacity: 2 passengers
Engine: 3.5-L PFDI or EcoBoost V6
Cargo Volume Behind First Row (cubic feet): 246.7 – 487.3
Transmission: 10-speed automatic Selectshift® with overdrive
The Ford Transit is synonymous with vans in the service industry. It’s a great option for cleaning businesses that spend a lot of time on the road and need a vehicle with good handling for city and residential streets. It’s available with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.
The baseline cargo space starts at 246.7 cubic feet with a starting payload of 3,060 lbs—ideal for a cleaning business servicing larger residential homes.The Transit can be upfitted to include cargo hooks, which you can use to secure larger pieces of equipment such as vacuum cleaners or brooms. There’s also a pillar upfit, ideal for when you’re unloading heavy equipment out of the vehicle, or if cleaners need an extra handhold for stability..
You can upfit the Ford Transit with their Heavy Duty Cargo Floor, which adds a flat, even surface to place storage shelves and bins for cleaning supplies. However, at $790, it’s worth exploring a DIY subfloor.
The Transit has one of the best transmissions on our list, so if you’re hoping to keep your cars long term, the Transit makes a great case for your cleaning business.
MSRP: From $24,655 USD
Payload capacity: 1,610 lbs
Basic Warranty: 3 years / 36,000 miles
Seating capacity: 2 passengers
Engine: 2.0L GDI I-4 Gas
Cargo Volume Behind First Row (cubic feet): 127.4
Transmission: 6-Speed or 8-Speed SelectShift® Automatic Transmission
The Ford Transit Connect Van is the Cargo’s little sibling; it’s smaller, cheaper and comes with a tradeoff of a slightly less powerful engine and transmission. It’s ideal for smaller companies that need to transport basic cleaning supplies to their jobs. If you transport your cleaning supplies in bins or buckets, the Connect is a cost-effective choice. We’d advise against the Connect if you intend to install a shelving unit due to its small volume.
At only 127.4 cubic feet, it’s a tight fit for your equipment. However, like the Cargo Van it has ample towing capacity, so if you expand or need more space you’ll be able to do so without buying a new car.
The Transit Connect comes in a variety of unique color options to suit your business’s branding, which could reduce costs should you decide to get a vehicle wrap for your van.
MSRP: From $48,270 USD
Payload capacity: up to 6,305 lbs
Basic Warranty: 3 years / 62,137 miles
Seating capacity: up to 5 passengers
Engine: 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo gasoline or 3.0L 6-cylinder turbo diesel
Cargo Volume (cubic feet): 370.8
Transmission: 9G-TRONIC 9-speed Automatic Transmission or 7G-TRONIC Plus 7-speed Automatic Transmission
While the Sprinter Crew is the most expensive on our list, it packs quite the punch for cleaning service business purposes! It has extra room when compared to most vans and a massive payload capacity of up to 6,305 lbs. It can carry all the cleaning equipment you’ll need with room to spare. It seats up to 5 people for larger cleaning jobs, so if you need a few extra seats you won’t be sacrificing much cargo space.
The Sprinter Crew offers hundreds of configurations, so you can customize it exactly to your cleaning business’s needs. Some unique technical configurations include a navigation system and 360° parking—a feature we highly recommend for parking in narrow residential driveways.
The Sprinter Crew is our top choice for reliability in all seasons; it can be configured for heavy duty suspension and four wheel drive with increased traction to combat icy winter roads. The mirrors are heated and the seats can be as well. If you’re operating a cleaning service through the winter months, the Sprinter Crew will keep you and your equipment safe.
MSRP: From $30,590 USD
Payload capacity: up to 4,000 lbs
Basic Warranty: 3 years / 37,282 miles
Seating capacity: up to 2 passengers
Engine: 3.6L PentastarTM V6 Engine
Cargo Volume (cubic feet): 259.2
Transmission: Six Speed Automatic Transmission
The RAM ProMaster is a jack of all trades. From a slightly higher price to a slightly below average transmission, it’s not exactly a shining star but delivers as promised and is a great option if you’re already committed to RAM vans.
The most impressive features include a significant load capacity of up to 4,000 lbs and nearly 260 cubic feet of cargo volume. It has better handling and turning compared to fellow cargo vans considering its size, and is also lowest to the ground of its class at only 21 inches. This makes it perfect for hauling bulky cleaning supplies to service calls.
The high-roof model offers an 8 foot clearance, ideal if you hope to stand in the cargo area of your vehicle. When you opt for its larger models, the ProMaster has an impressive cargo space and load capacity, making it advantageous for cleaning companies with heavier equipment or a takeaway service for waste or donation items.
MSRP: From $32,500 USD
Payload capacity: up to 4,280 lbs
Basic Warranty: 3 Years / 36,000 Miles
Seating capacity: up to 5 passengers
Engine: 4.3L V6 Gas engine, 6.6L V8 Gas engine or 2.8L Duramax Turbo-Diesel 4-cylinder engine
Cargo Volume (cubic feet): 207
Transmission: 8-speed automatic transmission or 6-speed heavy-duty automatic transmission
The Express Van is another highly customizable option for your cleaning company. It has several anti-accident features to keep drivers and supplies safe including lane departure warning, blindspot monitoring, and forward collision warning.
The Express Van has three different engine options, the Diesel being the most fuel efficient. You can get the 1500 basic model or upgrade to the 2500 or 3500 with an extra wheelbase for extra length (and more cargo space).
It only comes in four colors; red, white, silver and black; however, the Express is a compact van, so a branded vehicle wrap will be worth the investment. While a traditional pallet and cargo hooks method is enough if you store cleaning products in boxes and bins, an upfit may be due for more convenient storage.
Chevrolet can do these upfits in-house with metal shelves, which are stronger than plastic and easier to clean than wood if there are any accidental chemical spills. Their accessories range from cylinder holders (perfect for upright storage of mops and brooms) to a tank holder, which may come in handy if you’re transporting heavy chemicals or a fire extinguisher.
We especially love the Express Van’s wifi HotSpot feature that can be equipped as a virtual office, so you can communicate with your team remotely, and process invoices and payments at customers’ properties instantly. The Chevrolet Business Choice program offers cash allowances from $500-$1200 on Upfits and Accessories. For small cleaning companies, this is a great option to take advantage of—just find a dealer through their website.
MSRP: From $23,630
Payload capacity: up to 1,480 lbs
Basic Warranty: 5 Years / 100,000 Miles
Seating capacity: up to 5 passengers
Engine: 2.0L 4-cylinder
Cargo Volume (cubic feet): 122.7
Transmission: Xtronic CVT® (Continuously Variable Transmission)
Not only is the Compact Cargo the cheapest of our lineup, it also has one of the best fuel efficiencies of its class. This is especially useful if vehicles have many stops during the day or travel back to head office between jobs. It’s the most small business-friendly, which is why we recommend it for the budget-conscious cleaning companies.
It has less space compared to some competitors and a lower payload capacity, so it’s more ideal for basic cleaning jobs. On the upside, the Nissan comes equipped with 12 cargo hooks, so your cleaning supplies aren’t going anywhere. For even more storage space, Nissan included under-seat storage.
Having said this, the Compact Cargo offers some unique opportunities for your cleaning business. The passenger seat folds down, designed for dual function as a work desk! It even has a dedicated groove to ensure your laptop won’t slide around when you’re on the road.
Should you wish to take advantage of its virtual office capabilities, you can also include a trim with a rear power outlet to charge electronics or battery operated vacuums in between jobs. In addition, you can store ladders or other long items vertically on the passenger side, as well as upfit the Nissan to include a cargo rack, shelving units and partitions.
Make the most of your company vehicle
Once you select your cargo van, there are a few essential practices to extending the life of your vehicle and managing your fleet with ease.
We know fleet management for cleaning companies and can help your business reap all the benefits of our software to improve your service and reduce operational costs. Force Fleet Tracking can help with fleet management to signal maintenance as soon as it’s needed, track driver whereabouts, and identify reckless driving habits. Get a free trial today and see for yourself.