Comparison: Best tradie vehicles

It is a hot topic of conversation between tradies – which vehicle type is best for trade businesses? In this article, Andy Smith, co-founder of Lifestyle Tradie, weighs into the debate with his view on the pros and cons of vans, utes and trucks.

Before we drill down into comparing each vehicle type, there are some key areas of consideration for every trade business owner looking to buy new vehicles. While the most appropriate choice is personal, think carefully about the following:

  • Vehicle wrapping – would your business artwork work well on the vehicle?
  • Storage – will your equipment fit? How easy is it get in and out of the car?
  • Security – are you confident your equipment will be safe and secure?
  • Loading heights – what will work best for the jobs you do?
  • Budget – understand your numbers!

Whichever vehicle you end up choosing, one thing is for certain: it will be a workhorse! Avoid getting caught up in the emotion of it all when it comes to picking a trade vehicle. Instead, aim to stick with making a selection based on fit-for purpose. Here’s what Andy has to say about each vehicle type:


Of all the vehicle types, Andy prefers vans. Granted, they’re probably not the hottest vehicles on the road, but there’s lot to love about the humble van. If vans are set up the right way – including a false floor and customised shelving (racks) – vans are a convenient and more affordable option for many trade business owners.

The sliding side doors and back door provides great access for tradies getting equipment in and out of the vehicle. In an added bonus, the back door offers shelter for tradies when it’s raining, as they unpack or pack up a job. Of course, vans are excellent for storage and for security. Just be mindful of loading heights.


The go-to for many trades business owners, utility vehicles (utes) are a popular option for good reason. Like vans, for utes to work well for tradies the set-up has to be spot on. Andy likes utes where you can bolt on the back.

In Andy’s trade business, DR DRiP Plumbing, he’s opted for a fleet of utes.

You will see there is good space for vehicle signage or wrapping. You can lift the back off, should the vehicle be involved in an accident. This means it can be attached to another vehicle and back on the road quick smart.

If there were any downsides, it would be that specialised bodies on utes could have many have too many doors. When accessing equipment, it becomes cumbersome and time-consuming for tradies to open six to eight doors.


Trade business owners are now making a move towards trucks. Trucks have an immediate impact because of their size. There is scope to store more, for sure. But like the other vehicles, there are some serious cons to choosing a truck.

Trucks are often difficult to park in tight city car spots and while they have the capacity to store lots of equipment, don’t forget you will be dragging this weight around all day – and this is not ideal from a vehicle performance perspective.

The final word

Strong views on the best trade vehicles will always persist given the central role cars play in the everyday operations of trade businesses. While Andy is a fan of the van, share this post to encourage debate with your tradie mates about car preferences.

     What’s next?

  1. Join our Kick-Ass Tradies Facebook Group, for access to trade business specific conversations, tips and resources, plus a like-minded community of tradies.
  2. Book a 15-minute Game Plan Call with Andy, owner of Dr. DRiP plumbing and co-founder of Lifestyle Tradie, to clarify your priorities and get clear action steps.