For small businesses just starting out, a cargo van can be an invaluable resource. On the other hand, they can also be very expensive and difficult to acquire. Finding a used passenger van is much cheaper. Luckily for many small business owners, converting a passenger van into a cargo van isn’t a very difficult task. Here’s how to do it.
1. Disconnect the battery.
While performing the conversion, you may need to remove electrical components. By disconnecting the battery you eliminate the risk of electrical shock to yourself. This may not be necessary in all vans, however.
2. Remove the back seats.
In vans that have second and third row seating, you’ll want to remove all of the seats. Try to ask a friend for help with this part; the seats tend to be very heavy. To reduce your risk of injury, it’s better to not attempt this on your own.
3. Take out the carpeting.
The majority of vans will have carpeting lining the back. Using a standard carpeting tool or even a household knife, cut around the edges and remove the carpeting from the vehicle. While this is an optional step, carpet is difficult to clean and dirties easily. Cut a line between the back and front seats, and then secure the carpet to the ground. This will allow you to leave carpeting under the front seats.
4. Lay a floor lining in the rear of the van.
Vehicle floor linings can be purchased at most automotive stores. Rubber floor mats can be used, as well as pieces of wood or metal. You want to create a solid, secure surface in the rear of the van. Secure it to the vehicle with screws, taking care not to damage the vehicle when you do.
5. Remove the windows.
This step may require professional help. Remove the side and rear windows and replace them with metal. You’ll want to ensure the replacement metal is flush with the side of the van to reduce the amount of drag produced while going down the highway. If the area doesn’t feel secure, place metal bars across the area where the window once was. This will keep the metal in place more thoroughly.
By removing the internal components of the van, you open it up to hold cargo in the back. You may want to build and secure a partition between the front seats and the rear to prevent equipment from sliding forward when you have to slam on brakes. While it is better to get professional help while constructing this sort of van, it can be done as a DIY project.