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Here are some FAQ to help you along your way.
Vansmith Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
I’m new to this. Where do I start?
- Great question! The best way to start is to have a look at our website and this simple brochure. Once you’re acquainted with those, peruse this handy dandy FAQ for answers to some of your burning questions. Should you have more questions or want to speak with us directly, by all means, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you sell vans or do I have to purchase my own van?
- As we’re not a dealership, we cannot sell vans today. Our clients must purchase and bring in their own vans for us to build them out. That said, we can certainly connect you with local partners who can source great new and used vans.
How do I get my van to you?
- There are a few good ways to get your van to us. 1) you can purchase your van wherever you live and take a road trip to Boulder; 2) you can hire someone else to drive your van to Boulder; or 3) you can work with a local new or used dealer in the Denver metro area and have them deliver your van directly to us (we can connect you with the local partners we work with).
What kinds of vehicles do you build out?
- We mainly build out high roof cargo vans, like Ram Promasters, Ford Transits, and Mercedes Sprinters. We can also build out smaller cargo vans like Ford Transit Connects. And, if you’re looking for an overlander, we can build really awesome SUV/truck bed solutions. Here’s a blog we wrote that describes what to look for in cargo vans.
What 4x4 vans are available? Do I need one?
Today, there are only a couple of good options for true 4x4 cargo vans: 1) the Mercedes Sprinter 4x4 is the most popular of these...and also the most expensive and hard to get; and 2) Quigley, an aftermarket 4x4 company, will convert just about any cargo van to a true 4x4 version. In 2019, Ford also announced that its popular Ford Transit cargo vans would be available in an all-wheel-drive option.
Now, whether you really need a 4x4 is perhaps a better question. If you live in an area where you regularly utilize 4x4 or AWD just to get around, then a 4x4 or AWD van is probably worth it. However, if you think you need 4x4 because you’re going to be doing a lot of camping or driving to ski resorts, you might instead consider the Ram Promaster, which is the only cargo van that comes with standard front-wheel-drive, which puts all of the weight directly over the front wheels, giving you way more traction than other 2WD vans. We have many clients who own Ram Promasters and regularly take them to the snow and dirt trails (not truly off-roading) without issue.
How much do van build outs cost?
- Typical (and super beautiful/useable) van conversions cost between $30,000 - $40,000, depending on the size of the van and installed features. However, for completely custom designed vans, where the layout and features are totally unique, the cost can be as high as $70,000. In all cases, we will work with you to stay within budget and get exactly what you want and need. After all, we’re in the business of creating freedom and delight!
How long does the process take?
- Our backlog is typically 2-3 months and most vans take 5-8 weeks to build out, depending on how custom they are.
Do you offer financing or payment plans?
- While we do not offer financing or payment plans today, most people who finance their vans can ask their financiers to increase their loan amount to cover the costs of a buildout.
What are the payment terms?
To get a spot on our calendar, we require a $5,000 deposit, which is fully refundable within 30-days. Once we’re two weeks out from your scheduled start date, we require a downpayment of 50% of the cost of your build with the final 50% (minus the $5,000 deposit) due upon picking up your beautiful new home on wheels.
Do you offer different layout and design options?
- Of course! And...having built many vans for many amazingly happy clients, there are a couple of layouts that we stick to pretty regularly because A) they work; and B) they’re super space and cost efficient. Within these layouts, there are plenty of ways to customize the look and feel of your van build. Sometimes, however, our clients come to us with unique layouts and features that require more custom layout and design work. We can do this as well. In fact, we can really design and build just about anything. It all comes down to your budget and time.
Can you install extra windows and seats?
- Yes! In fact, in most cases, it’s better to bring us a bare metal cargo van that we can design with you to fit your specific needs. This includes installing swivel seats, benches, and extra windows.
How many people can a van drive (safely) and sleep (comfortably)?
- Firstly, vans should not be confused with RVs. Cargo vans, while perfect canvases for building super cool nano homes, only come in a few sizes, none of which are nearly as spacious as even shorter RVs. Having said that, we can and do build out longer wheelbase vans for families of 4-5, with various legal, safe seating options (including integrated seatbelts). Along with this, we can design and build various sleeping options to suit your family’s needs, including bunk-style beds, foldout couches, and roof tents. For the most part, if you require seating and sleeping arrangements for more than 5 people, we would need to speak with you further.
Can you build bathrooms and showers?
- Yes, we can definitely build bathrooms and showers. This can be as simple as a hideaway toilet and outdoor passively heated shower or as luxurious as an interior shower room and toilet combo.
Do you install solar?
- Every day! All of the vans we build include separate batteries and electric systems designed specifically for the living space. Most of these also include solar in different configurations. That said not everyone needs solar as the batteries we install are charged while driving and can also be plugged into regular outlets. And, in many cases, our batteries will last 2-3 days (of regular use) without needing a charge.
How do you keep vans warm or cold?
All of our vans are outfitted with insulation and roof fans designed specifically for #vanlife. For those cold nights, we also offer heaters which connect to your van’s gas or diesel tank, sipping a drop at a time and create a super cozy space. For super hot environments, we can also install separate air conditioning systems on the roof.
What makes your vans special?
- Though there are plenty of good van builders out there, what we’re known for is building beautiful, warm, cozy, functional, organic-looking vans. To do this we use lots of wood for details, including wood wall panels and ceilings. And because wood can tend to tweak and shift over time, we weld our own bedframe and affix them to the van, using them as an anchor for all of that amazing wood. That way our vans are super durable and will stand the test of time...and your adventures.
How do I start?
- To get started, shoot us an email at email@example.com and let us know what you’re looking for.
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