What a Cargo Van Is Used For

As well as makes, cargo vans come in a variety of sizes making them suitable for a wide assortment of tasks. Their unique design and ease with which they can be adapted to suit individual needs has made them increasingly popular with businesses and as personal vehicles.

While there are many different sizes of cargo van they can basically be broken down into four main ones and those are compact cargo van, full size cargo van, high top cargo van and heavy duty cargo van.

Although the different size cargo vans can be used for an assortment of different businesses these are the sizes most commonly used by each type of business:

Compact Cargo Vans: Businesses with smaller items such as florists, locksmiths and caterers

Full Sized Cargo Vans: Telecom, electrical, HVAC and plumbing

High Roof Cargo Vans: When a mobile workshop is needed or as camper vans

Heavy Duty Cargo Vans: Construction or building contractors


Compact Cargo Vans

Compact cargo vans may not offer too much in regards to space and weight but their smaller size also offers a wide range of uses.

Its compact size combined with its maneuverability enable owners to make multiple speedy deliveries throughout urban areas. This makes them ideal for businesses which depend on a reliable and speedy service but whose cargoes are light and perhaps more delicate such as florists and caterers.

While smaller than other cargo vans they still afford access to the cargo section from the driving position plus a side door and rear door. This enables drivers to easily access a relevant delivery.

The multiple points of access to the cargo area makes it easier to organize loads, placing the first drop offs first to hand. This is achieved by loading the last drop offs first and loading in the reverse order to the drop off points. Obviously different drop offs may vary in size but the options of side loading or rear loading make this process easier.


Full Size Cargo Vans

These vans have the same advantages as compact cargo vans but can carry more in terms of both weight and size. This means that these vans are also ideal for use in urban areas but the extra weight and space they provide make them suitable for other tasks other than just deliveries.

These vans have been found to hold sufficient weight and payload to accommodate the needs of Telecom, electrical, HVAC, plumbers, and other businesses which need to work at different sites throughout an urban area. These full size cargo vans are becoming so popular with these types of business that some manufacturers are now offering vans already converted for these purposes.

The full size cargo vans are increasingly taking the place of small box vans due to their more compact design and easier access to equipment. They also have better maneuverability and easier parking potential than the two sectioned box vans.

Full size cargo vans are becoming particularly popular with vehicle rental companies. The reason for this is that they have space enough for furniture items when moving from apartment to apartment or even for small home moves.


High Roof Cargo Vans

Perhaps not as common as their regular height versions these high roof vans are available in compact, full size and even heavy duty versions.

As well as offering the same benefits as other cargo vans these also offer the additional benefit of standing room. This additional benefit can provide a business owner with a mobile work space if needed.

Many owners of high roof full size cargo vans take the opportunity offered by standing room to convert the vans into campers. In some instances conversions can be adapted to serve two purposes, a work vehicle during the week and a quick conversion to camper during holiday periods.


Heavy Duty Cargo Vans

Offering the same maneuverability as the other cargo vans these vans are more powerful and offer higher maximum payloads. This can of course be beneficial to businesses which deal in heavier cargoes such as construction companies or building contractors.

While these vans can carry a heavier payload their size is usually the same as a full size cargo van.

These vans are particularly useful to larger businesses which deal in heavy, bulky loads. They act as a speedier less expensive option to the business’s other vans which may be large box vans. While the larger vans take care of the larger deliveries the heavy duty cargo van can save time by being utilized for smaller drop offs.

In these instances it is not just the ability to be more maneuverable on route that saves time but is also its ability to be parked in smaller spaces. Not all delivery sites have ample parking space especially in urban environments and so the ability to park as close as possible to a delivery site can be a huge time saver.



Cargo vans are designed to only carry the driver plus one passenger beside them however some versions do come with an included crew cab allowing an additional row of seats behind the driver.

One of the popular benefits of a cargo van though is their versatility. This means that it is not too difficult to add extra rows of seats if needed but if so perhaps a minivan would have been a better choice.

Although some minivans look similar to cargo vans they are designed for a single purpose and not very versatile. The main reason for this is that a minivan will have side windows which are not always conducive for carrying cargo. It is therefore easier to add seats to a cargo van than it is to replace windows in a minivan.


Popular Design

Any type and size of cargo van is becoming increasingly popular not just for their versatility but also because of their added convenience as a personal vehicle.

As a personal vehicle a cargo van offers plenty of room for weekly shopping trips, collecting additional chairs and tables, as well as other adornments for parties and makes them ideal for camping trips. Easily adding a couple of extra seats will enable you to take family road trips including camping gear for the whole family.

The handling of a cargo van in urban areas is perhaps its best feature however that same ease to drive is also beneficial on highways. Unfortunately though as they are primarily a cargo carrying vehicle their solid sides and back create blind spots due to not being able to use a rear view mirror.


Touring Cross Country

If you do intend to use your cargo van for a cross country trip it is advised to check the driving regulations in each State you intend to visit or pass through.  Most States do not require a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to drive a cargo van but there are some States that do require it.

If driving on open highways although compact a cargo van is still a van and so can be susceptible to drifting during high wind speeds, especially when empty.



Cargo vans are less powerful and smaller than many box vans but they are rapidly taking the place of smaller box vans in many situations, especially as small business vehicles. This is especially the case in cities where maneuverability is needed and adequate parking spaces are difficult to find.

Some car rental companies have a variety of cargo vans for rent awhile others only offer full size cargo vans. These are increasing in popularity as many people do not need a van on an everyday basis but often need one for moves, parties or other occasions.

Prior to cargo vans becoming available to rent you would probably have had to rented a box van which often came with the additional cost of a CDL driver and side men. If no special license is required in your State to drive a cargo van, its ease to load means you only need a friend to help you complete any task you may have.

Once a cargo van has enough space and available payload for your needs its versatility makes it appropriate for almost any task from moving house to disposing of rubbish. It is equally as convenient as a personal vehicle as it is as a business vehicle or can be used as both.

As easy to drive as a large SUV no special driving course or license is usually necessary so you probably have adequate driving experience to cope with any task you use it for. However, due to its blind spots it is recommended that you reverse with care and where possible get assistance to when reversing in to tight spaces.

Author: Kenneth Graham

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