Van rental: the low-budget solution to high-end vehicles


Every industry is different, and therefore the vehicles needed can vary significantly in size, purpose and customisation.

Sometimes, highly customised vehicles are required to carry out certain tasks and ensure projects are completed on time, and in these circumstances the need to access them at short notice is paramount.

One key area where specialist vehicles are required is construction, with a variety of extras that can help to increase vehicles’ capabilities and ensure conformity with legal requirements.

Racking, beacons and chapter 8 livery are all commonly requested among these vehicles, and this extends to a range of sectors, including utilities, telecoms and rail.

One Northgate customer required a significant increase in its fleet numbers following the awarding of a new contract that saw employee figures quadruple.

In addition to an increase in the number of vehicles, the company also needed semi cap equipment to help fulfil the various requirements of its engineers – something that was achieved quickly and with minimum downtime due to Northgate’s extensive UK network of vehicles and branches.

Bridging the gap

Ultimately, high-end vehicles help to bridge the gap between the core requirements of a business and the specific needs of certain projects and specialist work. This can range from the addition of beacons and stickering that ensure compliancy with site working, to towbars for pulling generators.

In areas such as traffic management, needs can vary significantly and are often bespoke – a customer may require a dropside, but also need h-frames, LED lights, chapter 8 livery, and fall and rest rails, all the way to health and safety equipment such as handwash units.

Adding all of these to an owned vehicle to create a high-end upgrade can prove expensive and, when spread across an entire fleet, the outlay may even outweigh the benefit of taking on a contract or project requiring the semi-cap.

Regardless of the customer’s specific requirements, Northgate can work out a rate that suits the customer, with no upfront cost and a range of benefits that each provide peace of mind.

As well as having a fully maintained vehicle through an all-inclusive service, maintenance and repair offering, downtime is minimised; when the vehicle goes off the road, work is able to be carried out at a nationwide network of wholly owned and warranty approved workshops.

For fleet managers, it helps to take away a degree of pain by enabling them to plan in the start of a new contract and not incur new costs until the contract starts, which would usually be a major cost burden.

Removing the hassle

Northgate helps to remove the hassle, with a dedicated team that can be consulted about requirements beforehand and answer questions about anything from minimum compliance specification to industry-specific queries, which means customers can hit the ground running on the first day of the contract.

Another boon is that vehicles that already have semi-cap on can be further upgraded to ensure they meet changing requirements and are capable of carrying out tasks.

The range of options and flexibility available means that focus and finances can be diverted to other parts of the business, as Northgate takes away the headache and provides peace of mind.

High end does not need to mean high cost – flexible long-term van rental and leasing can provide transparency over costs and delivery and help to ensure that customer demands are met.

Contact us to find out about flexible and long-term van rental and leasing today.

Easing the worry of transporting high value products and equipment


Every business will be aware of the challenges associated with ensuring staff, equipment and products are in the right place at the right time.

When the value of equipment can extend into tens of thousands of pounds, the need to safeguard the contents of the vehicle and ensure it reaches its destination is paramount, and can be integral to meeting customer requirements and preventing financial loss.

In sectors such as healthcare, time is money, as drugs are not only extremely expensive to manufacture, but can spoil if not kept at the right temperature or if they take too long to travel from the distribution centre to the point of delivery.

Flexible approach

One of Northgate’s biggest customers transports drugs and other products to and from its many stores and warehouses, as well as delivering essential medicines to general practitioners and care homes across the UK.

As such, a long-term, flexible fleet management and acquisition strategy is required in order to deal with fluctuations in demand and to ensure peace of mind that the size of the fleet and specification of the vehicles can be upscaled at short notice.

The value in having assets managed is that Northgate takes care of servicing the network, which keeps vehicles on the road for longer, and reduces downtime in a sector where every minute is valuable and cost-effective solutions are essential.

Thanks to Northgate’s partnership with breakdown partner AA, a back on-the-road target of 2.5 hours means that vehicles are never off the road for long, in the unlikely event they do break down.

It is an approach that is applicable to businesses of all sizes in every sector and can range from drugs to plant machinery.

Fluctuating demand

When contracts can often be won and started with a quick turnaround time, there is a constant need for an agile fleet that can help to meet the specific needs of the project and offer the reliability and security required.

Often, a business will want or need an extra level of security for additional peace of mind, and this can be provided in the form of deadlocks on the back of the van. The management of spare keys can also add an additional layer by ensuring that locks are changed as soon as possible in the event that keys are lost or misplaced.

An increasingly popular option and one that will eventually become standard on all vans is the use of trackers, which not only enables fleet managers to monitor the whereabouts of vans, drivers and their high value loads, but can also help to improve efficiency from a fleet coordination perspective.

The straightforward approach employed by Northgate means that this additional equipment can be fitted to vehicles as per the customer’s bespoke specification, removing much of the time and hassle associated with running and operating an owned fleet.

Old vehicles can prove a major drain on resources, while purchase or contract hire can also come with hidden extras, forcing business to fork out for servicing, maintenance and repair and causing significant downtime in some cases, particularly when replacement vehicles aren’t available.

Where high value products and equipment is concerned, the problem is exacerbated further still, as the reliability factor could result in products being spoiled or not reaching their destination, which can cause financial and reputational loss.

Northgate’s fair and transparent approach ensures that customers have access to a wide range of vehicles and upgrades on a flexible basis, with an SMR package that creates added peace of mind by minimising downtime and expenditure, allowing money to be invested in other parts of the business and ensuring customer expectations are met.

Contact us to find out about flexible and long-term van rental and leasing today.

Don’t underestimate the importance of peace of mind


Peace of mind is important in all walks of life – without it, we would constantly stress over multiple things, but for some people there can be more considerations than others, particularly in business.

When it comes to a company’s operations, having complete control over every process at all times is easier said than done, especially when dealing with fleets, where vehicles and workers are constantly on the move.

For fleet managers and business owners, it can be a constant source of worry, which can soon become overwhelming if things begin to go wrong and even the most vice-like grips on operations start to slip.

Multiple considerations

Among the many considerations when controlling a fleet is the wellbeing of not only the staff, but the vehicles that they operate, which are used to transport both them and the equipment and materials necessary to complete a job.

When so many factors are involved, the risk of things going wrong can increase considerably – will the vehicle reach the destination? Is it equipped to do the job? What if it breaks down? Is it compliant with the law? Is it too far away?

In these situations, having as much control as possible over these elements can help to provide peace of mind and limit the amount of time and resource that needs to go into controlling and managing specific operations.

When money, safety, time, the weather, staff happiness and customer service are all part of the same melting pot, having assurances that one or more aspects is taken care of can have a knock-on effect that then enables time and resources to be diverted to other areas of the business.

Real-world example

One of our customers, Complete Washroom Solutions, initially approached us after being faced with several conundrums that were each combining to exacerbate each other, and which stemmed from owning its own fleet.

The existing fleet acquisition method meant that upfront charges were incurred for sign writing, ply lining and extractor fan fitting, all of which resulted in a large capital outlay, while mileage was higher than anticipated, leading to escalating maintenance and repair costs.

Subsequently, the aesthetic appeal of the vehicles was rapidly diminishing due to age and wear and tear, and servicing and repairs were difficult to plan, which led to many drivers being taken off the road and replacement vehicles being required, causing even more expenditure.

Through Northgate, Complete Washroom Solutions was able to identify the right vehicles to suit its business needs, and benefit from the fitting of bespoke features that meant no upfront charges were incurred.

Driver downtime was also minimised through the use of a dedicated network of wholly owned and warranty approved workshops and accessibility to replacement vehicles, while flexibility was bolstered significantly through the option to upsize at short notice in line with fluctuating demands.

The result was a saving of at least £3,000 per vehicle in running costs and improvements in efficiency, separate to the physical cost of purchasing a fleet outright, all of which combined to substantially reduce the fleet management headache.

Reducing stress

As vehicles can be just as unpredictable as staff and customers, having as many safeguards as possible in place to deal with the unexpected can help to provide a quick resolution if something does happen, and – just as importantly – offer constant peace of mind, even if things go smoothly.

When running a business with several moving parts, in which time is money and every minute spent worrying or dealing with an avoidable matter can result in lost business, having a degree of certainty over the fleet can be invaluable.

Northgate provides a fair and transparent service that can help to meet a business’s specific needs and ensure that customer demands can be consistently met.

Contact us to find out about flexible and long-term van rental and leasing today.

How to beat the bad weather


Any business that operates in a sector involving outdoor work will be fully aware of how the weather can scupper even the best laid plans.

In sectors such as landscaping, a sustained downpour can heavily delay the start of a project, while in construction, roofwork can be impossible if heavy rain or high winds tighten their grip.

It is estimated that bad weather causes problems for around 37 per cent of small to medium-sized businesses, but this figure is magnified significantly when the business’s core operation involves outdoor activity.

The result is a number of headaches, from unmet customer expectations, to lost time and money, to a change in the requirements of the job, which may need to be completed within a shorter timeframe and with greater manpower.

Major headache

All of these considerations can combine to keep fleet managers awake at night and prove an overall drain on resources, which is why it is important to have as many contingencies in place as possible to deal with the unexpected.

One of our customers, landscaping company Redlough Landscapes, frequently encounters the problems associated with working outdoors, including seasonal weather changes.

Even in the spring and summer months, bouts of bad weather can scupper plans, and result in some projects being taken on and started at short notice.

Not only can this result in the need to strategically locate staff, but it can also require certain vehicles to be acquired or upgraded at short notice, which would be a major cost burden for an organisation that purchases its fleet.

Moving to Northgate’s flexible rental solution as a way of acquiring vehicles instead or purchase or contract hire, enables businesses to increase their fleet size in as little as four working hours thanks to a nationwide network of branches, while the option to change the size or type of vehicle at any time or add additional equipment to vehicles for a transparent cost helps to meet customer demands.

Northgate has provided Redlough with a variety of vehicles to meet the differing needs of its business, including tippers, 4x4s and vans of all sizes, enabling the company to operate a diverse and highly mobile fleet.

Since teaming up with Northgate, Redlough Landscapes has been able to predict associated costs far easier and has also benefitted from Northgate’s service, maintenance and repair (SMR) package, which enables work to be carried out at a wholly owned and warranty approved workshop and minimises downtime.

In an industry where time is money, Redlough has saved €30,000 on SMR alone and seen the average age of its 30-strong fleet cut from seven to three years, meaning fewer repair bills, increased reliability and improved efficiency.

Exceeding expectations

Customer service is becoming a number one priority for many businesses, and reducing costs across the fleet means that organisations can allocate the money elsewhere in the business and focus on customer delivery.

The added flexibility and transparency included in Northgate’s rental package, combined with a reduction in initial outlay for new vehicles, means businesses know exactly how much the fleet will cost, and can ensure a smooth and efficient operation for customers.

This knowledge helps to create overall peace of mind, as fleet and project managers know that an essential component of the business is being taken care of.

Sadly, there is no way of controlling the weather, but by having systems and supply partners in place to deal with bad weather and help to maintain operations – or restart them at short notice – businesses can help to minimise downtime caused by rain, snow or high winds and focus on the next task.

Contact us to find out about flexible and long-term van rental and leasing today.

Change your driving habits and lower your costs


While making money is the main aim of any business, saving it is just as important, and this approach is applicable to all areas of the business.

For fleet managers, cost savings can come in many forms, from the way that vehicles are sourced, to how they are upgraded and expanded in line with contractual requirements.

However, an often overlooked area – and one that could lead to significant cost savings – is the operation of the vehicles themselves, and how they are driven.

When a fleet extends to dozens of vehicles, any way that costs can be reduced is multiplied significantly, and when this saving can be achieved over the long-term, the benefits are even more appealing.

Wear and tear

Although wear and tear is something that affects every vehicle, this can be accelerated significantly if the vehicle is driven in a certain way.

Harsh braking increases the wear on brake pads, which means they need changing sooner, and can also shorten the life of the tyres. Harsh cornering, meanwhile, can increase the wear on the suspension and steering parts, and also affect the degradation of the tyres.

Accelerating harshly has a detrimental effect on the clutch, which will subsequently need replacing sooner, while high revs and a failure to change gears when required will wear out engine parts and oil. This will mean that the service light comes on sooner and may even prevent the vehicle from reaching the full service interval.

Some of the overall consequences of harsh driving include the cost of breakdown and recovery through any premiums or transportation, the loss of business through the vehicle being off the road, and even the cost of buying a replacement vehicle.

At Northgate, the worry of service, maintenance and repair is minimised through an all-inclusive SMR package, with work carried out at a network of wholly-owned and warranty approved workshops across the UK, while our partnership with AA can help to minimise downtime, but these risks can all be reduced further by controlling driving habits.

Fuel costs

Costs are not limited to wear and tear, however – fuel consumption can also be radically reduced by changing driving habits; even something as simple as reducing revs and acceleration and driving in a higher gear, where appropriate.

Although this may only save a couple of pence per mile, it soon translates into huge cost savings when applied across a vehicle’s entire time on the road and multiplied across a whole fleet.

It can also have a major effect on insurance costs, if the vehicle is fitted with telematics technology that tracks how it is driven at all times.

With many insurers offering cost reductions for gentle cornering and braking, sensible acceleration and even the location of the vehicle, the potential cost savings are significant.

Ultimately, the key to reducing wear and tear and improving the way that fleet vehicles are operated is to increase education around the benefits of better driving.

By encouraging drivers to be mindful of the way that vehicles are controlled and communicating the potential costs savings, the business can soon see outlay decrease, while drivers could also be rewarded for their commitment, ensuring all-round benefits.

Any reduction in operational costs is welcome, and by reducing worry about how vehicles are being operated and the potential repair costs, it can create peace of mind as well as freeing up resource to be invested in other parts of the business.

Contact us to find out about flexible and long-term van rental and leasing today.

Safety features to look for when choosing vehicles

Northgate safety

When choosing a new vehicle or a fleet of new vehicles, there will be several considerations based on the business’s size, sector, customer base, employees and budget, all of which will play a role in what is chosen.

While it is important to take all of these factors into account when investing in new vehicles, another major consideration is compliance with legislation, particularly for businesses that operate in sectors and are involved in projects where red tape is burdensome, such as construction and highway maintenance.

This can often involve operating in high-risk areas and in situations where heavy loads, restricted spaces and other limiting criteria are in operation.

It is therefore often essential to have relevant processes, warning and safety signage and livery in place at all times, in order to conform with both the law and the requirements of the job.


Having the correct livery in place does not only help a company to advertise its service or product and attract new customers, but can also be integral in ensuring the organisation is not breaking the law.

Chapter 8 livery is a requirement for any vehicle parked on the side of a road for works or inspection where the speed limit is above 50mph, but is advisable for all roads, regardless of the limitations.

Yellow high visibility side stripes can also be added to vehicles that will be parked or operating in areas with high traffic volumes and can help to ensure the safety of people within the vehicles, as well as fellow road users.

The addition of beacons can also help to further alert motorists to the presence of a parked vehicle as well as its movements, as it is pulling off the motorway onto the hard shoulder or construction site.

For businesses that land construction or maintenance contracts at short notice, there can often be long lead times to have equipment fitted to vehicles, but Northgate strategically positions its vehicles so that specialist vehicles with conformant markings can be conveniently accessed.

One of our customers, Warmer Energy Services, required increased flexibility to match its rapid expansion, as well as specialist equipment and livery, which Northgate was able to provide following consultation. This not only helped the company to comply with legislation, but also delivered 100 per cent fleet utilisation and a reduction in rental costs.


For companies that transport a significant amount of material or whose employees regularly use heavy or specialist equipment, implementing safe loading and unloading processes is essential.

Larger vans such as Lutons can therefore come fitted with a tail-lift, which can ensure easier and safer loading and unloading to not only safeguard the material, equipment or product being relocated, but the workers who are moving it.

Alternatively, high payload Lutons with lower floor heights can be advantageous by removing the need for lifting above a certain height and provide the added bonus of being able to fit more in the back of the van, reducing the need for multiple journeys.

Northgate offers a range of Lutons and large vans that suit a wide variety of customer requirements and can ensure product safety, safe loading, the wellbeing of workers and other road users.

Specialist equipment

Sometimes a specialist project or line of work requires specialist equipment, and a vehicle that can provide that equipment can save time and boost safety.

Welfare vans can be equipped with a variety of safety apparatus and equipment that can not only act as a mobile staffroom, but also help to provide convenience for workers who require it.

Exterior features can include chapter 8 livery, reverse parking sensors and manual side entry door steps and anti-slip coated steps. The interior can then be fitted with specific safety features including eyewash stations, a glass hammer, first aid kit, grab handles and a hand care system to ensure the continuous wellbeing of workers.

Northgate converted long wheelbase Ford Transit and Mercedes Sprinter vans can help to meet the particular requirements of businesses carrying out work in areas that need a welfare vehicle.

Any business knows that the safety of staff, customers and any road users or pedestrians is of paramount importance, and this extends to all areas of operation.

Having the right vehicles that meet and exceed safety legislation and fulfil the requirements of the job can help to provide continuous peace of mind.

Contact us to find out about flexible and long-term van rental and leasing today.

How to stop fleet managers having sleepless nights

Fleet worries can cause sleepless nights

Fleet worries can cause sleepless nights

Being a decision maker in a company brings a number of important considerations, and several variables, all of which must be controlled as best as possible to ensure peace of mind.

When an individual’s areas of responsibility span several regions, branches and employees, keeping track of them all can be difficult at the best of times.

Therefore, being able to forecast and plan forward can ensure the company operates efficiently and profitably, while also minimising the risk of unplanned changes and costs. Where uncertainty exists, it can not only prove a drain on time and money, but also elevate stress levels and cause sleepless nights.

Areas of concern

Cost is the key concern in any business and is a particular focal point for fleet managers, who are under constant pressure to minimise expenditure without compromising the efficiency of the fleet.

Where unexpected costs do arise, the funds may need to be diverted from other areas of the business and have a knock-on effect. Alternatively, the money may simply be unavailable, leading to an even bigger question around how it will be obtained.

This expenditure can cover several areas, but the purchase and maintenance of vehicles is chief among them, with the need for vans that are capable of doing the job sitting alongside the need for them to be kept on the road and in good order at all times.

When vehicles may be needed in a certain location at short notice it is important that a business has a fleet strategy that allows them to react. It is also important for businesses to have a fleet that is up to the job and can not only be on site on time, but can do so day-in, day-out.

Unsurprisingly, the sheer amount of usage that commercial vehicles undergo and their miles on the road can take its toll, and so having a fully functioning fleet in a good state of repair is at the forefront of fleet managers’ minds.

To keep them in the best possible order, vehicles must be regularly serviced and maintained, with repairs being carried out immediately, but this brings with it a number of conundrums for fleet managers; how long will the vehicle be off the road; how much will it cost to repair; how do I eliminate impact on customers; how long until the next van needs servicing?

Legislation compliance is another key area of consideration; as this ties directly into company reputation, it is essential that all vehicles adhere to the law at all times, which extends to livery, specialist equipment and safety features.

This can not only be expensive to add to vehicles, but also difficult to keep track of due to the changing nature of legislation and the need to educate drivers and operators about their responsibilities.

Of course, the biggest expenditure of all is associated with buying the vehicles, which can extend to tens of thousands of pounds per van; something magnified significantly when a fleet is spread across multiple sites and locations.

However, cost concerns are not limited to vehicles; they also extend to staff themselves, who each have varying requirements to enable them to carry out their job effectively.

Managing a fleet not only means ensuring the right vehicles are in the right place at the right time, but that the staff driving them are able to carry out their job with minimal disruption and can rely on the vehicles they use.

A vehicle that is in a state of disrepair, unattractive or not quite suitable for the job can cause significant disruption and dissatisfaction among staff, which has a knock-on effect on customer satisfaction and can cause further sleepless nights for fleet managers.

This was experienced by one of our customers, A.L. King Roofing, which switched to flexible vehicle hire with Northgate and saw staff and customer perceptions and the company image change overnight.

The cure

With so many considerations and variables at play, having an all-inclusive solution can help to minimise costs, downtime, disruption and lost sleep.

At Northgate, the worry of carrying out service, maintenance and repair is eliminated, with work able to be carried out at a nationwide network of wholly owned and warranty approved workshops.

With SMR taken care of, the costs associated with vehicle ownership are reduced, and time and resources can be dedicated to other areas of the business.

Not only can this ensure that a fleet is operating as close to full utilisation as possible, but it also reduces the amount of stress and dissatisfaction among staff, who know they can rely on their vehicles and not have to contend with many of the problems associated with old vehicles.

For fleet managers, this can be a major stress release and help them to sleep better at night knowing that their vehicles are reliable and able to consistently meet customer demands.

Contact us to find out about flexible and long-term van rental and leasing today.

Why use specialist vehicles?

Northgate Welfare van

For many businesses, a new contract win can bring with it a number of requirements, including how to increase the resources necessary to maintain service levels and complete the job.

In several cases, this includes vehicles. Quite often, in industries such as construction, infrastructure and utilities, a basic van is not enough to carry out the job. Many would struggle to operate without the addition of specialist equipment such towbars, racking and even high-visibility chapter 8 livery; the cost of adding could be significant.

Specialist vehicles are integral to many industries in order to meet both project and compliance requirements, which means it is essential that suppliers and the equipment they provide are both reliable and of the highest quality.

Industry requirements

Generally, infrastructure and utilities businesses have a common requirement for specialist vehicles as they help to satisfy unique user and project requirements and conform to legislation.

Some common requests include beacons, chevrons, tow bars and high-visibility chapter 8 markings on vehicles, which have a specific impact on safety and visibility and are intrinsic to many infrastructure projects involving road or rail works.

Whereas historically, project and fleet managers would be required to enhance existing vehicles by adding the necessary equipment, this can be avoided by utilising vehicles that are ready for immediate use.

For example, Northgate’s Utility Dropside vehicle has a range of specialist features to help meet the contractual and legislative requirements of major construction projects. This ranges from Chapter 8 approved beacons, rear board and diamond grade full-length side stripes, to a reverse colour mirror monitor camera kit, fall arrest system, and first aid kit with fire extinguisher.

Alternatively, vehicles such as the Welfare Van can help to provide a mobile staffroom, with a wealth of amenities that can help to transport staff to and from a job in comfort and provide an on-site base.

When workers are needed on-site quickly, access to a ready-built Welfare Van removes a lengthy conversion wait time, not to mention high conversion costs. With features including a microwave, sink, water boiler, diesel heater and toilet, a transient workforce has access to a fully-equipped staffroom with minimal disruption. Additional features include a rear step combi with towbar, reverse parking sensors, Chapter 8 livery, LED light bar and a range of safety equipment, all of which supports duty of care and compliance by keeping workers safe on site.

Prepared for the unexpected

A common business headache is not having full visibility over what work will need to be done in three or four months’ time; sometimes there can only be one or two weeks’ notice before a project starts. In these circumstances, if a specialist vehicle is required, being able to access one before the launch of the project can be the difference between winning or losing the work, and a quick turnaround and good accessibility is therefore essential.

Time is often of the essence with such projects; customers working on a motorway site may require a quick turnaround for a vehicle built to comply with strict safety legislation at short notice due to a new contract win or an additional task being added to a project.

Purchasing a new vehicle with all of the additional equipment or livery required is likely not achievable within such a short timeframe. Ensuring the vehicle meets legislative requirements – particularly if work is being carried out in a high-risk area where strict codes are in place – and guaranteeing safety and conformity with the law can also be time consuming and an additional hassle for a business looking to add to their fleet.

Northgate removes this hassle and constraint with strategic positioning of specialist vehicles around the UK meaning that project or fleet managers can call on the right vehicle with the right specification in a shorter period of time than if the vehicle was being purchased from a dealer or manufacturer.

From a commercial perspective, this removes a significant amount of capital outlay, which would be required if the vehicle in question was owned. It eliminates the problem of depreciation and the hassle of end of life disposal, which is another major consequence of owning a vehicle. And in between, the whole life cost of servicing maintenance and repair is managed by Northgate giving the company peace of mind and control of costs.

Businesses that historically purchase their vehicles are often faced with financial and operational challenges when they need to upscale their fleet to meet the requirements of certain projects, which is certainly not sustainable or cost-effective in the long run, when the cost of carrying out the augmentations is factored against the value of the work itself.

Daily Hire companies would not support vehicle requirements for specialist equipment, while contract hire can often involve a three- to four-year agreement that provides questionable value when additions and upgrades are only required for a small proportion of that time.

With long-term, flexible vehicle rental, the opposite applies, with customers able to take the vehicles they need to help meet project and legislative requirements, and upscale where necessary, with no need for substantial outlay.

Combined approach

Ultimately, every company is concerned about its bottom line, regardless of its size. The bigger the company is, the more vehicles it generally needs, and so the cost is multiplied.

At the other end of the spectrum, a small business will be keeping close tabs on any and all outlay, so opportunities to minimise this must be taken advantage of.

Time is money in business, and if it is possible to eliminate the need for the procurement team to spend time and money arranging vehicle upgrades, then a company will take advantage of that opportunity.

In an ideal world, organisations would not need to turn down valuable work; having the option to access bespoke vehicles needed to carry out this work, at short notice, from a convenient location, without significant outlay, helps to provide this solution comprehensively.

Northgate offers a range of specialist vehicles, located strategically across the UK on a mix of flexible and fixed contract lengths. For more information, contact us.

The trouble with old vans: It’s a big failure

Issue #4

The average age of vans on UK roads is over seven years and as you probably know, when it comes to vans things definitely don’t improve with age!


Almost every motorist will be aware of the dread that comes with waiting for an MOT result. With everything from the engine to the windscreen wipers being tested, it is a process that can flag up damage and necessary repairs extending into the hundreds and even thousands of pounds.

With older vehicles in particular, the likelihood of one or more things going wrong gets greater with every passing year, and as the model falls out of production and parts become harder to come by, the cost of replacing it can soon spiral out of control.

Affects any and all

Of course, it is not only older vehicles that can fail their MOTs, as many van owners will be aware – the DVSA estimates that 50 per cent of all LCVs will fail their first MOT, as wear and tear immediately takes its toll.

For van drivers and their businesses, the implications of a failed MOT can be significant and are not limited to the cost of repairing the vehicle.

Those initial costs are certainly burdensome, and can range from correcting electrical problems to replacing entire parts of the vehicle, and this alone can leave a major hole in finances.

However, other factors also need to be taken into account, such as the loss of revenue caused by vehicle downtime while the van itself is being repaired.

For organisations that rely on being on the road, and for which their van is effectively their mobile workplace, having it out of action can prevent them from doing any kind of work and result in significant loss of revenue.

Unexpected costs

Even for larger business that may have a fleet of owned vans, it is rare for a fund to be set aside purely for fixing commercial vehicles, which means things such as tyre replacements, MOT repairs, breakdowns and even replacement vehicles can be a time and cost sink.

On top of this is the possibility of damage caused by an accident and the associated financial outlay, which can sometimes result in money being syphoned from other parts of the business to cover the cost.

Northgate’s range of vehicles eliminates the chances of customers experiencing these circumstances, as service, maintenance and repair (SMR) is provided as standard.

The average vehicle in the Northgate fleet has an age of just 22 months and so the chance of breakdowns is rare, yet customers receive a comprehensive SMR package that reduces vehicle and business downtime and helps to provides ongoing peace of mind.

Replacement vehicles are also provided when any SMR lasts longer than two hours, which means downtime is minimised and customers do not need to lose out on any working hours.

Every business will be aware of the cost of ownership when it comes to vehicles and any other technology – something that vehicle hire can help to eliminate by removing uncertainty from the process.

This removal of unexpected costs can have tangible business benefits, not only helping to save money, but also providing peace of mind that no additional outlay will be required to keep the fleet on the road and ensure customer expectations are met.

Contact us to find out about flexible and long-term van rental and leasing today.

The trouble with old vans: The wrong van for the job

Issue #3

The average age of vans on UK roads is over seven years and as you probably know, when it comes to vans things definitely don’t improve with age!


Having the wrong tools for the job is something that every worker fears, and this is not only limited to what you can carry in your hands.

For many businesses and employees, vehicles are just as integral to a job as the tools that fit in the back of them, and having one that is suitable to the situation is essential if the job is to be completed correctly.

The importance of business agility cannot be understated as it is essentially the difference between being able to carry out a task and keep all interested parties and stakeholders satisfied, and not being able to live up to expectations.

In an ever-evolving business marketplace, it is more vital than ever to be able to fluidly move between projects, and between elements of a single project, and having the right equipment to do this can make things substantially easier.


One key problem for many organisations is being able to anticipate an influx of new business or having the ability to adapt to changing situations.

Adaptability is at the forefront of any business’ intentions, as it provides the freedom to be able to say yes and know that promises can be fulfilled. From a customer service perspective, it also adds weight to any organisation’s claims that it will deliver.

This extends to the use of vehicles for the job; any business will be aware that certain jobs have specific requirements that necessitate the use of certain vehicles, and to this end having immediate access to these vehicles at short notice can not only help to meet the specific requirements of the project, but also conform with any regulations.

Saving time

In many cases, time is often of the essence; a quick turnaround can be required where work is being undertaken in a high-risk area or where a project needs to be completed within a specific timeframe, and in these cases having the wrong van for the job can be catastrophic.

Furthermore, investing in a new vehicle with the equipment or livery required to conform with legislative requirements in a short timeframe can be difficult or even impossible when the cost and time required are taken into account.

At Northgate, vehicles are strategically positioned around the UK so that whenever and wherever specific vehicles are required, fleet managers can be sure of gaining access to the right one inside the required timeframe.

Saving money

For the business, this removes the capital outlay that would be needed if the vehicle was purchased outright, but just as importantly it ensures that the right vehicle for the job is being used and that it can be located in the right place, at the right time.

The risk of breaking any rules or legislation is also eliminated, as the right van is being used; this can be of particular benefit when a significant amount of equipment needs to be transported, as payload restrictions can cause a headache.

Figures from the RAC Foundation show that 89 per cent of LCVs pulled over by the DVSA in 2014 were overweight, which resulted in fines, confiscations and other legal costs.

Not only can this have a financial impact on a business through paying the penalties, but the downtime can result in lost business and an impact on customer perception.

On the other end of the spectrum, having a level of flexibility to change the vehicle can also help to avoid having a vehicle that is unsuitable simply because it is too large for the job – something  that 39 per cent of vehicles have fallen victim to, according to the RAC Foundation.

Running a smaller vehicle can help to provide increased fuel efficiency, which again provides a cost saving.

Having the wrong van for the job can be a major headache and drain on both time and money -something that can be avoided by having the flexibility to change the vehicle according to specific business requirements.

The result is the ability to do the job and keep customers happy, and the peace of mind from knowing that expectations will be met.

Northgate offers a range of specialist vehicles, located strategically across the UK. For more information, contact us.