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Thread: Vans again - how old is too old?

  1. #1

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    Default Vans again - how old is too old?

    I've got a van that I bought second hand a few years back and is starting to shows signs of being a bit unreliable and potentially costing me lots of money (bits falling off, odd noises, etc, etc) but it's generally tidy, if in need of a wash and a polish.

    I had been thinking about trading it in/up and then the photobooth guys turned up to my Thursday night wedding in a 2009 Renault that looked tidy and it made me wonder if I'm being overly ambitious. But then, at the end of the night, the security guy referred to me as a "proper DJ" because I turned up in a van made for the job, instead of a throwing my kit into some hatchback (his words, not mine).

    So, I'm curious about perceptions in this group...
    - How much does the age and appearance of your vehicle matter to your customers?
    - At what point would you consider changing up your vehicle? How unreliable would it have to get? How dirty or rusty?
    - How old (or how many miles) would a vehicle have to do before it's too old?

    Of course, the elephant in the room is that vehicle prices have become utterly insane and any talk about upgrading may have to be just that until global supply chains settle down again or I save up a bit.

    Julian
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  2. #2
    Jim - Scotland's Party DJ's Avatar
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    I bung my gear in the back of a hatchback and make more per gig than a week' in my teaching job

    But I digress, if the van is starting to worry you then it's probably time to replace it though I don't envy you buying something just now.

    Clients aren't going to care in the slightest what you rock up in imo.

  3. #3
    Dinosaur Excalibur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Jules View Post
    . But then, at the end of the night, the security guy referred to me as a "proper DJ" because I turned up in a van made for the job, instead of a throwing my kit into some hatchback (his words, not mine).

    So, I'm curious about perceptions in this group...
    - How much does the age and appearance of your vehicle matter to your customers?
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim - Scotland's Party DJ View Post

    Clients aren't going to care in the slightest what you rock up in imo.
    We've had this one before. Jim, I appreciate that you can't argue with success, and I nowadays carry half the kit I did ten or fifteen years ago, but:


    Cobblers!

    Every time I load up the canary yellow, preloved and battle scarred ex AA Transit, I smile at the thought that I don't have to play Tetris with the kit, and I can take spares/backup/options should I wish. Always a second full PA for a start. A colleague hasn't used his subs for many a year, cos they don't go in his car, and his moving heads have never yet been used in anger! Lunacy, in my book.

    Whatever we use, however old and tatty, should be "fit for purpose ". Cars are for carrying people, vans for cargo. MPVs and Crew Cabs are the acceptable crossover. Simples.

    Julian, I'm in the same boat as you, vehicle wise. I'd say that if it's clean, not too rusty, and reliable, that's the baseline.
    Excalibur. Older than the average DJ.

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  4. #4
    Imagine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Excalibur View Post
    We've had this one before. Jim, I appreciate that you can't argue with success, and I nowadays carry half the kit I did ten or fifteen years ago, but:


    Cobblers!

    Every time I load up the canary yellow, preloved and battle scarred ex AA Transit, I smile at the thought that I don't have to play Tetris with the kit, and I can take spares/backup/options should I wish. Always a second full PA for a start. A colleague hasn't used his subs for many a year, cos they don't go in his car, and his moving heads have never yet been used in anger! Lunacy, in my book.

    Whatever we use, however old and tatty, should be "fit for purpose ". Cars are for carrying people, vans for cargo. MPVs and Crew Cabs are the acceptable crossover. Simples.

    Julian, I'm in the same boat as you, vehicle wise. I'd say that if it's clean, not too rusty, and reliable, that's the baseline.
    Mine's 11 years old this year. No two panels are the same shade of white, she rattles a bit but she still does the job (including spare PA etc). My previous van was 20 years old when scrapped due to a rotten chassis

    I was lucky - I got mine three weeks before the lockdowns came in so only paid something like 2.5k for her.

    My storage unit shares the same industrial estate as a used car and van dealership. I had a look the other day at what upgrading to something like a used Transit would be. I'm pretty sure you must have heard the unbelieving scream of "'ow much?!" up in Yorkshire when I saw the 28k price tag! (mind you, cars are blimmin' expensive as well at the moment).

    If I happen to be in the unlucky situation of the van breaking down, I do at least have a Zafira and a box trailer I can use. The only disadvantage to that plan is both the van and the Zafira use diesel which is somewhat of a scarce commodity in this neck of the woods at the moment

  5. #5
    Disco Dude! DeckstarDeluxe's Avatar
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    Lease one.

    Spreads the investment and means you always have a reliable and presentable van.

    Personally I'm more of the what works for you is far more important than what a security guard thinks.
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeckstarDeluxe View Post
    Lease one.

    Spreads the investment and means you always have a reliable and presentable van.

    Personally I'm more of the what works for you is far more important than what a security guard thinks.
    I've never been able to make leasing add up compared to buying outright. What's the secret here? Don't say I just need a bigger budget?
    http://www.bristoldiscohire.co.uk - Quality Disco and Equipment hire for Bristol & Bath
    Weddings, Birthday Parties, Kids Parties, School Disco's and more
    https://julianburr.co.uk - Wedding, Family, Portrait and Product Photography

  7. #7

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    Really tough this... you can buy a van that's 3 years old and it give you nothing but grief... or you can get a 15 year old van that still runs perfectly fine.

    Personally, I'd never lease a van. I always prefer owning my assets. If I dink it, it means I lose a bit of value when I go to sell it - rather than having to fork out to fix it when the lease ends.

    Is it worth taking the current van to a local garage and getting a proper assessment of what work might need doing to it, or if it is at a stage where it needs to go and an upgrade acquired?

  8. #8
    Dinosaur Excalibur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rth_discos View Post

    Is it worth taking the current van to a local garage and getting a proper assessment of what work might need doing to it, or if it is at a stage where it needs to go and an upgrade acquired?
    If we had a cast iron answer to that one, Mystic Gavin, there wouldn't be a problem.

    Wayne, round here it's no problem finding diesel. Now, paying for it..........................................
    Excalibur. Older than the average DJ.

    www.excaliburmobiledisco.co.uk

  9. #9

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    My van is now 12 year old, 113k on the clock, but does look really smart - even if I do say so myself. Valued around 4k ish at the moment.
    Last year I decided it was time for a new one - until I saw the price

    A friend of mine who does venue dressing bought the same model van as mine last year, 2018 plate and it really does look very smart indeed. Had a look round and she says she paid 13k inc vat for it, which I thought was really reasonable. Then the clanger - is had 160k on the clock - 50k MORE than mine.

    I had a budget of 11k plus my van and to be honest nothing really appeals to me that would be any upgrade.

    Leasing - I am trying to convince myself this is the way forward, but having always owned cars taking a bit convincing lol

    Quote Originally Posted by Excalibur View Post

    Whatever we use, however old and tatty, should be "fit for purpose ". Cars are for carrying people, vans for cargo. MPVs and Crew Cabs are the acceptable crossover. Simples.
    Totally agree - I dispair at the time I had to use a car - no matter what people say a van is far easier and more practical - especially at 1am when you can't be bothered playing tetris, and not to mention the safety implecations.

    However my vehicle list is starting to get a little silly, so may need to use the van for more than disco use, especially as I only get 14mpg at best out of one car (yes wrong time to have bought it lol)
    Last edited by Excalibur; 18-04-2022 at 08:42 AM. Reason: Merged posts

  10. #10
    Disco Dude! DeckstarDeluxe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Jules View Post
    I've never been able to make leasing add up compared to buying outright. What's the secret here? Don't say I just need a bigger budget?
    I looked over my accounts and added up what I roughly paid per month for lost of value, repairs etc and it was around 75-80% of what I'm paying now. This is for a LWB high roof van as we do tons of other non DJ stuff. The cost of vans now as well I'd imagine the leasing option would make even more sense.
    The Cheltenham Wedding DJ
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