I travelled up to Neath near Swansea, Wales, at the end of the week to meet van leasing supremo Rod Lloyd.
I like Rod. He’s a generous-hearted person and treats the 41 staff – the nerve centre of the Low Cost Vans operation – well.
He’s also responsible for shifting a huge amount of vans each year – and has ambitious plans to do even more next year.
So far panel vans are the top-sellers, the Vauxhall Vivaro, Renault Trafic and Nissan Primastar heading up the list.
“I reckon we’re a good barometer of the UK economy,” Rod told me over lunch. “Having been big buyers early in the year, the construction industry has scaled right back. I think concerns over the Eurozone economy are making themselves felt in large scale construction.
“In other areas, such as the small trades, we continue to see healthy sales.”
Interestingly, Rod says that the majority of his van sales are on contract hire rather than finance lease – which can sometimes be an issue because the condition of the van must meet fair wear and standards if it’s on contract hire.
“It’s important to advise customers on the right product for them. ‘Dirty trades’ such as builders and plasterers should always go for finance lease. But other trades may be better off with contract hire where the condition of the van is unlikely to be an issue.
“Anyway, we always contact our customers six months before the contract is about to end and advise them on what the expected condition of the van should be.
“With finance lease customers we start talking to them early about their balloon payment and the further options open to them at the end of the lease period.”
It’s exactly that sort of customer service that trades people need – informed options so they can make the right decisions. No wonder, then, that Low Cost Vans sees so much repeat business.
“With loyal customers coming back for more vans, and selling vans to new customers, you can see why I’m confident we can do even better in 2015,” added Rod.