No matter what you do to earn a living, if it requires tools and some workspace, there is no substitute for a van. In the last two decades, trucks have gotten all the glory and loads of manufacturer support from the dealership to the aftermarket, but if you are in the trades or use a vehicle for a commercial business, vans have long been a user-friendly platform from which to actually get the job done.

At the recent Work Truck Show, we had the chance to see how Ford is transforming the way that commercial business and tradesmen are using the van as a platform for getting the job done and there are some very neat things happening “behind the scenes” with Ford and the Transit series of work vans.

What is really interesting about the success of the Transit series (which have been the best-selling work van for a few years and is now the best-selling van across all categories, including minivans) is that Ford is actively listening to users about how they are deploying the van for their own businesses.

Little things, like moving the backup camera to make it less prone to damage, an optional leather interior, and better lighting, all coupled with economical choices based on engine (a 3.7L Ti-VCT V6 or a 3.2L 5 cylinder turbo diesel), all add up to an imminently useable vehicle that is popular not because it’s trendy but because it does exactly what the men and women who use it in the trades and for a commercial vehicle need it to do – fulfill the needs of their job. For 2018, Ford has added a few more user-friendly bits, including a heavier cargo area flooring and a rear scuff plate kit. They’ve also added longer running boards, an audio input jack onto the radio with Bluetooth interface, and heated seats.

The other big advantage that Ford is building into the Transit series is the dual rear wheel option to boost the GVWR up for users who not only might need to tow, but also are carrying, well, tons of stuff. Let’s face it, if your industry or trade requires you to have a lot of inventory close at hand, that weight adds up and the ability to have a chassis tough enough to handle the extra load is critical.

Now, the real benefit of a van isn’t what it comes with from the factory, it’s what it doesn’t come with. In the cargo area, you have a vast blank space from which to customize exactly what your job requires – shelves and storage for tools, racks and dunnage for deliveries, and at Expertec, we’ve been putting the Transit series through the paces for several years now and are big fans of the platform… anything you can dream of, you can upfit into these units. We’ve done it all, from simple ladder rack installations to fully custom shelving and dividers to give you a full shop right on the jobsite.

There are a lot of things to consider when you get ready to put a new commercial vehicle on the road. There’s the obvious need to have a reliable platform as a base to build from, but just as – or even more importantly – is the support you get from the aftermarket and your ability to configure the vehicle in the exact form you need to be able to get your job done.

One size will never fit all when it comes to outfitting a vehicle that you’ll be working out of that has to serve as a mobile office, a warehouse, and a workshop, but if you’re in the trades or commercial industry and are looking for a new vehicle for your fleet, the Ford Transit coupled with the experience and products that Expertec has been customizing and installing in these vehicles for years might be an excellent combination to consider as you review your options for the 2018 model year.