Commercial vans are the lifeblood of the economy - they allow small and medium-sized businesses a degree of flexibility that would be impossible without them.
The van sector is currently in rude good health: in terms of price, technology, comfort and load-lugging ability things have never been better.
There is huge competition between manufacturers for your van business - small, medium or large - and this means excellent vehicles and good prices.
But the key thing is to identify which type of van you need for your business, whether you be a sole trader or limited company.
Let's go from large to small. At the larger end of the sector are commercial vehicles, often called panel vans.
There are two categories here: the larger is the traditional panel van typified by the all-conquering Ford Transit and imposing vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (although Mercedes also make small and medium-sized vans as well).
As a rule you get a high driving position and a prodigious load area on the back while the larger models are usually offered in a bewildering array of derivatives with short and long-wheelbase, varying payloads and numerous cab or load bed options. Specify the combination that best suits you. Many manufacturers offer large vans, also including Renault, Volkswagen, Citroen, Peugeot and many more.
Next down is the pick-up truck class;these four-wheel-drive load-luggers have experienced a dramatic surge in popularity recently with business users taking a shine to their versatility.
A pick-up can be a rugged workhorse during the week and thoroughbred family transportation on weekends.
Common pick-ups include the Ford Ranger, Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi L200. All have strong load-bearing attributes, are very comfortable and many can be specced with double or single cabs.
The smallest commercial vehicles is the car-derived van sector. As the title suggests, these are vans that share their underpinnings with cars.
There are those that closely resemble their people carrying cousins, with the back seat bench combined with the boot to form the load area, and then there's the more van-like 'hi-cube' versions, with wider, higher load bays.
Examples include the Fiat Doblo Cargo, Ford Transit Connect, Citroen Berlingo, Vauxhall Combo or Volkswagen Caddy. All offer car-style driving positions and handling, with compact dimensions making them ideal for limited-load urban usage. There are also converted cars that have had some changes to make them qualify as small vans, for example the Ford Fiesta Sport van.
So, choice isn't a problem in this market place. Don't, however, be overawed by the levels of choice.
Your local dealer will make short work of explaining the ins and outs of the product ranges while offering comprehensive after-sales back-up. All of which leaves you free to keep on trucking.