Hitting the Road: Buying a van

kid holding toy busBooster clubs can make a number of significant contributions to athletic and extracurricular programs — between uniforms and facility renovations, the needs of student are many, and in many cases the responsibility has fallen on booster clubs to meet them. But all the new supplies in the world won’t do a team any good if they can’t get to their games. In South Dakota, the Sturgis school district booster club “Saw a need and they acted,” contributing $42,000 to the purchase of a new 15-passenger van for the district’s transportation fleet, while a Washington booster club donated $15,000 toward the purchase of a passenger van to transport students to and from events.

Booster clubs might also run across the need for a passenger or cargo van for club purposes. Transporting volunteers and equipment to and from fundraisers can be a hassle, especially for whoever’s driving the carpool. Renting vans and chartering buses can be expensive, and adding a passenger or cargo van to your club’s resources could mean a huge amount of savings in the long run.

Considering investing in a van? Manufacturer’s suggested retail prices are generally between $26,000 and $36,000. It’s a significant investment, but if you’re buying to transport students, a reliable vehicle is a must. If you’re buying used, a number of used car dealers suggest shopping around. “You can get a great deal on a pretty well-maintained van if you do your homework,” said one California used car salesman. “If you want something that runs well and will continue to do so, expect to pay somewhere around $15,000.” Prices for a used van vary between $5,000 and $25,000, and like any used car purchase, you’ll pay more for a newer vehicle.

Commercialtrucktrader.com and Cargurus.com are great places to start looking for your new van. As with all car purchases, make sure you understand any and all safety concerns, and find out if your state requires special licensing.

Transportation can be a huge hassle for everyone involved in extracurriculars, from student athletes to the volunteers who support them. A van is a big investment, but it could mean big savings in money, time, and effort for your club.

Some questions to consider before you buy:

1. Who owns it?

2. Who maintains it?

3. Who pays for gas?

4. Who drives it?

5. Who pays for insurance?

6. Do you need a special license to drive it? In some states you’ll need a commercial driver’s license. Check out local regulations before you get behind the wheel.

6. Can I tow equipment? You should check with the specific safety guidelines for your vehicle, but many passenger van safety guides discourage towing trailers, especially while carrying passengers.

7. Is this the safest vehicle for our needs? Many organizations advocate for 10-passenger vans over 15-passenger vehicles.

8. How will scheduling work/who gets preference for its use?

9. Does it need any special modifications for school use?

10. Do you need permission from school board?

11. Where will the van be parked when not in use?


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