If you have a sprinter van (or are considering buying one) and want to learn some great ways to make money with it, you are in the right place.
In this article, I am going to discuss 9 effective strategies that you can use to make money with your sprinter van.
It's important to understand that when you are generating income with your sprinter van, what you're really doing is starting a sprinter van business (even if it seems informal), so I'll also touch briefly on some basic information on how to set up your sprinter van business.
We'll get into all of that later on, but here's a quick preview of the 9 strategies we'll cover (with links, so you can jump ahead if you want). I will also provide specific resources and links to platforms that you can use for each of these strategies, so you can start making money right away.
- Load Boards
- Deliver Food
- Deliver Retail Goods
- Offer Moving Services
- Rent Out Your Sprinter Van
- Deliver Flowers
- E-Commerce Driver For Amazon
- Mobile Billboards
- Sprinter Van Expediting
Before we jump into the 9 strategies, I'll also cover some introductory questions that you may find interesting, such as how much money a sprinter van business makes, how much it costs to start one, and, as promised earlier, how to set up such a business.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and complete a transaction, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only. It is not a recommendation to buy or invest, and it is not financial, investment, legal, or tax advice. You should seek the advice of a qualified professional before making any investment or other decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.
What is a Sprinter Van?
If you're here, you probably already know what a sprinter van is, but in case there is any confusion between a cargo van and a sprinter van, let me provide a quick definition.
A sprinter van is essentially a larger and taller version of a normal van and therefore capable of transporting more freight. Because of its height and size, it is generally possible to stand upright in a sprinter van and even put in a bed that will allow you to sleep in the vehicle. This is why sprinter vans are often used for expediting, which is a type of delivery that we will cover later on.
It's easy to drive (you don't need a commercial driver's license (CDL), easy to park, and, as mentioned, it can fit a fair amount of cargo. It can also be ideal for smaller moving jobs.
How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Sprinter Van?
In general, you can buy a new sprinter van from Mercedes-Benz for around $57,000.
This is for the largest cargo van available, with an extended wheelbase, high roof and maximum payload (over 6,200 pounds). The size and other features of this type of van will allow you to handle the maximum variety loads out there.
Obviously, smaller versions will limit your load choices.
You can also buy sprinter vans from Ram (the Pro Master) and Ford (the Transit). For the Pro Master, you are looking at around $48,000 for the largest version which has a high roof and extended wheelbase. The Transit will cost you less, but there seem to be fewer size options.
Of course, you can save a lot of money by buying used, but you need to be aware that certain companies will only accept vehicles that are 5 years older or less (with some requiring 3 years or less).
If you are not going to be paying in cash, you will need to finance your vehicle. Of course, you should do your due diligence to make sure your monthly costs wind up being reasonable in relation to how much you expect to earn.
Important Tip: Before you buy your sprinter van, make sure you do some research into what types of vans will be acceptable to the companies you will be getting loads from.
You can call them up and indicate that you are about to buy a certain brand and model of sprinter van and ask whether it would be able to handle the types of loads that are typically offered.
Although obtaining your sprinter van is likely going to be your biggest upfront expense, there may be other costs as well. You will also need to spend some money on equipment, accessories, licenses, insurance, marketing, etc.
They will be a modest expense when compared to the cost of acquiring your van, but they can still cost hundreds of dollars or more.
How Much Money Can I Make with a Sprinter Van Business?
A sprinter van business can be profitable. The average owner-operator of a sprinter van business in the U.S. makes around $83,855 per year, according to Ziprecruiter. This translates to around $40/per hour.
Of course, that's an average. As you would expect, there is a wide range of incomes for this business, from as low as $22,000 to as high as $258,000.
And it goes without saying that nothing is guaranteed in business.
The actual amount you make may vary depending on where you operate, how much you charge, how well you manage your expenses, how skilled you are at getting profitable loads, and a host of other factors.
How Do I Set Up My Sprinter Van Business?
If you want to set up your sprinter van business the right way, there are some basic steps you should follow:
- Set Up Your Business Entity. If you want to get some basic liability protection for assets held outside your sprinter van business you may want to consider forming an LLC, Corporation, Etc.
- Pick a Name and Logo For your Sprinter Van Business. Look at Shopify for Name Ideas and Canva to design a logo)
- Create a Basic Website and Get Your Business on Google My Business. Check out these free resources From Google to get started. Basic free business profile website and intro to getting on Google My Business.
- Develop a Simple Business Plan. See the SBA's free guide on how to develop one.
- Pick the Right Load Strategy This is exactly what we'll cover in the next section.
- Get Appropriate Licenses, Permits and Insurance. You'll want to check federal, state, and local laws around the type of sprinter van business you will be running and obtain necessary licenses. You will also want to get appropriate insurance for your sprinter van business to protect against lawsuits from accidents and other liabilities.
Now, I covered the basic stuff here, but if you want a much more detailed explanation of each of these steps, check out my Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Starting a Business.
How To Make Money With A Sprinter Van
1. Load Boards
One of the simplest and most reliable ways to make money with your sprinter van is by going on load boards and finding freight deliveries. There are tons of load boards out there (some charge money and others do not).
The leading load board out there is DAT.
They have the most loads on their network, with over 900,000 loads posted daily. Because of their size and scope, they also have leading edge tech and info, including unlimited searching, instant alarm match notifications, broker credit scores and days to pay, market rates, mileage routing and much more.
I have an affiliate relationship with them and secured a deal where if you use my link, you can get a free 30 day trial with full access to their network and features. So, you get to try out the leading load board for a full month for free. I would note that this deal is only for new subscribers.
If you are interested, just click below to take advantage of this no-risk offer.
2. Deliver Food
Another way to make money with your sprinter van is to deliver food for restaurants, catering companies, and any other type of food company. Of course, Door Dash, Uber Eats, Instacart and many others can provide you a steady flow of food delivery jobs, although using a sprinter van for that purpose may be overkill.
You can even buy a bread route and operate one for a nice profit. What is a bread route? These are routes where you get a dedicated territory from a bread company, like Arnold's or Pepperidge Farm and get a commission for each sale you make to stores in that territory. Depending on how large a route you buy, you can use your sprinter van to make the deliveries.
If you want to learn more about this strategy, check out my article on how to buy a bread route.
3. Deliver Retail Goods
There are plenty of companies, and manufacturers, that need deliveries made all of the time. Whether it's supplies, medical equipment, or appliances, you can certainly fill that need with your sprinter van. Sites like GoShare can connect you to people or businesses that may need these types of deliveries.
4. Deliver Furniture (Or Offer Moving Services)
As I mentioned earlier, you can also offer to move items for companies or individuals. In the industry, it's known as a “Man with a Van.” Whether its helping a person move out of their small apartment, or helping a small office relocate, your sprinter van may be the perfect choice for these types of jobs.
You can get these types of jobs on sites like Taskrabbit, Thumbtack, and similar sites.
5. Rent Out Your Sprinter Van
On slow days, you can even rent out your sprinter van to movers or other companies or individuals who may need it. Not a bad way to make some nice passive income with your sprinter van.
If you want to learn more about how to rent out your sprinter van, check out my full article on the topic here.
6. Deliver Flowers
I used to own a florist, so I understand the need for good delivery drivers.
If you offer a safe and reliable service at a fair price, you can definitely satisfy that need. Start by just calling local florists in your area. The great thing is that sprinter vans have the perfect amount of space to handle even the largest flower delivery orders (which is really important on days like Valentine's day or Mother's Day when the volume of orders is through the roof).
7. E-Commerce Driver
You can take advantage of the booming e-commerce wave by becoming a driver for companies like Amazon. Sprinter vans are perfect for this task. If you want to learn more, check out Amazon Flex. They aren't available in all cities, but there is pretty good coverage nationwide already.
8. Mobile Billboards
A far more passive way to make money with your sprinter van is with mobile billboards. It's a pretty cool strategy and I wrote an entire article on how to get started. Check it out here.
9. Sprinter Van Expediting Business
Sprinter van expediting is when a driver of a sprinter van delivers LTL loads (usually between 1-4 standard pallets) that require urgent or emergency transport. These loads may have longer routes than local deliveries and may span hundreds of miles. A sprinter van expediter is often on the road for extended periods of time and typically sleeps in the back of the van.
One of the significant benefits of expediting is that the money can be pretty good. According to Owner Operator Land, you can make $95,000 per year doing this.
What Types of Loads Can You Deliver with A Sprinter Van?
Due to the size of the vehicle, you will normally be delivering loads that are up to 3,500 pounds in weight and 4 standard pallets in volume.
Sprinter vans do not meet shipping dock height requirements, so you will not qualify for loads that require this at either end of the delivery. Nor do they typically come with liftgates, so you will not be able to handle loads that require them.
Sprinter vans are easier to maneuver than semis and box trucks in urban areas, so are often a preferred option when quick and direct delivery to these locations is desired.
How Do I Become Sprinter Van Expediter?
You can become a sprinter van expediter by (i) obtaining a sprinter van that will meet the right qualifications for expedited loads, (ii) getting the right equipment to handle those loads, (iii) securing appropriate licenses and insurance, and (iii) finding profitable loads.
As mentioned above, you can find expedited loads through load boards like DAT.
So there you have it – 9 great ways to make money with your sprinter van (along with tons of resources and tips to get you started). If you want to explore more great transportation business ideas, check out my complete guide here, which covers over 30+ business ideas in the transportation industry.