Leasing giant Lex Autolease is to ramp-up its commercial vehicle activity by offering a series of pre-prepared vans to businesses operating in the service sector.
Speaking to What Van?, chief executive Tim Porter said the firm had already begun trials of "off-the-shelf" vehicles kitted out with "the sort of racking and shelving and fixtures and fittings that a typical electrician, plumber, construction business might want."
He continued: "It's not terribly complex. It's little drawers and clips and racking and panelling, and all that sort of stuff so they can basically get in a vehicle and it's kitted out for what they need.
"And it's got a ladder rack on the roof and that sort of thing - but it's slightly different for a construction business, a builder, an electrician to say, a plumber.”
The "ready-made" vehicles will be offered as options on Lex's website as and when they become available, so customers will effectively be able to click a button at the point of ordering to specify the vehicle they want.
Porter said businesses would be limited as to exact specs to achieve economies of scale.
"To make it cost-effective from our point of view, we can't have someone wanting one vehicle and ordering it.
"The advantage is if we go to a manufacturer and a van fitter and say 'we want 50 of these' - we will get a better price and we can pass that price on to the customer."
He also planned to scoop up business from van operators who would previously have bought a used vehicle with the new initiative: "Bearing in mind that a lot of SMEs are the typical target market for that sort of vehicle, in many of those cases we will be trying to persuade them to come away from a used vehicle.
"So most of those people will perhaps buy a second-hand van at the moment,” said Porter. "An SME customer might say, 'why would I want to get a new vehicle because I might get a better deal on a used one?'
"So we need to make that attractive and interesting to them and it might just be that doing a bespoke fit, getting a sensible price for them, doing it fully maintained, makes sense."
Trials are already underway and although prices have yet to be confirmed, Porter hinted at a potential cost. "I haven't got an exact figure in my head at the moment, but they'll be £200 a month, that sort of thing.
"Relative to the revenues of even a modest SME that could be quite interesting."