UK businesses are collectively losing £2.4billion per year due to vans not being operational, according to research by rental firm Northgate.

It found that operators estimate each of their vans spends on average four days a year in the garage, at a cost in terms of lost work of £800 per day.

In addition, 36% have had to rent vans on a short term basis in the past year to cover for downtime, pushing the cost even higher, while 47% claim to incur fines or penalties when their vans are off the road for a week due to missing agreed job completion times.

There’s also a reputational risk, with 63% of operators saying they would struggle to uphold promises to customers if their vans were out of service for a week.

Northgate fleet director Tim Bailey said: “Minimising time off the road could have a positive effect on the individual fleets as well as the UK’s economy.

“As we see the economic importance of vans grow, it is crucial that businesses understand the implications that van downtime can have on drivers’ productivity and on the fleet budget.

“Whether it’s caused by mechanical problems, incident damage or scheduled maintenance, van operators need to be prepared for downtime scenarios before they become too costly for the business.

“Our survey has confirmed that businesses who rent their vans, rather than own or lease them, find that breakdown management, maintenance and servicing is a much more streamlined process, with minimal disruption to the business’s operations.”