THE IDEA OF BUILDING AN RV ON THE CHEAP, BY CONVERTING A CARGO VAN HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN ACHIEVABLE FANTASY. SPENDING LONG VACATIONS IN IT OR EVEN LIVING PERMANENTLY IN IT, COULD BE ECONOMICAL AND ADVENTUROUS.
To achieve that goal, you have to sit down and start facing the reality, that a substantial sum of money can be involved. The expenditure goes primarily towards the vehicle and the transformation of the interior.
The major expense involves the purchase of the van. Dependent on your choice of a second-hand or new van, the initial outlay can vary between a few thousand dollars up to $40,000 and more.
El Cheapo: Second-Hand from approx. $5,000
Brand New: $30,000 – $40,000
The options you have with the conversion depend greatly on the type of conversion you are contemplating.
Do you want to do the conversion yourself, but lack much DIY experience, you may choose a basic plan with a bed out of 2×4’s with a few accessories. This may be sufficient for a short trip and can be installed over a few weekends for a few $100’s.
A better configuration for a person with basic DIY abilities is a minimal conversion, with basic facilities that extend your travel capabilities. Including porta potti, sink and cook top. Although the finish can be basic or luxurious, cost could stay below $1,000-$2,000.
|Bare Necessities||Minimal Conversion||All-in-One||Custom Installation|
|2×4’s + bed||bed|
|professionally built conversion van|
The conversion documented on this website strives for an all-in-one approach, still mostly DIY, but with a complete interior and superior finishes and all the amenities to relax in comfort for extended periods.
The last option is a custom installation or professionally made Van Conversion. Good if you don’t have the time or abilities to finish such a project. The finish quality will probably exceed most DIY projects at the cost of choice of materials and layout.
The financial consequences of a conversion is a substantial investment of at least several thousand dollars for the most basic used cargo van and can go as high as $100,000 and more for a showroom model.
Using the converted van also brings some advantages. Financially, savings can add up as hotel or motel bills can run in the thousands of dollars even on a short vacation. Frequent use on extended vacations can pay for your investment in most cases; much depends on how much your are willing to invest and how often the van is used on excursions.
In most cases however, a relatively small investment can go a long way. Some individuals who may already own a cargo van, can make sufficient and elaborate changes to the van with a small budget. For just a few thousand extra, one can add a fridge, professional heater, shower and a full-fledged photovoltaic system, which makes you completely independent.
How much you’ll spend is contingent on your DIY skills and the extend of the conversion. But before deciding to do the cargo van conversion, you’ll have to make sure, that you’ll have your financial matters in order.