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  #1  
Old 02-11-11, 09:07
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t4Chippy t4Chippy is offline
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Default Tips on choosing the right conversion company

Ive seen a fair few of these "so called" conversion companies turning out shody work (no disrespect to the genuine ones) and I thought I try and compile a guide to choosing one.

Now, as I'm not, nor ever will be in the market for having one I thought I'd ask you guys to lay down some tips from the experiance you've had to protect people from making mistakes. I will then collate all this info and put a sticky in both the T4 and T5 conversion sections

Things like, always pay a deposit with a credit card were possible to have some way of retrieving your money should things go wrong. Etc etc.

Let me know what you got peeps


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  #2  
Old 02-11-11, 10:26
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bigcat bigcat is offline
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Default Re: Tips on choosing the right conversion company

Above all, guys. Seriously consider first, whether you may be able to do the work yourself.
Personally I would be screwed when it comes to the electrical side of things...not a friggin clue, although very clear and accurate advice can be found on here, as can advice and help with most other aspects of conversion.
You may even find expert help from local members too, guys who will often be only to happy to do jobs for a little cash or beer and be utterly capable of helping and want to as well.
Some time,a good idea of what you want to achieve, offcuts of panels and carpet perhaps to practice on, maybe buy a few tools which you could sell on afterwards
Taking nothing from the pro outfits, who can do everything you want, but, nothing will beat the self satisfaction of a good job done well by yourself.
In rough terms, expect to pay twice the cost of materials to get something built for you. That difference just may pay for your first fortnight away in your bus, or buy that heater or wheels you didn't think the budget would stretch to.

Or do everything you can, getting those "impossible" jobs done by trusted experts.

Not wishing to chuck a spanner in the works, but you are more capable than ever you imagined.

[COLOR="Red"]It's your friends, come hell or high water.[/COLOR]

Last edited by bigcat; 02-11-11 at 10:29.
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  #3  
Old 02-11-11, 10:30
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t4Chippy t4Chippy is offline
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Default Re: Tips on choosing the right conversion company

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigcat View Post
Not wishing to chuck a spanner in the works, but you are more capable than ever you imagined.
Thats great advice Dave, all part of the research process

Plenty of self builds on here to take inspiration from


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  #4  
Old 02-11-11, 10:47
mintyvan mintyvan is offline
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Default Re: Tips on choosing the right conversion company

if you are thinking of using a conversion company look at several vans they have done when i was looking i saw a nice demo van and a schocker that they had done aswell , if the converters were busy they got extra staff in and i think this was why the conversions vary. in the end i did it myself with loads of help from this forum
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Old 02-11-11, 14:05
TonkaToo TonkaToo is offline
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Default Re: Tips on choosing the right conversion company

I think one of the pitfalls is being swept along and rushed into a layout or using a company without doing enough research.

I've found getting along to Shows, looking inside lots of different vehicles and asking loads of questions has helped lots. Also, spending lots of time researching on here and various links is extremely useful. There is so much to think about and there are so many ways to be tripped up.

Nothing beats seeing conversions in person and being able to take time looking and taking in the detail. Ask for recommendations and then make sure you follow up by doing your own obvious checks. Happy clients that are independent (ie. not best mates or being bunged favours) are by far the best advertisments.

Rely heavily on your intuition too, as in many cases retrospectively you'll hear that someone had a nagging doubt and ignored it. If you're dealt with promptly and professionally chances are you're going to find any problems dealt with in a similarly professional way. Let's face it things can and do go wrong, but if dealt with properly they can be resolved to everyone's satisfaction.

Ask questions and more questions until you're happy - it's your hard earned money and and if it annoys someone then they clearly don't appreciate your custom enough so take it somewhere else!

Last edited by t4Chippy; 02-11-11 at 14:19. Reason: Excellent, apart from the swear word ;-)
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  #6  
Old 02-11-11, 22:04
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ed-j ed-j is offline
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Default Re: Tips on choosing the right conversion company

I think its absolutely essential to see actual vans that the company has converted, not just relying on a few photos on a website or an advert. Its very easy for a photograph to misrepresent the quality of work using good lighting or even just bad photography. Seeing with your own eyes and having a good look at the insides of cupboards, under seats, electrical work etc can soon reveal whether or not they do a decent job.

Once your happy with the company, then get a schedule of work confirmed - it always amazes me when we get contacted to finish off a job that hasnt been fully completed. We recently had a chap call in to 'finish off a few things'. He paid nearly 4000 for a conversion which on the face of it sounds really cheap. However, the units are quite poor (faced chipboard and a bit poorly finished). The cooker was not connected to a gas pipe as the converter didnt feel qualified....however he didnt construct a cupboard or locker to even locate the gas bottle in, neither did he provide a gas drop out. The water and waste pipes were just dangling under the sink. The rock n roll bed was very poor quality and was frame only. The van was already lined and floored. The conversion included 2 windows (one of which was already leaking) and no curtains were fitted.
The conversion was supposed to inlcude the fitting of 2 supplied seats on swivels, but the brackets made to adapt them were too high, and only some of the bolts were fitted.

There are probably other faults, but this is from memory from a 20 minute look at the van.........If you had seen this van for 10 mins you would not even consider going near this company.....I can imagine what made the customer go there (and it wasnt local either).

At the end of the day, you could be spending a considerable amount of money, and you really dont want a van full of problems to sort out. Dont be afraid to ask for references from previous customers, and spend as much time looking as you need to.
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  #7  
Old 02-11-11, 22:24
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t4Chippy t4Chippy is offline
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Default Re: Tips on choosing the right conversion company

What's the normal payment terms Ed??

Deposit and stage payments er summut


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  #8  
Old 02-11-11, 22:47
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ed-j ed-j is offline
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Default Re: Tips on choosing the right conversion company

Quote:
Originally Posted by t4Chippy View Post
What's the normal payment terms Ed??

Deposit and stage payments er summut

This probably depends largely on the comany you are dealing with and the size of job.

Typically for a small job, say lining, windows, floor 1500 ish, we personally would probably not ask for a deposit, and wait for payment at the end

For full conversions we usually ask for a booking deposit to reserve a time slot (we like to keep this to under 500).

If the conversion involves a colour coded roof then we ask for this type of item to be paid for when we take delivery (which is likely to be a few weeks in advance of the conversion).

We like the conversion to be paid for in stages during construction - just to help cash flow, but as long as its paid for before its collected its fine. We expect the customer to want to make sure the conversion is as they expected it and so its not unusual for them to want to not pay the last 10% until they collect it. This can be a bit awkward as we dont have a card machine and customers dont like a pocket full of notes....in reality, by this stage we have a good relationship with the customer and usually take a cheque on collection.

I dare say many other companies will operate in different ways - unfortunately most in the industry are small 2-4 man businesses, and cash flow can definitely be an issue. For us, a full conversion can take 4 weeks if it involves all the trimmings, and interim payments certainly help.....that said, we do provide updates on our website every few days so the customer can keep informed as to progress. We do it this way as we know from reading horror stories about people being without their vehicle for weeks / months without knowing what has been done.
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  #9  
Old 02-11-11, 22:56
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t4Chippy t4Chippy is offline
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Default Re: Tips on choosing the right conversion company

You're one of the good ones Ed, thanks for that


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  #10  
Old 02-11-11, 22:59
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WickedVanz WickedVanz is offline
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Default Re: Tips on choosing the right conversion company

One of my customers introduced me to google documents, found it invaluable from the estimate through quoting and during the conversion. Dialogue is easy to keep and everything is in black and white, no relying on verbal communications which can get forgotten and misconstrued- both ways.


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