Van conversions made easy: How to find the best company to build your camper van
Van conversions and why they've become so popular
So, you're interested in van life? Van conversions are a rapidly growing trend that allows people to turn their ordinary vans into fully-equipped and comfortable homes on wheels.
Whether you're a digital nomad looking to hit the road full-time, or a weekend warrior seeking the ultimate adventure vehicle for a minimalistic weekend, a camper van conversion can provide the freedom and flexibility you need to live van life on your own terms and camper van conversion companies can get you there faster and safer so you have more time on the road!
I think it's safe to say that the majority of people don't possess the skills required to complete a full DIY van conversion and that's completely fine. They are a gruelling undertaking. It takes our camper van conversion company anywhere from 2-4 months to complete a build depending on how complex the custom van is.
This is some of our team here at Paved To Pines Adventure Vehicles here in Saskatchewan, Canada having fun with our clients at one of our build hand-offs. We've been building camper van conversions and adventure vehicles for clients across North America since 2017 and have built over forty custom builds.
But before you embark on your van conversion journey, it's important to choose the right company to work with whether it's us or someone else. A professional camper van conversion company can help you navigate the process from start to finish, ensuring that your camper van is not only functional and comfortable but also safe and roadworthy.
In this blog post, we'll give you some tips on how to find the best camper van conversion company for your needs.
Pros & Cons of using a camper van conversion company.
Working with a builder to fulfill your van life dreams has advantages but it's tough to figure out what the best camper van conversion company is for you.
It's vital to know what this decision means. It's an impressive amount of investment and commitment as there are plenty of options available and you're trusting companies that you've likely never met in person. Not only have you potentially never met these people but you're giving them a lot of money and in most cases a brand-new cargo van...
The benefits of choosing a camper van conversion company
Professional installations by licensed or certified builders can perform more complex, high-quality installations that may not be possible for inexperienced DIYers. This has to be the main benefit of choosing a professional camper van conversion company. Knowing that your van will be safe and roadworthy.
Our company, Paved To Pines, has worked with numerous clients on custom conversions who have started their DIY van build and stopped midway because the process was so overwhelming. The difficulty comes with things that you don't 'see' per se. Like installing your wiring, solar panels, electrical systems and your off-grid systems like air heaters, water heaters and showers.
Unless you have extensive experience with carpentry, solar panels and off-grid electrical systems, and plumbing, there's a risk that your conversion could be unsafe. That's why we offer partial builds and install specific components as well as our custom builds and pre-set van conversion packages.
You're paying for the expertise. Although a DIY van build can be a rewarding and satisfying experience, building a custom van conversion is a complex and potentially dangerous undertaking and doing your own build brings on a lot of challenges.
Sourcing Better Campervan Components
By contrast, your chosen camper van conversion company should have the expertise and experience to ensure that their van builds are built to the highest standards. They will also be able to source high-quality components and materials that are designed to withstand the rigours of the road.
While these components may cost more than what you could find at a home improvement store, they will provide better performance and durability in the long run. Despite the higher cost upfront, it can save you lots of headaches, heartache, and additional costs from issues or redoing work.
Help Designing Your Van Conversion
Another benefit of choosing a professional camper van conversion company is that they can help you design and plan your conversion to meet your specific needs and preferences. This is one of the biggest benefits when compared to dealership-bought adventure vans. Mass-manufactured RVs, such as those made by companies like Winnebago, often have a one-size-fits-all approach that doesn't allow for much customization.
With a professional camper van conversion company, you can create a unique and personalized space that reflects your individual style and interests and have their team help you ensure the space is optimized to its full potential.
Of course, hiring a professional camper van conversion company will cost more than doing the work yourself. But when you consider the safety, quality, and customization benefits, the additional cost can be well worth it.
The negatives of choosing a camper van conversion company
Van Conversions are Expensive
The biggest downfall to hiring a custom conversion builder will be the pricing. Since these companies have labour costs, overhead costs, and material costs that come with running the business, your campervan conversion will cost much more than if you were to do it yourself.
Timelines & Location
Secondary considerations to working with conversion companies are timelines and their location. Some companies may have longer wait times for builds and even be located in another country let alone another state or province.
However, it's not uncommon for people to hire conversion companies from out of state. Here at Paved To Pines, we're located smack dab in the middle of Canada and work with clients all over Canada and the United States.
With the internet these days and our team handling the logistics of vehicle procurement and transportation, it's super easy to work with clients all over the map.
Lack of Control & Handing Over The Reigns
Finally, the lack of control over the design and building process can be a downside for some people who were looking to DIY or be more involved in their van builds.
Working with a professional camper van conversion company means you will need to trust them to make decisions about your build, and you may not have the same level of creative control over some of the design decisions.
Despite these downsides, hiring a professional camper van conversion company can be worth it if you are looking for a safe, high-quality build with customizations that reflect your individual style.
The additional cost will come at the expense of some creativity and control over your project, but in the end, you can be sure that your van will be a reliable and comfortable home on wheels. Besides, some companies offer partial conversions, like Paved To Pines and Adventure Wagon.
How to choose the right custom camper van conversion company
With hundreds of custom camper van conversion companies across North America, it's hard to decide who to go with. When it comes to choosing a van conversion company, there are several key factors to consider.
Experience & Reputation
The first is the company's experience with van builds and its reputation. Look for campervan conversion companies that have been in business for several years and have a track record of satisfied customers. You can also check online reviews and ratings to get a sense of how others have experienced the company's services.
We've heard and seen horror stories of people opting to go with a more affordable builder that is 'building their portfolio' and they can't get ahold of them during the build or they show up to a half-complete vehicle and receive no warranty help after their vehicle is complete.
Make sure you vet your conversion companies prior to making any commitment. Even ask for references.
Another factor to consider is the quality of the materials and components used by the company. There are so many things that go into camper van conversions, from roof racks to awnings to wiring, to wood.
As mentioned earlier, high-quality materials are essential for safe and durable van conversion. Look for a company that uses materials from reputable manufacturers and has a proven track record of building strong and reliable conversions.
Level of Customization and Options
Another important factor is the level of customization offered by the company. As we discussed earlier, a professional van conversion company should be able to help you design and plan a conversion that meets your specific needs and preferences.
Look for a company that offers a wide range of options and is willing to work with you to create a unique and personalized space. Not all custom vans are the same.
Some van builders specialize in certain aesthetics, components, and variations of van conversions. When designing your custom build, you'll want to work with someone who fits your van life dream, not only with the look but the functionality.
What Vans Do They Work On?
A small detail that is often overlooked by people looking at conversion companies is that certain van builders only work on specific van models.
Outside Van, for example, only works with Mercedes Sprinter vans.
Boho Camper vans van specialties are on the Ram Promasters.
But for companies like Overland Van Project, Aspen Custom Vans, Freedom Vans, and Paved To Pines, we, work on most of the popular high roof van models like the Ford Transit, the Ram Promaster, and the Mercedes Sprinter van. Most except older cargo vans like the Ford E Series.
We touched on this earlier it's easy enough to work with a company that's anywhere within North America, especially if you don't already have your van.
But sometimes it's nice to meet the company in person before you fork over your cash. If that isn't possible, make sure to get on a video call with their team and get a tour of their shop.
Finally, consider the cost of the van conversion companies' services. While price should not be the only factor in your decision, it's important to choose a company that offers competitive pricing and a clear and transparent breakdown of the costs involved. By comparing prices and services from several companies, you can find the best value for your money.
The importance of a thorough camper van consultation
By choosing a short list of reputable and experienced camper van conversion companies, you can ensure that your van will be a safe, comfortable, and reliable home on wheels for years to come.
Create a Van Conversion Company Short-List
Narrow Down Your Selection
Once you have narrowed down your options and selected the best van conversion companies for your own van, the next step is to have a thorough consultation with each one. This is an important opportunity to discuss your needs and preferences in detail and get a sense of how well the company can meet them.
During the consultation, be sure to ask questions and express any concerns you may have. A good van conversion company should be able to answer your questions and provide clear and concise information. They should also be willing to listen to your ideas and suggestions and work with you to create a plan that meets your needs and budget.
Some example questions to ask in your consultation:
- What materials and components do you use in your conversions?
- Can you provide examples of previous conversions you have completed?
- Do you offer any warranties or guarantees on your work?
- What is your process for designing and planning a conversion?
- Can you provide a detailed breakdown of the costs involved in the conversion process?
- Do you specialize in custom van conversions? Or do you work with your own van layouts?
- What vans do you work on? If you want a Ford Transit camper van, you can't work with a company like Outside Van as they only build Mercedes Sprinter conversions.
- How involved can I be in the process?
- What is your lead time like?
- Do you provide the cargo vans or do I need to bring my own van?
By taking the time to have thorough consultations with multiple van conversion companies, you can make an informed decision and choose the best one for your van build.
Why Paved To Pines is the right van conversion company for your custom build.
When it comes to choosing the best van conversion company for your custom build, we believe that our company stands out from the competition.
With years of experience and a passion for building high-quality and unique conversions, we have the expertise and skills to turn your cargo van into the adventure wagon of your dreams.
What makes Paved To Pines special?
- We started building adventure wagons and custom builds for people because we did one for ourselves and fell in love with the concept. We've lived the lifestyle and grew up exploring and camping.
- Our team of expert craftsmen and designers have a wealth of knowledge and experience in custom vans and custom builds.
- Our van specialties are broad, working with all three high roof van types and micro campers. Mercedes Sprinter vans, Ford Transit vans, Ford Transit Connect vans, and Dodge Ram Promaster vans.
- Our use of high-quality materials and components are designed to withstand the rigours of the road.
- Our commitment to providing personalized and attentive service to each and every one of our clients.
- Our competitive pricing and transparent breakdown of costs.
- Our track record of satisfied customers and glowing online reviews.
- We offer fully custom conversions, semi-custom conversions based on our spec van layouts, and partial installs to help with your DIY conversion.
To summarize what you should consider when looking for your own camper van conversion company:
- Go through the pros and cons of working with a van conversion company to see if it's the right choice for you.
- Have thorough consultations with multiple van conversion companies.
- Ask questions and express any concerns you may have during the consultation.
- Create a short list of your favourite camper van companies and get free estimates.
- Remember that Paved To Pines was always number one in your heart and work with us on your van build...
Haha but really, choose what's right for you. It's a big commitment so do your research and trust your gut.
And with that, we conclude this blog post. We hope that you've found it helpful and informative and that it has given you some valuable insights on how to choose the best van conversion company for your needs. Remember, when it comes to van conversion, choosing the right company is just as important as choosing the right van.
If you're ready to embark on the journey to a custom build, we encourage you to contact us for more information. Our team is standing by and ready to help you create the ultimate adventure vehicle that will enable you to live life on your own terms.
You'll likely hear from me, Mitchell, one of the owners of Paved To Pines and my good pal Chester here. We'd love to get you on track to hit the road in your own custom van conversion. All it takes is filling out the form below.
Contact us, it's free: