Buy, Rent, or Lease a Wheelchair Van?

Posted On: 05/06/2021

Which Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Option is Right for You? Buy, Lease, or Rent?

When researching wheelchair accessible vehicles, the starting point often is “should I buy, lease or rent?”  To help answer this, consider how long term you will need the wheelchair accessible vehicle. Understanding this can save you thousands of dollars and will determine which of these three options is best for you.  BLVD has over 50 years of combined experience in wheelchair accessible vans, trucks and SUVs and we are sharing information to help you understand the marketplace, and allow you to make the best decision for which wheelchair accessible option would be best for you!  

Buying Wheelchair Accessible Van, SUV, TRUCK

Purchasing a wheelchair accessible vehicle is a big investment.  When shopping on BLVD.com you will see the terms NEW/NEW, USED/NEW and USED/USED.  What does this mean?  Typical layout for this means (Chassis/Conversion) referring to the vehicle condition on the left and wheelchair conversion on the right.  These three categories can be separated by over $50,000 depending on which configuration is outlined.   

Typical price ranges can look like this:  

  • NEW/NEW: $45,000-$80,000
  • USED/NEW: $30,000-$50,000
  • Quality USED/USED: $20,000-$30,000  

Breaking Down the Cost Differences of Chassis/Conversion

Variations of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles As with the typical automobile purchase you will see the NEW/NEW being the most expensive to purchase and will see the greatest loss of value in the first three years over any option.  These vehicles however will have the most current safety features and will offer the greatest in reliability and peace of mind with full warranties.  Family's or individuals more certain of what the future holds may view buying a NEW/NEW wheelchair accessible van as the best long-term solution.  Ask yourself, "Will we have the need for this wheelchair accessible vehicle for more than three years?”? If you answer this YES, next you should decide what is the best price point to fit your financial budget and begin the buying process of your NEW/NEW wheelchair accessible van, truck, or SUV.  

If you have frequent doctor appointments or visit friends and family using transportation companies, you already know this can get expensive quickly.  In some cases, we have heard from customers who have been charged over $200 to go five miles and back for a single trip. Due to high demand and not many companies providing mobility transportation, the costs can add up. In many cases you can cover the cost of owning your own wheelchair accessible van, truck, or SUV if you need five or more rides in a month.  

Benefits of Buying a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

  • More options available allowing for you to buy the right vehicle for you.
  • You have the freedom to go where you want to go when you want to go.  No mileage limits will limit how far you can go.
  • When you buy a wheelchair accessible vehicle you will get money back when you sell or no longer need it. If you decide to trade your vehicle in, you can get the trade in credit applied to your next vehicle reducing your sales tax base in many states.
  • There is a variety of financing options available, allowing you the greatest flexibility and stability in your monthly payment.   

Renting Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

If you need to rent a wheelchair accessible vehicle, you will discover most options available will include a wheelchair accessible van.  Vans have the greatest capability and tend to meet the needs of almost any wheelchair user needing to rent a wheelchair accessible vehicle.  Wheelchair accessible van rentals typically can be reserved daily, weekly, or monthly. 

  • Daily average rates average around $150+
  • Weekend average rates average around $250+
  • Weekly average rates average around $750+
  • Monthly average rates average around $2,500+  

Disclaimer:  The rental prices listed above are simply a best guess based on average prices seen in the industry, prices can vary greatly depending on location and season. For the most accurate prices please reach out to the local mobility dealer in your desired rental area.   

Benefits of Renting a Wheelchair Accessible Van

  • Wheelchair van rentals are a great solution when needing accessible transportation for short time periods.
  • It offers up the flexibility of being on your schedule and not a scheduled driver picking you up.
  • It is an affordable option when you need to get to an event, family gatherings, doctor visits, etc.  

Leasing Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

If you need a wheelchair accessible vehicle for longer than a rental period and want to offset a larger down payment, leasing a wheelchair accessible vehicle may be the best option for you. Leasing options provide a low monthly payment and smaller down payment (in some cases only $3,000-$6,000). It is important to note that you will still have to pay state fees and the first month's payment will be due at delivery.  If you are not able to put as much money down, you can work with most lenders on lowering the down payment required but know that this would raise the monthly payment more than the advertised lease payment. Most lease terms start at 36 months with additional terms available.  Miles allowance per year can be low at 7,500 miles per year with $.30 a mile over the allowance.  Example of this would be at a 36 month lease you would have 7,500 miles per year with total miles allowed being 22,500 miles.  Each mile over that would cost $.30 plus damage or wear and tear on items also assessed when the lease is returned. Depending on your needs, leasing wheelchair accessible vehicles can be expensive and many times will cost more than having purchased the vehicle.   

Benefits of Leasing a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

  • No unexpected service repairs as the vehicle and conversion will be under warranty while you have the vehicle.
  • Being that you would be replacing the leased vehicle every three years you would also have the latest safety features.
  • Smaller down payments are required.

Important Considerations Between Buying and Leasing a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle 

Buying or leasing a wheelchair accessible vehicle has the same base principles as the traditional automotive industry.  The lease cost is determined by the cost of the vehicle and conversion as a purchase price.  The lease company needs to determine what the vehicle's value would be when the lease ends to determine the amount of depreciation.  The variables on the years on the lease and miles allowed during the lease is factored in to determining the residual value.  Because the new vehicle has the greatest deprecation in the first three years you will see either a lower monthly payment with a higher dollar amount due at signing or a higher monthly payment and less down at signing.    

It is especially important you completely understand the terms of the lease agreement before signing.  It is always better to know the fine details upfront and not discover them at the end when it can be expensive to return the vehicle.      

Author Information

Katie Cummings
Mobility Blogger

My professional background stems from non-profit marketing and fundraising for a large children’s cancer hospital. Every day I was able to make connections and relationships for kids and their families going through devastating times. From securing small donations to large corporate support, it was all about providing hope that one day doctors and researchers would find a cure. It was truly an honor to be a part of something so important.

Just this past year, I came to work alongside my family for BLVD.com, a website dedicated to offering the latest information and resources for people needing mobility products. This was a dream come true for me as I have always wanted to combine more time with my family while still helping others. Our family has been in the mobility industry for over 35 years with the goal of enhancing the quality of life for people with mobility issues. This is the spirit behind BLVD and what I am most excited about sharing in my blog.

I love meeting new people and have found that volunteering is the best way to learn more about others and myself. Coffee keeps me going as do walks my pup "Kirby" and most of all being with family and friends. I invite you to check out my blog to learn more about how "together we can move through life better!"

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