buying van vs conversion

How to choose the right campervan conversion company: 17 tips

Deciding to convert a van into a campervan is an exciting time! There are so many benefits to converting a van, including exercising your freedom, meeting like-minded campers along the way and having a vehicle that suits your lifestyle.

But picking a converter isn’t a decision you should take lightly; you need to ensure you get a converter that can deliver the van of your dreams.

Fortunately, we have plenty of experience converting vans over the years, so we’re in a pretty good place to advise you what to look for. Here are our top tips for picking a campervan converter:


1. Check their reviews

When browsing for a converter, we stress that you always check their reviews. There’s nothing more concrete than customer reviews. After all, you’re hearing from people who have used the service.

Try to read between the lines and have legitimacy in mind. If a company’s last review was four years ago that would ring alarm bells. Likewise, having ten five-star reviews with no written feedback or images would raise suspicion. You’ll usually be able to tell who’s legitimate and who isn’t.


2. Look at their previous work

Any campervan converter worth considering will have a portfolio of work you can look at to get an idea of how well-presented their conversions are. You can usually find it on their website, but if they don’t have a site, you can have a look on their social media or Quirky Converters page. We have a gallery with some of our latest conversions.


3. Visit their social media pages

While you probably won’t find anything significant on a company’s social media page, it’s good to know they’re active. It at least shows you that they’re a legitimate business, and you can usually see reviews on Facebook pages, as well as any work they’ve done or content they like to post. See what the company has been posting recently and get to know the brand.


4. Are they Quirky registered?

Another way to check whether a converter is legitimate is to check the Quirky Campers converters directory. The converters directory shows companies that either have a listing on the site or are Quirky-approved.

Being Quirky Approved is a paid service, so you can be certain that these converters are trustworthy and legitimate. You’ll also find details about the price and be able to view the converter’s work. You can view our Quirky Converters page to find out more.


5. Understand what you want from the build

Before you commission any van build, you need to know what you want to achieve. You don’t necessarily have to know exactly what you want when you reach out to a converter as they can help you decide.

But you need to know before they start to do any work on your van. If you and your converter aren’t clear, then you could end up with something you don’t want, and an unwanted bill on top. It’s best to get everything in writing and signed off, then nobody is going to end up disappointed.


6. Check if their service offering matches what you want

All converters aren’t the same. Each converter will have a particular set of skills that makes their vans unique. Whether that’s experience in a particular field like design, or a diverse set of packages.

For example, our Bhode One and Bhode Two builds give you the option to keep costs down as we standardise the parts while giving you creative freedom with styling and finishes. Contrast that to our bespoke builds, that give you complete creative control.

Some converters specialise in certain tasks, like pop-top roofs or working with specific vans like the Volkswagen T3. Check that what you want matches up with their service offering, so you can get the best converter for your project.


7. Look for prices in advance

If you don’t have a budget in mind, we’d advise you to do your best to get a figure. Even if money isn’t a problem for you, it’s still good to have an idea. The last thing you want is to get a proposal that doesn’t match the price you want to pay.

Once you have a budget in mind, you can start to look for a converter that can work with it. It’s always better if a converter can give a ballpark figure, so keep an eye out. It can be difficult for converters to give a price if your project is bespoke, so consider the complexity of your project.

Blog: How much does it cost to convert a campervan?


8. Ask them how they communicate

A good converter will be open to using your style of communication. Some people are happy with a few photos every now and again, while other people prefer email updates or weekly phone calls.

Either way, communication should be a priority for your converter, and if they try to dodge questions about communication, that’s a bad sign. You could even ask for some examples of how they communicate, a trustworthy converter will be happy to oblige.


9. Get a clear idea of the process

Getting a solid understanding of the process is one of the key considerations when undertaking a van conversion. If you don’t know what’s happening over the duration of the conversion, you’re going to end up confused and stressed. A converter having a good line of communication will help to alleviate the stress, but you still need to know what the process is before the build.

This will involve things like the timeline, duration of the build, any input needed from you, communication frequency, deposits, paperwork, guarantees and warranties, and final bills. Anything you feel you need to know that will happen over the course of your build. A good converter will be able to explain the process with ease.


10. Evaluate their qualifications and experience

The more qualifications, the better! Our key considerations would be anything to do with gas and electricity, as any problems with them could cause serious damage to you and your van. But you can also look out for other skills like plumbing, joinery or mechanics.

Pay attention to what they did in their previous job as well. For example, someone who’s worked in the creative industry as a designer will probably have a flair for the interior design of your van.


11. Ask yourself if location matters

While it’s more convenient to have a converter that’s close to where you live, it’s not always the best option. If you don’t have the right feeling about that converter, it’s probably best not to go with them and look further afield.

With the introduction of WhatsApp, email, and video calling, it’s easy to keep track of what’s happening with your conversion. You’ll need to ensure you get a converter that’s a good communicator, you don’t want to be left wondering what’s happening for weeks. Reviews will usually give some indication of communication.


12. Check your timelines match

There’s nothing worse than finding a converter you love, only to discover that they can’t carry out the work on your timeline. If you check a converter’s Quirky Converter page, they’ll usually give you an indication of when they’re available. Always make sure you ask about timelines early on, that way you won’t end up disappointed.


13. Ensure your converter is budget-conscious

There’s nothing worse than commissioning a build on a budget only to find out your converter hasn’t priced things properly, which results in additional costs. Most people are working to a particular budget, and you need a converter that can stick to it. That’s why we offer our signature package at £21,999 – so you don’t get any unwanted extra costs.


14. Talk to a few converters before you commit

As with any purchase, it’s worth shopping around before you commit to anything. You wouldn’t walk into the first car dealership you see and buy the first car they offer you, and van conversions are no different.

Get a feel for the company and whether you think they can deliver what you require. It’s more than likely you’ll get a feel for the right place, but make sure you have answers to all the questions you need to ask before you commission your build.


15. Ask about any guarantees or warranties

When you’re spending such a large amount of money on a conversion, it helps to have some peace of mind should something go wrong after you receive your van. You don’t want to be left thousands out of pocket and must have more work done to your van.

When it comes to warranties and guarantees, the more protection the better! Be sure to read the fine print and get as much information from your converter as possible.


16. Get a converter that knows the law

When converting a van, you need to ensure it meets the requirements set out by the DVLA. Now, if a converter’s reviews are good this would indicate that they know how to convert a van that’s roadworthy. But it’s always worth asking the question. There’s nothing worse than receiving your van, only to find out you can’t drive it!


17. And finally… Trust your intuition!

As with most things, we always advise people to trust their intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably best not to go with it. If you do all the relevant research and get a good feeling about a converter, go for it!


Are you ready to start your conversion?

There’s only so much research you can do before you have to take the plunge. And if you follow this list, we think you’ll be able to pick a suitable converter for your dream van. Submit an enquiry below and we’ll kickstart your journey!



campervan conversion cost

How much does a campervan conversion cost?

If you’re considering a campervan conversion, there are a few things you need to know. Campervan conversion cost depends on a few factors, including the make and model of the van you choose, the size of the van, and the options you choose.

In this post, we’re going to look at the costs of a campervan conversion and give you an idea of the materials and equipment you need for a conversion.

So, whether you’re looking to take your camping adventures to the next level or want to enjoy your travels in a more comfortable setting, read on to learn more about the cost of a campervan conversion.


What is a campervan conversion?

what is a campervan conversion

A campervan conversion is a process of turning a regular car or van into a campervan. Converting a van may involve changing the vehicle’s bodywork, installing a campervan conversion kit, or converting the engine.

There are many factors to consider when converting a van, such as the size and type of the van, the cost of the conversion, and the availability of specialist resources.

Should I buy a new campervan?

While owning a brand new, shiny campervan is desirable to many people, it isn’t cost-effective. The cheaper campers start at around £35,000 and only go upwards. You could buy second-hand if you’re happy to take on someone else’s van; it all depends on how much creative control you want when you buy the van.

Blog: Campervan conversion vs buying a campervan: what should you pick?


Who can convert a campervan?

DIY or professional?

who can convert a campervan

How valuable is your time? If you choose to convert your van yourself, it could take years depending on how much time you’ve got to do it.

If you have a lot of time to dedicate, you can reduce time and costs, but if you don’t it could take a while.

Conversely, a professional could get you up and running in 6-8 weeks, but it will cost more.

Campervan conversion specialist vs DIY conversion: What one should you choose?


Driving license requirements

If you’re going to drive the van, you need to have a valid driving license. Consider the maximum authorised mass of your van, as your license requirements may change:

  • To drive a motorhome of up to 3.5 tonnes, you only need a category B or B1 license.
  • To drive a motorhome with a MAM of 3.5-7.5 tonnes, you need a category C1 license.
  • To drive a motorhome with a MAM of over 7.5 tonnes, you need a category C license.

A campervan conversion can be expensive, but it’s not impossible. Having said that, be realistic. Don’t attempt to convert a van without the financial resources and experience you need to do it.


Like a house, making changes to a van means you need to inform the authorities so they can identify the vehicle. You have to apply to the DVLA to reclassify your van. Reclassifying your van is free, but you need to ensure the van meets the DVLA requirements.

DVLA requirements for van conversion: How to make your van road legal


How are you going to use your campervan?

Before converting your van into a campervan, consider how you’re going to use the van.

Some people live out of their van permanently or semi-permanently, while others only use a campervan for leisure.

There’s also the possibility of putting your van out for hire, which is a potential income source if you only use your van every so often.

What you use your campervan for will affect the build you require, so get an idea before you commission a project.


How much does a campervan conversion cost?

Generally, costs start at £7,000+, and any costs after that will depend on what you want to achieve with your build. Bespoke builds will be more expensive, whereas a packaged build will be cheaper.

When calculating your costs, think about the money you need before the build starts, the conversion cost and the cost of running the van. It would be devastating to convert a van only to find out you can’t afford to run it.

Here are some of the things you should consider:


Pre-build costs

Van price


Remember to consider the price of the van before the conversion and whether you want the van price to factor into the cost. At Bhode Vans, we can even source the vehicle for you, saving you time and ensuring you get a quality, reliable vehicle.


Employing a van conversion company to modify your van will require a security deposit to secure your booking. At Bhode Vans, we take a £1000 deposit, and the fun starts!


Build costs

As with most products and services, there are usually lower-range, middle-range and high-range price brackets. The price will reflect the quality and reliability of the materials. However, if campervan conversions are new to you, speak to a professional to specify what build type you like.

At Bhode Vans, we offer three builds:

  1. Bhode One and Bhode Two – standardised builds that allow us to keep costs down
  2. Bhode Artisan – help for DIY converters who want crucial jobs done professionally
  3. Bhode Bespoke – vans tailored to your exact style, needs and budget


Undertaking a self-build or doing parts of the project yourself will require access to some tools. You could try to save money by borrowing tools from friends and family, buying second or renting. Here are some examples of the tools you may need when converting the van yourself:

  • Workbench
  • Drill
  • Jigsaw
  • Circular saw
  • Glues and tape
  • Pipe cutter
  • Handsaw
  • Screwdrivers and other handheld tools
  • Toolbox
  • Spirit level
  • Screws, nuts, and bolts
  • Clamps
  • Safety equipment

While this is not an extensive list, it gives you an idea of what self-build tools are required to begin.

Security equipment

Living out of your van will mean installing higher levels of security as your safety is paramount. Conversely, staying on secure campsites over a weekend and storing your camper in a secure location when you aren’t using it may lower your safety and security concerns. Here are a few items to consider for security purposes:

  • Immobilisation system
  • Fire blanket
  • Jump leads
  • Snow shovel
  • Anti-slip mats
  • Deadlocks
  • LPG detector
  • Blinds and curtains
  • Tracker
  • Dashcam
  • Steering lock
  • Clutch lock
  • Gear clamp
  • Gear stick lock
  • Motion sensors
  • Safe

How to keep your campervan safe


campervan kitchen cost

Using your campervan to travel means you need a method to store food, cook it and keep the area clean. Various options are available when converting a van, from using a simple bowl to installing a sink. Here are some of the items needed for a functional kitchen:

  • Fridge/coolbox
  • Stove
  • Kitchen units
  • Worktop
  • Water containers
  • Water pump
  • Sink and waste
  • Pipes and connectors
  • LPG kit

Flooring and lining

Flooring prevents wear and tear in your van and makes it feel more homey and comfortable. Various flooring options are available, from real wood flooring to click tiles.

Consider what option suits your needs. For example, hiring your van out may require hardwearing flooring, whereas using it for weekend trips may mean lino can do the job.

Gadgets and electrical equipment

Electricity is vital when converting a van. Electricity allows you to charge any devices you require, and power any electrical equipment you use in your van. Here are some of the electrical items you need to buy for your van:

  • Leisure batteries
  • Leisure battery charger
  • Fuses
  • Master/kill switches
  • Insulation tape
  • Battery indicator
  • Switches
  • USB/12 v charging port
  • Smoke alarm
  • Hook up cables
  • LED light bulbs
  • Fuse box
  • Ring DC to DC charger
  • Inverter generator

Off-grid capabilities

If you want to cut costs or lower your carbon footprint, you could consider off-grid capabilities for your van, such as:

  • Solar panels
  • Water tank
  • Water filter system
  • Electric van


campervan bed cost

You need somewhere to sleep in your van, so consider what bed you want and how much it will cost. You need a structure for the mattress to fit into, plus the mattress itself. Think about the type of mattress you want as well; you could end up with a bad back if you buy cheap! Here are some options to consider when picking a bed:

  • Fixed platform bed
  • Drop down table bed
  • Couch slider bed
  • Bunk beds
  • Fixed bed with incut extenders
  • Lifted bed

Ventilation, insulation, and soundproofing

You need to ensure your campervan is well-ventilated, to keep the van smelling fresh, and to prevent condensation and humidity, which cause mould. Insulation is important for both hot and cold weather, so you need something versatile, and soundproofing is useful if you want a peaceful, quiet van. Here is some of the equipment you may wish to consider:

  • Roof fan
  • Vent
  • Air heater
  • 4-season insulation
  • Ceiling
  • Window covers
  • Sound deadening mats


There are lots of options when it comes to installing a bathroom. If you don’t mind braving the outdoors, you can use an outdoor solar shower. However, if you prefer something that resembles a bathroom, you could get a proper shower and toilet installation. Here are some items to buy for a proper installation:

  • Showerhead
  • Shower tray
  • Boiler
  • Toilet
  • Shower mixer


After costs

While these are all costs you incur after the build, always research them before you commission your build. There’s nothing worse than getting a nasty financial surprise when you’re trying to enjoy your new camper.

Soft furnishings

Pillows, blankets, artwork, and kitchen utensils. There are plenty of items you need to buy to make sure staying in your van is a pleasant experience, so think about what you need and what would be ‘nice-to-have’ to get an idea of how much you have to splash out on functional and decorative items.


While insurance isn’t a direct cost of a van build, you should consider how much your insurance will cost.

For example, if it’s only you driving the van, your insurance will be lower. If you’re renting your van out, you’ll need to cover yourself and third-party drivers, as well as potential theft or damages, which will increase the cost.

Breakdown cover

Like insurance, you’ll want to consider what level of coverage you need for your campervan. Different people will need various types of cover.

For example, if you’re travelling to a local campsite, you may only need breakdown insurance that gets you home.

If you travel abroad, you need to ensure you have the right cover and look for cover that gives you alternate accommodation.

Maintenance and running costs

You can factor all the usual maintenance and running costs into your purchase, such as petrol, tax, MOTs and servicing. It’s worth getting an idea of how much you’ll pay to figure out whether running a campervan is affordable.

Rental agency fees

If you decide to rent your campervan, there are costs involved. For example, if you rent your campervan through Quirky Campers, they take a 21% cut of what you make from your rentals. However, you get benefits like a listing on a trusted site and a dedicated point of contact to manage your listing.


Can you start a business with a campervan?

Campervan conversions are a great way to make money on the side. If you want to start a business, you’ll probably need at least a few vans. When you convert a campervan, you get a vehicle you can use for business, leisure, or both.

At the very least, you should be able to make back the money you spent on the van. Here’s a graphic showing how much people make from campervan rentals per year:

campervan rental yield


Case Study: Transforming a Peugeot Boxer into Ophelia


Estimate your campervan conversion cost with Bhode Vans

If you decide you need a professional to convert your campervan, Bhode Vans can help you kickstart your journey. We’ll work with you to determine your budget, timeline and what build best suits you. We’ll even help you source a van. Visit our enquiry page to get started!